How To Organise Incentive Travel: 8 Ideas For a Corporate Incentive Trip
The jobs market and recruitment industry have undergone some major changes in the past couple of years. One of the key things that have surfaced is employees placing an increased value on the benefits offered by their place of work, whether this is the kind of working arrangements and environment on offer or schemes such as health insurance and a personal development budget.
Incentive travel is a relatively exclusive benefit that is seen as a real bonus by many, and can be a fantastic option to offer your high-performing employees or motivate your staff to go the extra mile. But actually organising incentive travel that is going to offer desirable experiences can be tricky, especially if it’s a new benefit you’re offering.
We’ve also seen a recent trend in incentive travel that presents opportunities for personal development and learning, which involves more complex planning than a typical holiday.
If you’re responsible for organising corporate incentive travel, this post has all the information and inspiration you need to plan a successful trip. It covers the reasons why you should offer incentive travel, a guide to planning a trip, and suggestions for choosing destinations and activities.
In this article:
Why Offer Incentive Travel?
Offering incentive travel has a wide range of benefits, particularly if you take the time to listen to what employees are looking to get out of the experience and tailor trips with this in mind.
One of the key benefits is that incentive travel is a great way of recognising and encouraging positive employee performance. Those rewarded with incentive trips will feel recognised and grateful for the experience, and other employees will be motivated to work harder to receive the rewards they have watched their colleagues enjoy.
Offering these trips is also a great way to improve loyalty and help your employees feel a greater affinity with your company. Not only can this help to improve your brand image and working environment, but it also comes with the bonus that this is likely to improve employee retention.
Incentive travel itself can be a fantastic way to encourage better relationships between your employees and help them to build positive relationships outside of work. This in turn can have a positive impact on productivity and teamwork, as the bonds facilitated by travel will make collaboration much smoother.
We’ve already mentioned the rise in incentive travel experiences that focus on helping employees grow and develop both personally and professionally, which comes with the benefit that it provides you with a more talented workforce. This can also boost employee morale and support wellbeing by offering paid time away to rest and work on themselves.
When it comes to offering benefits or rewards, it’s been found that younger employees in particular prefer experiences more than products or money when it comes to being rewarded at work. Therefore, offering incentive travel is going to appeal much more to the millennial and later generations of your workforce, as well as get the attention of potential employees from this group as well.
How to Plan an Incentive Trip
Looking for an incentive travel plan? We’ve listed some of the key things to remember when organising a trip below.
Remember your Goals
First things first; remember that incentive travel is supposed to bring as many benefits to your company as it is to your employees. Think about what you want your trip to accomplish, and what business goals you can use it to work towards and achieve.
This can work in a classic and straightforward way: you want your revenue to reach a certain benchmark by the end of the year, so you use incentive travel to motivate employees to work towards this goal and reward those who work the hardest.
Alternatively, if your goal is more employee-focused and you’re actually aiming to improve teamwork and collaboration, you should focus less on using the concept of the trip as motivation and instead ensure that the location and activities you’ve chosen will help with this.
Identify the Trip’s Purpose
Once you’ve got a clear idea of the business goals you’re aligning your incentive travel plans with, the next step is to identify the purpose of the trip itself. This will inform all of the decisions you make after this point and is also a good way to ensure that your planning stays focused and efficient.
You might just be looking to offer a luxury or exclusive travel experience for your chosen employees. In stressful or fast-paced working environments, this kind of incentive is particularly effective as it gives employees a chance to unwind and enjoy new experiences or visit places they’ve never been before, arriving back at work feeling inspired and encouraged.
Alternatively, you might be responding to incentive travel trends and instead want to organise a trip that has more of a focus on personal development and growth. This will influence the kinds of activities you choose and potentially even the destination itself.
Some employers choose to combine their corporate incentive travel with networking, meetings or work-related activities, so you’ll have to factor this into your plans if this is your intention. You might also want to spend time thinking about how you’ll balance this with other experiences so that the opportunity doesn’t just end up feeling like a business trip.
It’s worth bearing your target audience in mind when identifying your trip’s purpose, which in this case is the employees you want to reward. Speak to them about the kinds of travel experiences they’re motivated by, trips that they wouldn't be able to plan themselves, and the kind of courses, activities or workshops that they feel would help them on their journey towards success or self-actualisation.
Also consider more practical elements based on your employees’ preferences, such as how they would like to travel, who they would like to travel with and how long they’d like to be away.
Once you know what kind of outcome you’re aiming for with your trip, you can then get into planning the specifics of the employee incentive travel itself.
Choose Valuable Experiences
A key feature of incentive travel is that it offers employees experiences that they wouldn’t be able to afford or facilitate themselves. Many incentive travel specialists focus on once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for this specific reason, not only for the benefits it brings guests but also because it increases the value of the incentive.
