In Part 1 of Creating the Travel Experiences, we shared the elements of WHAT and WHY to create an incentive, reward, or retreat and the objectives and reasoning for how valuable they are for employees.
Now, let's chat about the Where, When, and How of creating an incentive travel experience.
The answer here is really simple. ANYWHERE. Of course, some things to consider are budget, expectations, demographics of the group, and preferences. We always recommend a poll or survey to send to anticipated attendees. Gone are the days where executives can pick their favorite place and everyone is just thrilled to attend. Now, more than ever, we find that attendees want to have an input in the destinations.
Whether you have a seasoned traveler who is ready to hop on a plane and go anywhere or a less experienced traveler with hesitations, we find that attendees want a CHOICE. Especially, about WHERE they are going. If it impacts family time/personal time or is not a place they want to visit, these factors play a much larger role in the attendees’ decision-making process IF they want to attend.
Gather feedback and input. This will gain insight into your group's preferences and ensure an all-around positive experience.
The most important piece of advice here is, WHEN. When does it make the most sense? While it's appealing to travel to specific regions at certain times of the year, you will most likely not offend anyone if you just avoid all major holidays (religious and patriotic). You cannot avoid them all, but you can make a sincere effort to avoid all nationally recognized holidays. This adds a sense of value: My company acknowledges my personal beliefs.
Equally important, is to not schedule an incentive travel experience during your company’s “busy season.” You certainly do not want to take your top performers out of the marketplace during your peak season.
Incentive travel experience does not always have to relate to a warm weather destination. Try alternating destinations (warm weather vs. cold weather) year over year to appeal to a larger audience. This will also keep the activities offered fresh and exciting. For example, our team elected to visit Costa Rica at the beginning of their rainy season. This was an intentional decision.
It was cost effective; rates are typically lower at this time of year.
We knew we were holding some guest speaker sessions and timed them around the rain patterns to make the most of our outdoor time.
Not everyone loves the beach or water activities; we were able to tailor our experiences to everyone's preferences.
We were in a rainforest; when better to experience the region than now? Make sense?
With The Right Planning Partners
Have you ever asked (or answered) the question, “Should we outsource our corporate incentive travel & gifting program?” If so, then you know that organizing an event of any size requires more than just choosing a destination and motivating participants to hit their goals. Success depends on careful planning - all while evaluating performance and managing the behaviors of your participants.
Also important, is the ability to offer choices. In today’s climate, one size does not fit all. An incentive travel program does not always have to be about group travel. Offering a hybrid approach to the incentive program has become a hot new trend.
Outsourcing your program saves much of the time associated with recruiting, training, and managing in-house staff, giving you more time to focus on your core business.
Our team manages gifting incentive magazines, individual incentive travel, and group incentive travel. These programs are a way for companies to reward their employees with a personal vacation or group experience paid for by the company.
While many will argue that the group travel incentive is that “Welcome to the Club” moment in time that will motivate people, the individual incentive travel is gaining momentum. Use the incentive travel program for what it is; A team-building, networking opportunity or simply a reward for those who have earned it, but set clear expectations on how each reward is earned.
For example, make a progression of steps. A gift incentive is earned first, then the individual travel is earned when you reach a certain level, this leads up to the exclusivity of that top tier group incentive travel experience.
We were so pleased with the feedback and outcomes from our own incentive retreat that we hosted in Costa Rica. Not only did it provide an opportunity for us to connect on a personal level, we got to create experiences and memories that will last a lifetime. Here is a sample itinerary of how we mixed business and fun!
For more information on incentive travel and gifting experiences, email us today, and we will design the perfect program for your teams!