Motivating Experiences: How to Select the Right Destination for Incentive Travel

Motivating Experiences: How to Select the Right Destination for Incentive Travel

July 31, 2014

According to recent Site research on incentive travel, “For every dollar spent in travel, businesses benefit from an average of $12.50 in increased revenue and $3.80 in increased profits.” Motivating and engaging employees with a highly prized incentive travel program makes good business sense.

It is important to keep in mind, though, that every organization is unique and it takes a good deal of thought to find the right destination for a specific program.

The destination must, of course, be within budget and “in season” in terms of weather, but there is much more to consider. After all, the program is a direct reflection of the relationship between the organization and the employees, so it’s critical to hit the right note.


Airline capacity into the destination is a big determining factor in site selection. It is important to look at the organization’s whole footprint and to analyze the number of flights and the capacity of the aircraft en route to the destination.  Getting a large program into a small or remote airport may require chartering aircraft from hub cities.

While we would all prefer short, direct flights to exciting new destinations, it can be well worth considering making a connection or flying slightly farther because it opens up a world of options. Many great destinations – such as Turks & Caicos, St. Lucia, Los Cabos, or the French Riviera – might be too quickly ruled out because they do not offer direct flights from many U.S. cities, but travel days are quickly forgotten upon arrival to a truly spectacular destination.


Hotels and resorts should be selected with the profile of the guest in mind. Are these top performing superstars who travel often and go first class? Or are these first time winners on an enterprise-wide program? The hotel should be of a quality that is aspirational to the guests and where service levels are consistently exceptional, so that program winners’ needs are anticipated and satisfied.

Important and often-missed details can make the difference. Is there appropriate ballroom back-up, in case of bad weather? Does the hotel have enough guest rooms of the same room type to accommodate the program? Many contracts are “run of house,” and that can be frustrating to winners who are looking out at a palm tree, instead of the ocean.

But most importantly, does the resort offer those things that are most important to the organization and their culture? This can mean spa, golf, beach, or nightlife. It can also mean butler-service or networking space. By consulting closely with the client, a hotel can be selected which best reflects the personality and priorities of the organization.


Nothing can make a guest’s day like flawless execution of an unforgettable experience. That can mean spending the afternoon on a sparkling sea with a knowledgeable captain on a chartered fishing boat. Or it can mean stopping for a cocktail in the canopy at the end of the zipline.

To be appropriate for incentive programs, a destination must have the variety and quality of activities that will uniquely showcase the location and give memories for a lifetime to guests.

Keeping guests safe and making sure that their activities are nothing but fun is tantamount.

Fun, Above All

In fact, Incentive Research Foundation research shows that “Reward earners rank ‘fun’ as their number one expectation from incentive travel rewards – a great destination and a first rate hotel, followed by relaxation, round out the top four.”

Meticulous attention to detail and creativity allow us to bring the “fun” wherever we’re headed and that makes all the difference.