Executive Group Travel Blog

Establishing the "vision" for your incentive trip

[fa icon="clock-o"] Jul 2, 2020 9:30:00 AM [fa icon="user"] Marci McCormack [fa icon="folder-open'] Incentive Travel

Incentive trips are meant to reward employees and boost positive team energy. Now more than ever, it's crucial to keep employee morale as high as possible. Our world has changed drastically this year and if you've been lucky enough to keep your sales team on, you'll probably be planning incentives for them in the near future for having weathered the worst of it. Eventually, you will start re-establishing the reward structure that works for your company, even if it may look a little different than before. 

We hope this information will be helpful in planning your company's next trip. 

Setting Expectations

As soon as you decide to start planning your next incentive trip, it is essential to discuss the goal and vision for the event within your organization. If the meeting planner's vision doesn't match the executive team's, you'll start with unrealistic expectations and have the potential for a disappointing let-down. 

You should map out the company's priorities before even choosing a destination for your trip. The budget will need to line up with the overall vision; location is a big part of that, so it's important to have the conversation early and establish parameters for the trip.


Photo by Amy Hirsch

There are three main options for determining the size and scope of your incentive trip:  

  1. Reward as many employees as possible with the lowest budget. This is great for growing young companies because it allows for networking and team-building while providing a fun vacation and a few days out of the office. This might be a trip your employees could afford on their own but the activities and the people will make it a unique experience, especially in the current climate. To successfully run a trip like this (lower per-person cost but requiring 100+ rooms), you quickly narrow the field to a handful of locations. If you don't cover all meals or provide elaborate gifts (only include one activity and one dinner event, for example), the budget for a trip in this category can run as low as $1,800 per person. That number can go up to $3,000 per person if you choose to include meals or a per diem, gifts (~$250 per person for welcome bags and gift), activities, and a main dinner event. This usually means booking in four star resorts so make sure to set your expectations! You will find you can book a nicer hotel with higher food costs, or a mid-range all-inclusive resort where your guests don't have to cover any of the costs. Again, it all depends on what your company is looking to accomplish. Examples in this category include Hyatt Ziva all-inclusive resorts, Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino, or SLS Baha Mar.

  2. Reward a predetermined number of top employees with a trip to a resort they most likely haven't been to before. This trip is usually to a four star resort in an exotic location or a five star resort in a more common destination. The budget range for this trip is $3,000 - $4,000 per person and includes all expenses for your guests, including food and alcohol and ~$500 per person for gifts and welcome bags. Examples in this category include the Ritz-Carlton Cancun (five star), 1 Hotel South Beach, or Le Blanc Spa Resort Los Cabos.

  3. Reward a smaller number of truly elite employees (Top 10%) with a trip they might never take on their own. This trip will provide your sales rockstars with white glove service at a luxurious five star resort, typically located in more exotic locations that they may not normally visit on their personal vacations. The budget for this trip is closer to $4,000 minimum per person. It is an investment but also an impressive incentive for the top tier of employees in your organization. Examples in this category include Dorado Beach (a Ritz-Carlton Reserve in Puerto Rico) or Four Seasons Anguilla. Note: you can reduce the overall budget for these trips if you choose to go outside of high season.
Whatever type of event you decide on, the most important way to ensure a successful trip is to manage goals and expectations from the start. 

Let's talk!


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