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Rick Blabolil
July 30, 2013

What to Look for When Creating an Incentive Travel Program

Incentive travel programs lie at the heart of many rewards and recognition programs. When Marketing Innovators first opened its doors more than 35 years ago, it was as a provider of group travel services for corporate sales incentive programs and corporate business travel. Although we’ve significantly broadened our rewards and recognition offerings, incentive travel is still an important part of who we are.

But just as we have changed, so has incentive travel. First of all, incentive travel programs are no longer limited to sales incentive programs. Instead, incentive travel is a high-value award that is widely used for sales and non-sales personnel.

Here’s what we see happening in incentive travel—and what might give you some ideas for your own program:

  • Social media. Use your company social media platform to communicate about the program: what it is, expectations, award options, progress toward goals and, finally, to announce award recipients. If it’s a group travel award, consider using social media at the destination for location-based games, such as Scvngr. FYI: many hotels and resorts are Foursquare enabled.
  • Experiential travel. Maybe because we seem to be drowning in technology (how many of us are ever completely free of our “devices”?), there’s a hunger for “real” vs. virtual. This could account for the popularity of experiential travel, from the relaxed ambiance of a winery tour (with tasting along the way) to the thrill of zip lining. Today’s employees are less interested in the travel destination than in the experience it offers.
  • An opportunity to give back. Doing good feels good. Employees and customers respond very positively to opportunities that allow them to make a contribution. Building a group travel incentive around a charitable activity satisfies that need, and really supports team building. We’ve seen travel programs that include work for Habitat for Humanity, for example, or programs that benefit local schools, or even are built around disaster relief.
  • Individual travel awards. They’re on the rise. Partly, this is in response to tight budgets: Awarding individual vouchers of a certain amount is usually less expensive than a group travel event, which can involve an on-site coordinator, and a number of group events. Individual travel awards are also a response to employee preferences. Today’s employees place a high value on choice, and individual awards give them that freedom.
  • Mixed groups. Mix sales teams with marketing, or operations with creative. Group travel incentives are a great way to break down the barriers that inevitably build up. The benefits of combining different departments in a group travel program include more cross-team communications, a boost in creativity, and a strengthened commitment to corporate-wide goals, to name a few. People are your company’s greatest asset, why not put them together in a neutral site and let the magic begin?

Create Your Incentive Travel Program Today

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