Why the smart approach to incentive travel is no longer just about the destination.
From magazines and morning TV shows to one of the most popular rewards programs in the world, there’s a lot of talk about accumulating experiences instead of stuff. And it’s gaining just as much traction in the world of incentive travel.
It makes sense, too – a trip to New Mexico can be OK, but participating in the Albuquerque Balloon Festival in a company-themed hot-air balloon is something you’ll never forget. And it’s not just about picking a big, cool event, either – the best experiences – large or small – are those that people wouldn’t or couldn’t create on their own – think “bucket list.”
People want unique, unforgettable experiences, not just a weekend away.
Great incentive travel programs are about adding value.
So, now that you’re nodding your head, how does that thought realistically apply to your incentive travel program? There are a few key points to consider to ensure that your travel incentives combine the “bucket list” WOW factor, the culture or mission of your organization, and of course, a fun experience.
- WOW FACTOR: It’s not about the size or distance, it’s about the memory. Closing a local amusement park down for a private night is one way to go, or a team skydiving excursion. Or instead of a plain ol’ trip-to-the-beach, what about a wellness resort weekend with yoga and fitness instruction? Other unique experiences include culture immersion activities (African safari, anyone?) and philanthropy, or giving back to the community. (Example: Don’t just go to New Orleans, help rebuild a historic home damaged by Katrina.)
- CULTURE AND MISSION: Travel incentives will feel much less random if they align with your products, services, culture and/or mission. This strategy will not only help your incentives make sense, but ensure that the memory of the experience is always tied to the organization that provided it. Sending your top musical instrument sales rep to Rock N’ Roll Fantasy Camp, for example, isn’t just relevant, it’s a ton of fun. Recently, we worked with the a European-based company’s U.S. offices, and the incentive experience was a trip to their world headquarters – in SWITZERLAND. It was an incredible getaway, and a chance to learn more about the company, including a factory tour.
- STRAIGHT-UP FUN: When it comes to current travel incentive trends, what a time to be alive! From cooking classes in Paris to the thrill of Space Camp, the sky is quite literally the limit when it comes to fun, memorable experiential travel. Don’t be afraid to ask, or to go all out in what you want to accomplish. A good expert can make it work for you, and thankfully, there are a wide variety of experience options to fit every budget.
It does take planning and expertise, however, and Motivation Excellence can help with everything from managing lead times and required paperwork to promoting the program and planning the trips. We also routinely partner with hoteliers and destination management companies (DMCs) to come up with creative, relevant and helpful solutions for organizations that want more than a fun destination or a nice place to stay. If you’d like to learn more about taking your incentive travel from destinations to experiences, and thrilling your incentive recipients, contact us today.