Offering value with your incentive travel is the key here. To do this, consider:
- Visiting an ‘off-the-beaten-track’ destination or an exclusive resort
- Organising private tours and activities
- Offering chances to make meaningful connections with destinations and the people there
- Giving employees the chance to choose their own activities to personalise the experience
Remember to plan the trip itinerary with your goals and purpose in mind. For example, if you’re trying to help a team feel closer together, prioritise group tours and workshops instead of individual experiences.
Create Excitement and Measure Performance
Once you’ve organised your employee incentive travel, the next step is to start promoting it to build excitement and start motivating employees. This will depend on how and who you’ve decided to offer the incentive to, but if it’s a performance-based incentive then you want to try and inspire as many of your staff as possible to up their game.
Creating excitement around your incentive travel opportunity might also feed into your wider company marketing plan, showing your customers how you reward your team, illustrating commitment to a cause your trip impacts, or improving your reputation as an employer.
You will also need to figure out a system to measure performance, both of your employees (if relevant) and the impact of the incentive trip itself. This is particularly important if you’re using the trip as motivation to work towards a business goal, as you can measure how effective this was at speeding up the process and use this data to offer similar incentives to drive progress in the future.
Consider Sustainability and Impact
Finally, it’s worth bearing sustainability and impact in mind when planning incentive travel. Offering luxurious and exclusive experiences is a key part of success, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of the environment or the destination that is visited.
Private travel is a nice option, but consider whether there are other ways to offer a similar standard of experience that are more efficient and economic. This is particularly important if your business values involve things like sustainability, as it’s important to embody these with the benefits you offer,
Sustainable travel is a key trend for all kinds of travel experiences at the moment, and you should bear this in mind when organising your trip as well. Certain destinations are really suffering from over-tourism, so it’s worth putting in the extra research to find destinations that are more ‘undiscovered’ or travel providers that operate mindfully around tourism.
You can also offer much more memorable and impactful incentive travel by organising trips that embody the values of sustainable tourism. Give guests opportunities to learn about the places they’re visiting and participate in activities that allow them to meet local people, learn more about their environment and support sustainability efforts, offering countless benefits to everyone involved.
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How to Choose an Incentive Destination
Choosing an incentive travel destination is one of the first things you’ll need to do when it comes to organising your trip. Here are some of the key things to keep in mind:
What is your trip’s purpose? Are there certain destinations, resorts or accommodation types that are going to be more suited to this objective?
What is your budget? Can you be flexible with this or is it very strict?
Who is your incentive trip for? What kinds of places have they expressed an interest in? Are there certain popular activities that need to be included?
What kind of accommodation are you organising? Do your employees need different rooms or are they happy to share?
How long will your trip last? How long will travelling to and from your chosen destination take?
Are there accessibility needs that you need to factor in?
Does your trip need to take place during a certain kind of year? What will the weather be like in different locations at this time?
8 Ideas For a Corporate Incentive Trip
Unsure of where to start when making your incentive travel plan? Here are eight ideas for corporate incentive travel.
Wellness is a topic that is more of a priority than ever for many of us, so what better than to offer an incentive trip focusing on benefitting the body and the mind? You can go as straightforward as a trip to a spa, or something more unique like a yoga, art or meditation retreat.
A great way to offer your employees an exclusive experience is to make your incentive travel experience a trip to an event. Things like festivals, concerts, cultural celebrations, conferences and events like IBTM World are all great ideas, especially if you include other experiences and activities on the days around this.
Team building is a key focus of plenty of incentive travel opportunities, and there is a great range of ways you can focus your trip on this. Plenty of incentive travel specialists offer and organise experiences that involve a variety of team-building activities, or you can plan these yourself and organise them as part of a trip to an exciting destination.
In a similar vein to wellness incentive trips, active trips can be a great idea for companies with an employee base that love to explore and stay fit. There’s a huge range of activities you can choose from to plan an active trip, from watersports to hiking, cycling, abseiling, gorge walking or horse riding.
If you’ve got a team of foodies, then a gastronomic-themed trip can offer a fantastic incentive. This is a particularly good option if you're visiting a destination that is famed for its food, as there will likely be plenty of tours and tasting experiences on offer.
If you’re looking to plan a more quirky kind of incentive trip, consider basing the location and activities around a theme. This could be anything, from a book or film franchise to an emotion, season, or even a song.
Incentive trips offering learning experiences are very popular, so it’s worth speaking to your employees about the kind of support and teaching they’d appreciate when booking one of these. Choose from hosting your trip somewhere that offers these learning opportunities on-site, or organise them yourself and complement this with accommodation and additional activities.
History and Culture
Finally, certain destinations may be well-suited to an incentive trip that has a historic or cultural theme. Whether you plan guided tours of famous locations, exclusive visits to galleries or museums or workshops that offer the chance to try cultural activities yourself, it’s a great way to give employees a more meaningful connection to the place they visit.
Incentive travel is a fantastic idea for organisations of all sizes across all industries. Remember that the benefits of these trips don’t have to stop once the experience is over - you can keep employees talking about it, keep sharing photos, videos and learnings from the trip, and use the feedback you receive to start planning your next one.
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