In 2022, incentive travel has become vital for all corporate industries. Employees suffer from Zoom fatigue and lack of appreciation. Cash rewards go towards bills and are forgotten the moment they are received. Planning and operating an incentive trip (President's Club, Circle of Excellence, etc.) shows your employees they are appreciated, creates an experience that is memorable, engages partners / spouses in the employee's success, allows for personal interaction between the employee and the C-Suite of the company, and encourages the employee to work even harder the next year so that they can earn this trip again. The success of incentive travel is much more measurable compared to other types of incentives.
You've decided to host an incentive trip for your sales force or dealers. Now what? Here are the top 10 elements that every incentive trip should include:
1. An experienced company to manage your incentive trip
An incentive trip is a very large investment, ranging from $3,000 to $6,000 per attendee. An experienced and reputable incentive travel management specialist will cost you approximately $250 - $300 per attendee. However, the BEST planners will save you approximately $400 - $500 per attendee because they know how to negotiate discounts in pricing, have relationships with the best suppliers, offer fully transparent pricing with zero upcharges, and will document savings so that you can see the value of their services. Therefore, trying to save money by handling the planning in house will often cost you money! Also, an experienced planner will provide expert registration assistance to your attendees, making sure that all of their questions and concerns are answered.
2. An incentive destination that WOWs!
Not all destinations are created equally when it comes to corporate incentive trips. Choosing a destination that is a high-end bucket list destination will make your qualifiers want to earn the trip even more and will increase your return on investment! Destinations like Hawaii, Europe, Tahiti, Fiji, South Africa, etc. are WOW destinations that a vast majority of your sales force or dealers have never visited. An experienced incentive travel planner can plan a trip for your group in any destination worldwide. Keep in mind that budget generally dictates destination and that most incentive trips are 3-5 nights long. The lower the budget per person, the shorter the trip.
3. Event marketing during the pre-qualification phase, the event planning phase and post event
The number one goal of an incentive trip is to increase sales. To accomplish this goal, an event marketing plan must be implemented so that the rules of the sales contest are clear, those attempting to win the trip are able to track their progress, those who won the trip understand exactly what they've won and steps to take to get there, and memories from the trip are used to promote sales for the following year.
4. A positive arrival experience using the best onsite operations partners
Upon their arrival to the destination, winners of the trip should be made to feel special from the moment they land at the airport. Using the right destination partners and onsite travel staff enable your attendees to feel like the VIPs that they are. Experienced travel staff make all the difference! They specialize in traveling from destination to destination operating one program after another. They work with the hotel and destination partners in advance of your group's arrival to ensure that no detail is missed and that your group has the VIP experience that they deserve. They also are experts in last minute changes and making what seems like the impossible happen.
5. Group experiences that are unique and leave lasting impressions
It's the group events and activities that differentiate incentive trips from vacation travel. Lively entertainment and themed décor that immerse attendees into the destination, coupled with delicious food and beverage, are key to a memorable evening. The leaders of the company should always make a point to speak to every winner personally and also publicly recognize the group's achievements. It is equally important that the leaders of the group recognize the partners / spouses. Their support taking care of household duties when their partner is absent working hard on behalf of the company contributes highly to the company's success.
6. Professional photography!
How do we truly remember our experiences? Through photos of course! A professional photographer is a substantial expense. However, it is also an investment. Hiring an event photographer enables a company to capitalize on the memories created by the incentive trip. They can be used in a slideshow in the final night of the event, can be provided to attendees in a downloadable album, and most importantly, can be used in marketing pieces to promote the next year's trip, increasing excitement among both the winners and those who did not win this year's trip. We recommend utilizing an incentive photography specialist who travels with your group. Having a photographer travel with your group ensures that your photographer speaks the same language as your group and when your photographer gets to know your group year after year, the photos reflect that. Having a photographer travel with your group also enables them to edit photos daily in their guest room, meaning quicker turnaround on edited photos.
There is a school of thought that the trip is the gift. However, choosing the right gifting for your program has a purpose. If you select gifts that attendees will use often, a memory of the trip will be tied to that gift. Gifting can also be an experience. Incorporating a gifting experience where attendees can choose their own gift makes the experience more memorable than the gift itself and this can even serve as entertainment and décor for one of your group events. A final night room drop with a note that thanks your attendees will make them feel appreciated one more time before they leave for home.
8. Hospitality Desk
A daily staffed hospitality desk enables your attendees to always receive assistance. This is important especially in a foreign country where there may be a language barrier with the hotel's employees. Trained staff can assist with making changes to pre-registered optional activities, flight changes, and simply answer questions. Your attendees will leave the trip knowing that they were truly taken care of.
9. A teaser for the next year's trip
It's so important to keep the momentum going! You want your attendees to leave the trip excited to hit the ground running so that they can earn the next year's trip! Announcing the destination for the next year's trip is a wonderful tool to help you accomplish just that! Being prepared with the next year's trip is crucial so that you do not lose any time at all encouraging your sales force / dealers to start selling the moment they return home! It's equally as important to announce that trip to those who did not win immediately after your trip concludes.
10. Evaluation form
You know what they say about making assumptions! Always be sure to send an evaluation form to your attendees right after your program operates. Their feedback is important and can provide insight into what will motivate them. Asking the right questions the right way will enable you to make improvements each year. Keep in mind that you will not always hear what you want to hear and best practice is to throw out the best and the worst evaluation.
Global Eventures is a full-service incentive travel and meeting planner. As a certified WBENC woman-owned company, hiring Global Eventures supports a minority owned business. Owner, Robyn Davis, CITP, is a 20+-year veteran incentives and meetings planner and is one of approximately 300 Certified Incentive Travel Professionals (CITPs) worldwide. Programs managed by Robyn and her team have earned prestigious industry awards such as the Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE) Crystal Award and the Incentive Marketing Association (IMA) Circle of Excellence Award. Robyn currently serves on the SITE Southeast Board of Directors as VP Events. Global Eventures prides itself on offering white glove service to each of its valued clients. Our pricing is fully transparent and we always strive to save our clients more money than they pay us. Planning a program with Global Eventures is streamlined using project management software, keeping timelines and documentation at everyone's fingertips. Contact Global Eventures today to start planning your group travel program! Email email@example.com or call us at (770) 954-6711 ext. 1001. We always respond immediately; so, contact us TODAY!