In all my years in Travel, I’ve never worked with anyone more excited than individual incentive travel award winners. They’re thrilled! They never have to think long about what they want to do. Since one of the great benefits of individual travel is being able to travel with anyone at any time, by the time the awards are announced, the winners have thought it all through.
Over the last year, their top picks have been:
Sunshine, clear blue water, casinos, unlimited gourmet cuisine… What’s not to love? A Caribbean cruise is hard to beat and dedicated cruisers collect cruises like baseball cards. Even a novice has already been exposed to years of advertising – the Fun Ship, the Sea is Calling, Freestyle Cruising – and is ready to join the fun. Program winners know all about the cruise lines and the itineraries of each ship. They know what deck they’d like to be on and what time dinner is served. Guests see this as the ultimate inclusive experience and are excited to choose this year’s ports of call, collecting experiences and Caribbean islands as they go.
Sandy beaches? Check. People-watching and bar-hopping on Duval Street? Check. An afternoon of snorkeling or sitting under a palm tree? Check. Key West is a great, mellow getaway and a favorite of presidents, Hemingway, and Jimmy Buffet alike. It’s hard to beat a little pure relaxation and Key West exemplifies the easy life. Guests pack the flip flops and head for a little lazy time in the sunshine.
Tom Wolfe wrote, “One belongs to New York instantly, one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years” and we help to create a lot of New Yorkers! There’s nothing like this amazing city anywhere else in the world. It pulses to its own soundtrack – jazz musician on one corner, honking taxis on another – and truly offers something for everyone. Our guests want to be at the center of the action, not too far from Times Square, and to take it all in like a local.
In our business, we’ve seen a lot of beaches. But one of my colleagues recently returned from the Dominican Republic and said that it was the best beach she’d ever seen. No wonder so many of our guests have chosen the island in the last year. A new highway from the airport, an all-inclusive Hard Rock Punta Cana
resort, and a lot of fun to be had. In a contest last year, one participant after another chose this location on the strength of the recommendations of their colleagues. It was a hit!
Even before the 2010 Winter Olympics, Whistler was spectacular. Now it is a world-class ski destination, which also offers wonderful opportunities to explore the mountains in the summer. It has especially become a favorite destination for many of our southern program winners, heading for Canada to beat the summer heat. A quick ride on the Rocky Mountaineer
railroad and the wilds of Canada’s Coast Mountains await. The resort nestles at the base of the mountain, where guests unwind around fire pits, looking up at the slopes and the stars.
What's hot for next year? Time will tell, but I'm thinking Costa Rica and Park City, Utah may top the list. What do you think?