The Launch Pad brings you innovative ideas and insights from experts and service providers from across the automotive industry. Our goal is to help dealerships find the next big thing to launch their dealership to success.

This week on The Launch Pad, David Murton, Senior Editor at Odenza Marketing Group, brings you some quick tips on how to use travel incentives to stand out and sell more cars today.

Boost Sales With Travel Incentives

When your dealership is up against local competition, it can be hard to differentiate. And as you no doubt know, the biggest factor for many car buyers – active or otherwise – will often come down to price. But there’s only so low you can take prices and, depending on the manufacturer, you may not be able to negotiate prices at all. In lieu of this, you need to find something else to make your dealership stand out and command more interest than your competitors.

One area of consideration worth looking into is travel incentives. To help give you an idea of what travel incentives are and how they can be utilized for your dealership, I’m going to tell you about one of Odenza’s clients in Florida: Sutherlin Nissan. At Odenza, our aim is to provide clients with a product and service that helps them stand out and capture not just the interest of active buyers, but sleeping buyers as well.

The Sutherlin Nissan Story

Sutherlin Nissan has been a client of ours for the past few years, and they stand as a shining example of what a good incentive campaign can do when promoted and utilized properly. These success stories are worth sharing as they help give other dealerships, including yours, some ideas on how you can make your own campaigns shine – whether said campaign involves an incentive or some other type of added value.

For Sutherlin Nissan’s General Manager, Lance Lopez, he discussed two key areas where they have seen outstanding success with their promoted cruise certificates. These are: 1) certificates being used in a spin-the-wheel random prize draw; and 2) as closing tools. Let’s take a closer look at these two areas.

The Prize Wheel

One great initiative Sutherlin Nissan implemented was a random prize wheel. By offering prospective customers the chance to win a cruise for free, it acted as a magnet that brought in more people to the dealership. Importantly, it brought in people who fell outside of the “active buyer” bracket, which in turn offered them more opportunities to sell and put the dealership front-of-mind.

As Lance Lopez said, “[People] see other customers spinning the wheel, and it creates a lot of excitement. They want to be a part of that.” Excitement is certainly a powerful thing, as it makes people more positive and open to discussion, as well. The power of positivity can never be understated in the sales game, regardless of your industry.

Just as Sutherlin Nissan have found a prize wheel to be an effective way of driving people into their dealership and bettering their chances of making additional sales, you too should consider what unique feature or campaign could bring you similar results.

The Closing Tool

 The biggest challenge for many dealers comes down to bringing the customer over the line and making a sale. It can be an understandably frustrating experience, especially when you invest a good stretch of time into accounting for what they’re looking for. But, as you also know, buying a car (or any vehicle) is a huge investment, and the large chunk of money the customer has to put down becomes all the more apparent when they understand that you can’t really return a car due to “buyer’s remorse.”

For Sutherlin Nissan, a key tool to overcoming this barrier was in adding some true value to the process. Giving parents a 7-day cruise for two is certainly one way to do so. In Sutherlin Nissan’s case, the ability to add a cruise incentive to sweeten a purchase has worked wonders, resulting in about 90% of sales going through thanks to that very incentive. Being able to close 9 out of every 10 sales is a great outcome.

What you need to remember is this: differentiation is key. To the average consumer, they don’t really see a difference between one auto dealer and the next – that is, of course, except for the type of vehicles they sell. But no matter what, consumers are accounting for what they would be paying and what they get for that money. For Sutherlin Nissan, and many other auto dealers across North America, substantial value-added perks or products that go beyond the usual “cash back” or fuel card have played an integral role in standing out and getting more customers to take that final dive.

The Takeaway

Strong incentives and great experiences help build the foundations for a successful business. This isn’t just because they allow you to stand out and build substantial relationships with your customers; it’s also that these very incentives and experiences give customers (and even non-customers) good reason to spread the word about you. We all know that word-of-mouth is one of the most powerful forms of organic marketing out there. We trust the companies our friends and family trust.

If your objective is to stand out from the crowd and make your dealership shine, an incentive product could be the answer you’re looking for – it was certainly the right answer for Sutherlin Nissan.


David Murton is the Senior Editor at Odenza Marketing Group, and can be reached at If you would like to learn more about Odenza and the travel incentive packages they provide, visit