The complete guide for incentive trips for employees

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The complete guide for incentive trips for employees

Incentive trips for employees are not your average company off-site events. They’re powerful tools that motivate and reward your top performers and have a ripple effect on productivity levels, engagement, and overall company success. 

If you’re just getting started with devising and implementing your company’s corporate incentive travel program, this guide will walk you through some of the most important aspects. We explore the benefits of these programs, offer insights on how to structure them effectively, and provide strategies for promoting them to your employees, ensuring you create successful trips with incredible outcomes.

What is an incentive trip?

Employee incentive trips are the ultimate travel rewards for your top performers that offer unique opportunities for them to relax, unwind, and indulge in unforgettable experiences. These trips go beyond the cash rewards and gift cards -- they boost employee morale by providing a well-deserved break in return for hitting goals and employees’ extraordinary performance.

Google and Salesforce are well-known for running successful incentive travel programs in return for their employees’ hard work. Unlike regular business travel, incentive travel programs are designed to motivate employees with all-expenses paid trips. These experiences create lasting memories and foster a strong sense of appreciation, driving them to continue achieving remarkable results for your company. 

What are the benefits of incentive travel for employees?

They’re motivated by the opportunity to travel 

While cash bonuses are always welcome, travel rewards create a powerful and tangible goal for employees to work towards. In fact, according to a study by The Incentive Research Foundation (IRF), 80% of employees consider group travel incentive rewards to be ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ motivating. 

A chance for rest and improved work-life balance

Incentive travel gives your employees the chance to take a well-deserved getaway from work to unwind, relax, and enjoy some free time. This is especially true since your company will take care of all the details involved in planning, booking, and managing all aspects of the trip. 

Did you know that almost half of American workers don’t use all of their vacation allowances? This statistic shows that employees aren’t currently striking a healthy work-life balance. Providing the opportunity for them to disconnect from work-related responsibilities and allowing them to focus completely on their personal enjoyment and prioritize their well-being. 

Opportunities to bond with their teams 

Happy hours are great, but incentive travel trips are better. Group trips create shared memorable experiences, and can help foster camaraderie, improve team building, and allow employees to get to know each other outside of the workplace.

Increased job satisfaction 

Providing unique experiences can contribute to higher levels of job satisfaction among your employees. A mixture of recognition for exceptional performance and the memorable trips themselves help to create a positive work environment, boost morale, and give them an improved sense of fulfillment in their roles.

What are the benefits of incentive travel for organizations?

It boosts motivation and productivity

Travel incentives motivate employees to ramp up their productivity, and as a result, achieve their targets and meet your company goals. These incentives also inspire others to strive for success to be in with a chance of the same, coveted rewards. If incentives are based on group performance, they also foster better collaboration and teamwork as teams work together to win the award.

Productivity leads to increased sales and profits 

When employees are motivated, they’re more productive. And when they’re more productive, they contribute to increased sales and profits and fuel your business’s growth. 

According to a study by The Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE), 80% of companies report that the most important benefit they receive from incentive travel programs is increased sales/and or profits. 

Employees are likely to stay longer at your company

Higher levels of employee engagement lead to better employee retention rates. Setting goals and rewarding employees when they achieve them provide a sense of purpose, and also increases the loyalty they feel toward your company. 

Top-quality candidates are attracted to travel perks 

Great candidates can afford to shop around when it comes to considering new opportunities. As well as salary, they’re also looking for great perks that come with the job, and advertising your incentive travel program is a great way of attracting top talent during the hiring process. 

Showcasing your company culture, including your travel incentive program for employees, also gives you an edge over your competitors when job seekers are looking for new roles. 

How do you structure an effective incentive travel program?

Decide on which type of incentive travel program you want to create

Numerous types of incentive programs exist, and before you begin to draft your incentive travel program, you’ll need to decide how to tailor them to meet the needs of your organization. 

Here are some examples of incentive travel programs that can help you meet your business objectives:

Sales incentive reward programs

This type of program is designed to reward top-performing sales teams and representatives and is a powerful tool for driving sales performance. Those who achieve their sales targets or surpass performance goals will be rewarded with a travel experience. 

Performance-based incentive programs 

These programs reward employees with a trip based on meeting or exceeding specific performance criteria. You can set targets related to productivity, efficiency, or achieving specific goals. 

Recognition incentive programs

Recognition programs focus on acknowledging and rewarding employees for their outstanding contributions or achievements. Depending on your criteria, those who demonstrate exceptional performance across specific areas of the business will be rewarded with a trip.

Use an online corporate travel company to help manage your trips 

Creating exceptional incentive trips involves a lot of moving parts. Online corporate travel websites can significantly streamline the booking and management of all aspects of your travel plans, including travel, accommodation, team-building activities, and itinerary planning.

For example, online travel management company TravelPerk enables you to handle, simplify, and control all details of the trip in-house from one easy-to-use online platform.

If you’re booking a trip for 9 people or more, they even have a dedicated group booking service that handles sourcing the ideal incentive travel destinations, securing hotel and flight reservations at negotiated rates, arranging dependable ground transportation, and even handling prepaid restaurant bookings. 

Decide how you’ll evaluate the success of incentive trips 

One final important aspect of structuring an incentive trip program is deciding how you’ll measure the success and impact of the trip once it’s over to help you iron out any kinks in the process and create benchmarks for future trips. Here are a few ways you can evaluate travel experiences: 

Ask employees to provide feedback 

Send attendees a survey and ask them to evaluate the trip. Gather feedback on what aspects went smoothly, identify areas for improvements, and suggestions for future trips. 

Analyze performance metrics 

Relevant performance metrics will help you assess if the incentive trip had a positive impact on individual and team performance. For example, take a look at any changes in sales figures, productivity levels, or customer satisfaction ratings. 

Assess employee engagement 

Again, surveys can help you measure employee engagement and the trip’s return on investment. Look out for indicators such as increased motivation, higher job satisfaction, and improved collaboration.

How do you communicate and promote the incentive travel program to employees?

Making employees aware of your incentive travel program helps you maximize its impact. Here are a few ways to promote the program and generate excitement and anticipation among employees.

Make a big initial announcement 

Consider making a live announcement during a company-wide meeting, corporate event, or an in-person national sales meeting so that all employees know about the program, and be sure to communicate what the requirements are to qualify for an incentive trip!

Create a video about the incentive trip 

Using visual aids like videos is an excellent method of creating enthusiasm and also disseminating relevant information. You can include details about the destination, hotel, and activities, and can even consider creating a series of videos to maintain excitement and remind employees of what they need to achieve to secure a place on the trip. 

Personalized communication

Tailor emails or messages to each employee and provide information about which of their contributions will ensure they qualify for the travel incentives. Recognize past achievements and connect them to the opportunity of earning a trip.

Wrapping up: Final tips for implementing successful incentive trip programs

As you begin planning these exciting adventures for your top achievers, here are some final tips to ensure your programs are successful:

  1. Clearly define your trip objectives and align them with your business goals.
  2. Tailor the incentive trip program to match your business and its needs. 
  3. Use an online travel company to help you plan successful, customized, hassle-free experiences.
  4. Communicate the program details to generate excitement and participation.
  5. Regularly evaluate and adjust the program based on feedback and results.

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