TripAdvisor, my favorite travel website, emailed today to say in appreciation for posting travel comments, they're sending me a free TripAdvisor hat (pic). I post comments and pictures of hotels on their site, plus consider opinions of other travelers/forums. So click button in email, enter my email address and get response: "Sorry, you don't qualify for our hat".
Emailed them asking why in the world they would send that email and make me dislike them when I love them. Got an oops there was a technology glitch response, and hat is on the way. Imagine if they just totally turned me off, when there was no reason for them to do that?
Seth Godin has great post about exclusion - that's good message for association executives. Think about what programs succeed by fact appear exclusionary (like convention hotel selling out in one day so if late, can't get in). What activities might be unnecessarily exclusionary and need to open. What awards programs might turn off significantly more people than turn on, especially if care and confidentiality aren't given?There's such a human element in so many things we all administer. How do we show appreciation for participation?
Side note: No, I don't typically go for gimmicky things (like hats), especially via email - but will help promote TripAdvisor. Forums have users saying they plan to wear hat when check into hotels to see if any reaction or better rooms. Many already have backpacks, t-shirts and luggage tags from them (for posting). Rewarding for posting, while also getting fans promoting to others a good idea.