Incentive travel involves a little bit of dreaming and a little bit of strategy. It can also feel a little bit overwhelming when travel planning isn’t already in your wheelhouse.
But since you already know that travel is one of the most motivating factors, in and out of the workplace, you’re determined to craft the ultimate incentive trip.
How can you tackle a corporate travel program with ease?
Here are three tangible tasks you can get started on now to successfully plan an unforgettable travel incentive program for your employees.
- Define: What are your travel objectives?
- Create: What is your travel budget?
- Partner: Which incentive travel company truly understands your goals and branding?
Step One: Defining your Travel Objectives
Your travel objectives can be simple or extensive. Either way, it’s essential to define your goals when planning a successful travel incentive program.
Here are a few questions to consider in the early stages of planning your group incentive trip:
- What defines success for you? Is it reduced absenteeism, less turnover, increased sales, increased productivity? Better customer service? Or perhaps you want your company to look more attractive to jobseekers? Are you trying to incentivize your ‘lower performers’ to push a little harder?
Your answer could be clearcut or it might be a combination of several objectives. It doesn’t matter, as long as you know what you’re working toward.
- Who is invited? Who exactly has the opportunity to qualify for the vacation incentive program? Is it a select few or does everyone in the company have the chance to participate? Are spouses and/or guests invited, and will those costs be covered by your company as well? Will you need support staff and if so, will their room categories be the same?
- What does the trip look like? In terms of dates, length of time, location. What is the best time of year to sacrifice the presence of your top-performing employees? What’s the longest you can comfortably function without them and keep within your budget? What kind of people are they, and where would they want to go? Not everyone loves a beach vacation, and not everyone loves hiking. Consider the demographics of your staff and what would be most appealing to them.
Having an idea of your quantifiable goals is key to planning a rewarding company incentive trip. Knowing your target demographic, their likes, dislikes and motivations will make planning your vacation incentive program that much easier.
Step Two: Creating a Budget
A company incentive trip is a big endeavor and costs are certainly a factor to be considered from the onset. While putting a budget together, it is important to keep in mind the ROI that incentive travel can create. If you’ve offered incentive trips for employees in the past, what did you notice as a result? Was there better camaraderie in the workplace, leading to higher quality customer service? Was your sales team more motivated throughout the year and if so, did you see a tangible increase in revenue? Did a vacation incentive lead to a lower rate of employee turnover? Did the team feel happier?
ROI doesn’t always have to be purely financial, the benefits can manifest in other ways. Consider these factors while creating your budget. How much can you comfortably spend to reach your defined travel objectives? How much are you willing to spend to hit your target goals?
A budget will give a better understanding of the best location for your incentive trip. It will also dictate the details, including:
- onsite activities
- hotel category
- spouse or guest invitations
- style, be it casual, luxury, or a little bit of both
It will also help you decide if this is something you want to plan in house or if you’d prefer to hire a professional to curate the trip for you.
Oftentimes, the minute details and decisions around corporate travel programs are what defines the ideal program for your company. A destination that initially sounded like the perfect location might turn out to be more trouble than it’s worth. On the other hand, destinations that never crossed your mind could be the golden egg you had never thought to crack.
Step Three: Partnering with an Expert
If all of this feels like a lot to take on, we at Ascent Performance Group understand. Completely. Incentive group travel can require a lot of time and laser-focused attention to a plethora of details.
Which is why we do what we do. We’re experienced, motivated and enthusiastic when it comes to planning corporate travel events of any kind.
There are plenty of reasons to invest in the expertise of an investment travel company. We’ve narrowed it down to three.
- Branding: It’s so critical to keep your corporate travel program aligned with the branding and values of your company. If there is a disconnect, it won’t feel genuine, and employees might not take it seriously.An incentive travel provider can determine your voice and craft an experience that stands in line with that voice. It should also parallel any other incentive programs your company offers that aren’t travel related. Streamlining all programs is critical to grabbing the attention and trust of your employees.
- Communication: First of all, simple is best. A complex incentive strategy will quickly burn the interest of your employees. They need to fully comprehend the rules, the effort required and the ultimate goal.Secondly, the way you choose to communicate the program is critical. Not only is it important that your messaging be consistent and timely, a variety of mediums might also be necessary. If you are “marketing” the corporate travel event to a range of age groups, for example, the method in which you communicate is key. Some respond well to printed information, and others to digital. A mixture of both platforms could be the ticket to effective communication with your staff.
Companies like Ascent Performance Group are well-versed in the art of effective communication and the sustained impact that communication strategy will have on the workplace. We know how to keep your employees engaged in the program to ensure they stay motivated to participate in the months leading up to the big trip. The last thing you want is employees to lose steam because of lack of motivation coming from the top.
- ROI: As mentioned earlier, your return on incentive doesn’t necessarily have to be financial. Carefully documenting all the forms of ROI that the program brings from start to finish and post-program is crucial. Consider tracking the following measurements before AND after the program:
- An increase in sales
- An increase in productivity
- A marked improvement in customer service
- Low to nonexistent employee turnover
- Decreased absenteeism
- A happier, more connected workplace
A solid, well-experienced incentive firm can assist you in calculating the benefits of your travel program from Day One. From sales numbers to staff camaraderie, the advantages can be multifold.
So there you have it! Can you plan a successful incentive trip on your own? Absolutely. Do you have the time or resources to do it? Possibly. The reality is it takes quite a bit of time and a lot of effort. Generally speaking, that time is better spent on the inner workings of your own company. If redirecting your workload toward travel planning doesn’t thrill you, consider partnering with an expert. Hiring an experienced travel incentive company will take a lot off your plate. There is also the added benefit of assisted marketing, branding and ROI tracking to ensure your program is a success. This type of assistance is invaluable when running a business of your own.
Want to hear more? The team at Ascent Performance Group is always ready to talk about your options. Our goal is to create a once-in-a-lifetime experience for both you and your team that will help to build a strong culture for your business and your brand. Let’s talk about what’s best for you, whether that is a corporate group travel service or a travel incentive program!