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.
Here are 5 things to consider when planning your next incentive trip:
1. The RFP Process
Make sure you negotiate firmly to get the most for your money. It doesn't hurt to ask, and most concessions aren't off limits to get a deal done. Don't forget complimentary site visit (pre-planning) nights, discounts off F&B and spa services, free nights per number of rooms confirmed, complimentary wi-fi, outdoor banquet setup fees waived, welcome amenities, and room upgrades.
2. Itinerary Planning
In this case, less is more. With only 3 or 4 nights on property, guests do not want to waste time on transfers. Anything over 45 minutes away better be bucket list items (this includes airport-hotel transfers). Many guests leave their incentive trip wishing they had more time to relax, so make sure to find a good balance of activities with beach/pool free time.
3. Good Communication
Make sure everyone is well-informed throughout the process. People really appreciate being kept in the loop about an upcoming trip. Along with periodic (emailed) updates, a customized website is one of the best ways to ensure attendees are kept up to date with the latest information. Here's an example of a custom event site: HubSpot President's Club.
Good communication can start over a year before the trip with qualification requirements and continue with updates all the way up to the actual trip. An event app is incredibly helpful for communicating itinerary updates on the fly, especially once attendees are on site. Many apps have options for push notifications as well, which can be useful in the case of a last minute schedule change.
In general, the rule of thumb with any group travel is the more communication, the better.
4. Wow Factor
Every good trip should have one moment when guests experience that wow factor. This can be anything from gifts or entertainment to a gala event or hosted activity. Think outside the box to ensure a unique and memorable experience for your guests. This will be their take-home memory from the trip!
After the trip, remember to ask each attendee to provide candid feedback on everything from flight logistics to hotel selection, food quality to activities offered, group dinner events to overall experience. Ask for their rating of each aspect, and what they would like to see in future trips (location, time of the year, activities, etc.). This will be incredibly helpful for planning trips in subsequent years.
At the end of the day, each trip is unique to a specific company's values, goals, and culture, but this advice will be helpful and relevant to any group planning incentive travel.
Need some help planning your next trip? We can help.
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