You’ve decided it’s time to host your company's first incentive trip. Revenue is growing, headcount is increasing each month, your brand is getting stronger, and your product is getting better.
Each year, thousands of companies host annual incentive trips to reward their employees for meeting or exceeding expectations. Companies will either organize these trips internally or use a third party to help with the planning, but at the end of the day there are a few important factors that apply to either scenario.
One common debate in incentive travel is whether or not your US-based company should host its next incentive trip domestically or internationally. There are certainly advantages to both, as outlined below, but it's good to consider your options, especially depending on the size of your trip and amount of lead time you have. Given the current market of high demand and low inventory it is essential to give yourself more lead time than in the past.
Annual Sales Kickoff
Many tech companies host an annual sales kickoff every January or February to help recap the previous year, set goals for the upcoming year, and announce new product launches. These kickoffs have evolved from traditional Webex meetings delivering content, to live hands-on sales trainings and/or simulation tests. This shift in the way kickoffs are held comes with many added costs. A Webex/Zoom meeting is a low cost, non-branded solution that allows companies to share their updates and changes in a concise meeting format up to 3 hours. Anything over the battery life of a computer and you start losing attendees (to be honest, you lose the focus of most dial-in participants after 70 minutes).
While there are certainly benefits to these webinars or sales trainings, the more popular solution today is getting employees together for a 3-4 day intensive kickoff event. An important part of these events is the positive effect on company culture. What better way to boost employee morale and get your team ready for the year ahead, than to put them together for 3 days in sales trainings during the day and social networking events at night. Most kickoffs only include 4-8 hours of content and the rest is focused on having a more hands-on experience.
So this all leads to meeting planners' most commonly asked question: where should we go next year? Unfortunately for most growing tech companies, this question comes a good 6-9 months before their 300-600 person event! The tech market is constantly changing with IPOs, funding, and acquisitions, so meeting planning timelines have continued to shrink while cash is watched more closely.
First, what is Incentive Travel?
Incentive Travel is a vacation paid for by employers, awarded to qualifying employees or salespeople to reward them for success in reaching certain goals. These trips are an additional bonus used to motivate employees and help the company reach organizational targets.
How to create the perfect balance
Incentive trips are supposed to be a reward to your employees for a job well done. With that in mind, how do you balance required events with time for rest and relaxation? The question comes up repeatedly in discussions with our customers, and in general throughout the industry.
Crucial to any group trip, planning for the unexpected can make or break the experience. Because there are so many variables with group travel, even the best laid plans can go astray. Most incentive trips organize and plan for the best case scenario while exceptional trips plan for the worst case scenario, allowing trip coordinators to seamlessly adapt the plan so participants hopefully aren't even aware of a deviation from the scheduled itinerary!
Here are three main factors to consider while planning your event:
- Dietary restrictions & allergies
- Mosquito/sun prep
- Back-up space
Destination Management Company
A Destination Management Company, or DMC, is a professional services company with extensive knowledge, expertise, and resources, specializing in design and implementation of events, activities, day trips, transportation, and program logistics. The services provided by a DMC usually include airport greetings, hospitality desks, special events, theme parties, decorations, AV, dinner events, site inspections, and anything you may need on site!
As more millennials move up in the workforce and baby boomers retire, this is a good time to refresh your employee engagement strategy. According to CNN, millennials expect to have four jobs by the time they're 32. This means that by the time it takes an employee to get fully ramped up (on average 18 months), he or she will already be getting ready to apply for their next job. Onboarding costs the company a lot of money and a lot of resources, so here are some tips on how to keep employees engaged in a genuine way:
Group activities on an incentive trip can serve many purposes. They are great for setting a team-building tone on the trip, even if that's not the primary goal of the activity. For example, a catamaran cruise for 30 people could provide a social atmosphere for team members to interact in a way they don't usually get to. Activities can also be a great way for incentive travelers to network on their trip. A competitive game of volleyball serves as a great way to relax while fostering a little healthy competition. Seeing co-workers in a different light outside the office is sure to promote inclusive conversation that will eventually lead to improved communication inside the office.
Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen