On Wednesday, June 27th, over 800 guests packed the Miami Beach Convention Center to sample delicacies from coconut beer to wedding cake, pick up free samples, and walk away with raffle prizes ranging from a storage rental to a weekend at the a boutique hotel, as the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce and City National Bank celebrated the 3rd anniversary of the popular INcard program.
Dubbed as “A Taste of the InCard,” the event, which was sponsored by the Chamber and City National Bank, fea- tured 120 vendors, along with light bites, specialty drinks, contests give- aways, and lots more. There was also DJ-provided music, a photo booth, demonstrations, chair massages and more, all designed to thank patrons and Chamber members for their sup- porting the program.
“As you can see, the public loves this event, and the vendors love it because it gives them the opportunity to showcase their products. Plus, it’s fun,” said Chamber President and CEO Jerry Libbin.
The INCard program has proved invaluable, not only in helping garner new customers for the Chamber mem- bers, but also in helping build the organization by offering new mem- bers an important benefit, he noted. “When businesses learn about it, they want to participate. It’s inexpensive for them, and we are spending our money to advertise their product.”
The program was launched in 2009 as an initiative of Mayor Matti Herrera Bower’s Blue Ribbon Task Force on Tourism, with the support of the Miami Beach Visitor and Convention Authority (VCA). The program was designed to provide an incentive to patronize Chamber members by giving away free INcards to both residents and tourists. Color-coded, the cards are black for locals and platinum for visitors, although the discounts are generally similar.
At the event, outgoing Chamber Chairman Jason Loeb, conducting the raffle, enlivened the event with quips and spontaneous contests. “It’s great to share in the success of the INcard,” he said.
“I’m so proud. We invested $50,000, but it was the team who took the ball and ran with it. Now Alan Lips (the incoming Chamber Chairman) will take it to the next level,” said Aaron Perry, who is credited with coming up with the idea for the INcard.
For his part, Lips said he was not sur- prised by the program’s success. “This is a program for members who want to create tremendous exposure to both buyers local- ly and also the tourist too. It provides them with an incredible opportunity.”
Indeed, changes are already underway. Also at the party, a new, updated INcard program was announced, which will feature a brand-new Mobile INCard, which features a downloadable version application for the InCard, which has the ability to scan QR Codes at INcard locations, for quick access to the offerings, and also to gather loyalty points and additional awards.
“This is a great program because it tar- gets locals, and these are the people that we are looking for. It also builds awareness about our fitness club,” said Elizabeth Kugler, a membership advisor at the gym. At Equinox, INcard members can a hefty discount on their initiation fee when they join, she noted.
“The INcard has been good for us. It brings people in,” said Pablo Lucero, man- ager of the West Avenue Café. “We’re doing a 50 percent off promotion right now for INcard holders. They can get a $20 value for $10,” he said. Previous specials have included a complimentary appetizer or glass of wine with meals, he added.
Edible Arrangements owner Iris Nieves appreciates the fact that she can put INcard discounts on her company’s website. “I think INcard’s great. I love that the Chamber does something like this,” she added.
Many people think that they need to offer a product for the INcard to benefit them, but that isn’t so, says Lorna Owens, founder of the Footprints Foundation, her non-profit organization that helps women in the Congo. “The INcard isn’t for storefronts only. In my case, I use it so people can get discounts to our fundraisers. Charities and organizations can benefit from INcard, they just have to find a way to work it.”