Transforming Real Estate Into Destinations

Chinese Tourism Incentive Program

2014 U.S. Maxi Gold Winner

Client: Berkshire Hathaway + Helzberg Diamonds Outlets
Title: Chinese Tourism Incentive Program
Category: Tourism Marketing




Serving as a consultant to Helzberg Diamonds Outlets responsible for overseeing the development and execution of an overarching marketing strategy prior to an aggressive U.S. expansion that would take the brand’s store fleet from 12 to 22 outlet locations nationwide, SSMG identified an untapped tourism marketing opportunity. Inherently realizing that a significant percentage of new store business in select markets would be delivered by inbound Chinese shoppers, SSMG’s challenge was to develop a meaningful, and trackable, Chinese tourism marketing program that would successfully drive this lucrative demographic to shop, and spend, at Helzberg Diamonds Outlet stores.


SSMG worked to develop a Chinese, commission-based sales incentive program. Pre-approved tour operators participating in the program would receive a supply of coded coupons to distribute to their guests to redeem a free pearl bracelet with a purchase. Designed to encourage Helzberg Diamonds Outlet stores to become a must-visit location during a regional tour, the sales incentive program would be positioned as a lucrative opportunity and exclusively marketed to Chinese tour operators.


IAL Pearl Bracelet.png
  • Counseled client on the significance of investing in a corporate tourism marketing program.
  • Following corporate’s buy-in, SSMG worked closely with financial operations and legal to develop the rebate model and terms for internal execution upon launch.
  • Developed incentive program marketing support materials:
    • All collateral translated from English to simple Chinese
    • Print and online versions created 
  • Created a WeChat platform to promote the program
  • Launched program at five outlet store locations.
  • Deployed hard copy incentive program information in top three Chinese-centric Helzberg Diamonds Outlet stores located in the Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle markets to maximize exposure with key/critical Chinese tour operators.
  • Created core database of targets to deliver promotional eblasts communicating specifics of the incentive program and corresponding application forms. Targets included:
  • o DMOs and RMOs
    • Tour and receptive operators
    • Ground providers
    • Appropriate travel agents
  • Sold program through a multi-channel approach including:
    • Select domestic trade shows
    • DMO partnerships
    • Developer relationships 
  • Represented Helzberg Diamonds Outlet at the 2015 International Pow Wow trade show to educate and promote the newly launched incentive program.
  • Executed a Chinese tourism industry education reception at Helzberg Diamond Outlets’ Fashion Outlets of Chicago store location.
  • Delivered a press release announcing the program’s launch to outlet retail trade media.


  • Helzberg Diamonds Outlets’ Chinese tour operator incentive program results were tracked through metrics including:
    • Tourism database development
    • In-store sales receipts
  • Launched in April of 2015, Helzberg Diamonds Outlets’ Chinese tourism incentive program yielded:
    • An extensive Destination Management Organization, Regional Tourism Organization and tour operator database comprised of more than 1,100 names.
    • Appointments secured during the 2015 International Pow Wow (IPW) trade show.
    • More than 30 Chinese tourism industry opinion leaders in attendance at Helzberg Diamonds Outlets’ tourism education reception held at its Fashion Outlets of Chicago store location.