5 Tips for Planning Amazing Incentive Trips

by Brad Fein
Group of smiling friends traveling by tour bus

There are a couple of things that almost everyone shares in common: We all long to travel, and we all lack the time and resources to do it as much as we’d like. That’s precisely what makes incentive trips so effective for motivating, rewarding, and retaining your top talents. Providing employees with the opportunity to get out of the office, see a new part of the world, and enjoy some much-needed R&R can be a potent way to foster employee loyalty and team cohesion.

Of course, not all incentive trips are created equal. To make yours effective, there are a few guidelines and best practices to keep in mind.

Getting the Most Out of Your Incentive Trips

1) Know your goals.

There are different reasons to plan incentive trips, and before you do anything else, it’s important to have clearly defined objectives. Are you planning an excursion for the purpose of team building? Are you looking to reward your most long-tenured employees? Are you celebrating a major sales achievement? Your objectives may dictate whether it’s more appropriate to plan a carefully structured mountain getaway versus a loose and relaxed beach trip, for instance.

2) Seek input from your team.

 It’s always a good idea to check with your team members to see what kind of incentive trips hold the most appeal. You obviously won’t be able to act on every suggestion you get, but there may be some clear preferences (e.g., warm weather over a cozy mountain resort) that you can take to heart. Additionally, taking the time to ask your employees for their insight, and to really listen, helps them feel like they’re part of the decision-making process. It’s a way to offer validation even before your incentive trip gets started.

A young group of friends-studying a map on their road trip while pointing to something

3) Set clear guidelines.

 Before your team members leave town, it’s important to get everyone on the same page, setting clear expectations for the trip. For example, are employees expected to show up for particular team-building activities, or are all activities optional? And how much money are you allocating for things like food and transportation? These are important points to clarify, in writing, before the incentive trip begins.

4) Provide broad appeal.

 It’s crucial to know your employees and to design a trip that offers something for everyone. A ski trip may be great if you’re taking five employees who you know are all experienced skiers, but if you’re bringing a more diverse group, it can be important to offer more flexibility, including a wide range of activities to choose from. Take into account varying interests but also varying levels of physical ability.

Friends jump and campingare happy on Incentive Trips with water for funweekend travel group

5) Work with an experienced planner.

 Incentive trips can be incredibly rewarding, but there’s definitely a lot of work that goes into selecting the best location, booking the best rates, coordinating activities, and so forth. To that end, it’s usually best to work with an experienced travel company, enlisting their expertise as you coordinate the best possible incentive trips for your team.

With these tips, you’ll be well on your way to planning a travel experience that will help you achieve your goals, reward your employees, and bolster your workforce.

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