Trying to figure out how to make the most of an incentive trip is no doubt what keeps many a MICE travel planner awake at night. But do it right – and with the right people – and the benefits will be far-reaching for your company and employees.
Why is incentive travel so effective?
Any incentive trip, event, or conference brings more than just a fair share of planning and effort. So, many may be wondering if it’s still effective.
Research from the 2022 Incentive Travel Index (ITI) shows that the MICE industry is well on its way to post-pandemic recovery. Of those surveyed, “91% agree that, with a dispersed workforce, incentive travel will have an even more critical role in building engagement and company culture.” But incentive travel is not only valuable in building a strong and loyal company culture.
Job retention remains a hot topic for businesses across the globe. Holding on to skilled workers with an ever-increasing job and career wish list is an area of priority for HR management teams – and that’s exactly where incentive travel comes in.
Along with personalization, flexibility, and benefits, incentive travel can be the differentiator between recruits choosing to stay with one company or leaving to join another. The long-term benefits of that strong company culture come in here, too. Research from the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) showed that the “percentage of sales professionals who found group incentives to be ‘extremely’ or ‘very motivating’ rose from 81% in 2021 to 92% in 2022.”
The benefits are endless, but, very importantly, incentive travel needs to be done right. According to a 2023 IRF incentive travel trend report, incentive travel needs to be “more exciting, more exclusive, more experiential, more authentic, and more memorable than ever.” Quite a tall order, perhaps?
Enter the experts. The GILTEDGE team of experts is well-versed in delivering incentive travel that wows and ensures companies reap those long-term benefits. Most importantly, we will make your life easier when it comes to delivering on incentive travel – from picking the destination all the way to planning and executing the trip.
Here are incentive travel tips and tricks from the GILTEDGE experts:
What factors should be considered when planning an incentive trip for maximum motivation and engagement?
Several factors should be considered, such as:
- Clear Objectives: Clearly define the purpose and objectives of the incentive trip. Align the trip’s activities and rewards with these objectives to ensure participants understand the purpose and feel motivated to actively engage.
- Target Audience: Consider the demographics and interests of the participants. Tailor the trip to their preferences to maximize engagement. For example, if the majority are adventure enthusiasts, include thrilling activities, like bungee jumping or gorilla trekking, in the itinerary.
- Unique Experiences: Design the trip to offer unique and memorable experiences. Consider extraordinary destinations, exclusive access to attractions, or special events that participants may not typically have the opportunity to enjoy. Such experiences create excitement and increase that ever-important engagement.
- Communication and Transparency: Keep participants informed about the incentive trip and its criteria. Communicate expectations, milestones, and progress updates clearly and regularly. Transparent communication builds anticipation and motivates participants to strive for success.
- Timing and Duration: Consider the timing and duration of the incentive trip. Avoid conflicting with busy periods or personal commitments. Ensure the trip is long enough to allow participants to fully immerse themselves in the experience without feeling rushed.
Remember, every group is unique, so it’s essential to gather feedback and learn from past experiences to continually improve future incentive trips.
Read related content: Despite the travel nightmare in Europe – we planned a successful incentive trip to Paris
Can you share unique and memorable experiences that have made past incentive trips impactful?
- Arranging a Gala dinner inside a cave in Halong Bay – truly memorable!
- Organizing a Bollywood evening in Mumbai
- Visiting the Ice Hotel in Sweden
- A helicopter trip to the top of Eyjafjallajökull Volcano in Iceland
- Hot air ballooning to witness the Great Migration in Kenya
- Hosting a black-tie gala dinner at the top of the Eiffel Tower
What is your favorite destination for an incentive trip, and why?
- Havanna, Cuba – simply everything about it as a destination
- Cruising – does not have to be the large sailing vessels; think gulets in Turkey, cruising Croatia, etc.
- New Zealand – spectacular natural scenery, excellent food and wine, friendly people, exciting activities, and incredible sports experiences
- Iceland – unique and breathtaking landscapes, quaint villages and towns, delicious food, unforgettable activities like swimming in hot water springs while it’s snowing, and more.
What should be considered when matching the right destination and experiences to different companies?
- Company Culture and Values: Understand the company’s culture, values, and brand identity. Choose a destination and experiences that align with these aspects. For example, if the company values sustainability, choose a destination known for eco-friendly practices and offer activities that promote environmental conservation.
- Participant Profiles: Consider the participants’ demographics, interests, and preferences. Are they predominantly young professionals, seasoned executives, or a mix of both? Younger participants might prefer vibrant city destinations with nightlife options, while older participants may prefer cultural experiences or exploring natural landscapes.
- Accessibility and Logistics: Consider the ease of travel and logistics when selecting a destination. Is it easily accessible for most of the participants? Are there direct flights or convenient connections? Ensure that the chosen destination doesn’t pose significant logistical challenges that could impact participants’ travel experience.
- Season and Weather: Take into account the season and weather conditions of potential destinations. Consider if the desired activities and experiences are suitable for the chosen time of year. For example, if participants are interested in outdoor adventures, avoid selecting a destination during the rainy season.
- Budget Considerations: Understand the budget allocated for the incentive trip. Different destinations have varying costs associated with accommodation, dining, activities, and transportation. Ensure the chosen destination and experiences fit within the allocated budget without compromising the participant experience.
By considering these factors, you can select a destination and curate experiences that align with the company’s objectives, participant preferences, and logistical requirements, resulting in a successful and engaging incentive trip.
What are some trends or innovative ideas that you’re excited about incorporating into future incentive trips?
While there are trends and ‘hot’ destinations and ideas, every incentive trip is tailor-made based on a client’s preferences, values, and budget. Each trip is so different from the other – not only the destination of choice but also the services and experiences on the ground, the lead-up to departure, and how much communication each client requires. In short, personalization is the name of the game.
Read related content: Is Mozambique a good incentive travel destination?
Feeling inspired? Don’t delay getting the assistance you need to deliver the perfect incentive trip.
Part of the award-winning GILTEDGE group, our Incentives team specializes in creating unforgettable experiences for the meetings, incentives, conferences, and events (MICE) market.
Reach out if you need inspiration or advice on your next conference, team building, or corporate event around the world.