How to choose the right destination for your incentive travel program

When planning a destination for your incentive travel rewards program,  a number of things must be considered to ensure its success. The question will be raised “How do I choose the correct destination for incentive travel reward?” This is where a professional incentive travel agency can assist by providing a wealth of knowledge and suitable options based on your program requirements budget and the target audience.

The Top 10 List to consider when planning an incentive travel destination

What should you think about before choosing your destination? Our top 10 list is below:

  • Target demographic 

It is important that you target the correct audience for the program. For example are you rewarding the business owner who doesn’t really engage with your business or are you rewarding the sales staff at that business that actually sell your product and are engaged in your program? If it is the former then be aware that it can demotivate those who are actually engaged in the program or with your products.

  • Previous destinations

Do you have the same top performers every year? If that is the case then if you have run a program before then they are more likely to have been on one of your previous trips. So our rule of thumb is don’t return to a destination for at least 4 years, this allows the destination itself to change and also allows new destinations to be more of an incentive rather then one the program participants have been to before.

  • Competitor destination

Are your competitors running a similar program with an incentive trip as a reward?

If so where are they going? When are they going? Make sure your trip does not go to the same destination or one that they used last year. There is a likelihood that your target audience may well be involved in both incentive programs. This means that your high performers could win a trip on your competitors program or were on their program last year, so try and differentiate your incentive by choosing a different destination or preferably a different region..

  • Length of trip

Do your target audience travel a lot for work? Do they have family commitments? If so then try and minimise the length of the trip so that they are not away for too long. A weekend is always seems like a popular option for a trip as it minimises time out of the office. But if they have a family, you are taking the winner away from their family time which can cause friction at home. Try and use just one of the weekend days if weekdays are not possible.

  • Purpose of trip

What is the purpose of the trip? Is it to reward sales or performance? Is it to create stronger teams or does it have a conference element?

If you are rewarding performance or sales then the destination ideally needs to be of a high standard to be a suitable reward. If you are aiming to increase team morale then a destination that has team-building activity outside of a bar is more suitable.

  • Travel time

Are your target audience based in or near capital cities or are they regional? If your target audience are regionally based then a city destination is a strong contender for a desirable location. The “big smoke” is something that they rarely see and there are so many to choose from. However additional budget to travel from regional areas must always be considered. It is a disincentive to offer a trip that departs from their nearest capital city airport when they have to get themselves their first. Also consider how much travel time will be required for them to fly from their regional airport to your final destination. If it is too long for most then consider keeping the final destination closer to home for all.

  • Visa requirements

  Always consider your destination’s visa requirements and how easy it is for the delegates to apply for one. Places like China, Japan and Vietnam all require visas of some sort from most countries and the ease of getting them differs depending on the passport of the traveller. For example delegates with Indian passports may have to go to the Japanese embassy or consulate in a major city in order to get a visa to enter Japan. The cost should also be taken into budgetary consideration if you intend to pay for the visas.

  • Popular destination

Are you considering a popular destination for your event? By this we mean one that your target audience is likely to book as a family holiday by themselves? If so then it is more than likely the winners will wish to bring their family along at their own expense or extend their stay so their family can join them at the end of the event. This can lead to a lack of team integration onsite when one or two wish to be with their family during the day for activities or dinner with their spouse instead of the group dinner.

It can also be less of an incentive to win a place on trip that they would book themselves. Something different or a bucket list destination that they wouldn’t necessarily pay to go themselves are always great incentive drivers.

  • Budget

A critical factor in any decision making process. Budget is normally determined by the program itself particularly if it is revenue driven. For example if it is linked to sales then the program should pay for itself by the increase in sales to secure a place on the event.

However there is no point stating that you want to take the top 50 away when the budget would only suit a top 10 program. It is better to reduce the number of winners on an event and enhance the program should you have additional budget rather then stretch the budget and cut the program to a bare minimum. Winners want to feel like they are on a true reward or a money can’t buy experience.

  • Activities

Ensuring the activities and restaurants you book for your group align with their level of comfort and their demographic is critical when deciding on the final destination. Are you planning to book a trip to Bali or Las Vegas when the target audience is more suited to a cultural trip to Paris or Ho Chi Minh City? If so then talk to a professional incentive travel house like Motivforce to ensure you get the correct destination for your target audience.