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.
Next, decide who at your company is going to take ownership of the trip’s budget and organizing efforts. Will the Director of Sales, CEO, CFO, or Events Team be taking responsibility for the trip? If you have an internal events team, that might be the lead contact point. If not, many companies appoint an Executive Assistant as the lead to organize the trip.
Once you have established who's handling the trip, the next step is deciding whether to bring in an outside travel agency/consultant or manage all planning in-house. For more on this topic, check out our post on Internal Planning or Outside Support.
Important Steps in Trip Planning:
- Eligibility requirements
- Internal planning or outside support
- Destination choice
- Hotel contract negotiation
- Flight block booked or flight plan complete
- Promotion of the trip
Keep in mind, to host a successful incentive trip, you will need to give yourself at least 6-8 months of planning time. A lot of this timeline depends on the location of your event. For more popular Caribbean and European destinations, this planning period could take up to 16-20 months. For US destinations with a large number of hotel options, you may need far less lead time, closer to 3+ months. The longer you wait though, the less the availability (and usually the higher the cost) for group travel. Unlike individual travel, it's hard to find good deals with large groups and your best bet is planning early. If another group happens to cancel, you might find a great offer to fill that room block, but in general it's best to give yourself plenty of time to plan.
To be on the safe side, leave yourself at least a year to plan and book your next incentive trip.
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