With borders continuing to reopen to travellers — Northeast Asia is
the latest region to announce the removal of Covid restrictions in the
coming weeks, incentive travel is taking off once again.
A webinar hosted earlier this month by the Incentive Research
Foundation (IRF) examined incentive travel destination preferences and
their impact on motivation. Participants included Rudy Garza, vice
president of operations at Brightspot Incentives & Events, Rick
Garlick, chief research advisor at the IRF, Anne Gorman, vice president,
sales & marketing at Streamlinevents and Stephanie Harris,
president at the IRF. They outlined various incentive trends, noting how
pent-up demand is driving activity and that companies are seeing fewer
rates of attrition on incentives too, with more interest and enthusiasm
for incentives than ever before.
Build downtime into your incentive programme. The webinar focused on
how people are craving incentives with downtime built in, giving them
the ability to relax and take it easy without any planned activities
scheduled. It’s a view echoed in a recent SITE blog, published in
September, featuring Andrew Rae, founder of incentives agency Another
Way. He says the opportunity to document, enjoy or relish a specific
moment in their day is important for delegates and that a packed agenda
with no time to reflect is less attractive, given that opportunities to
share are what turns an incentive into an experience.
Wellness and luxury-themed incentives are proving popular. Panellists
at the webinar agreed that there is a greater focus on luxury
accommodation, and said that delegates are interested in those ‘great
incentives’ that offer them something they couldn’t or wouldn’t be able
to do themselves. Luxury accommodation fills this requirement, and the
popularity of wellness spas also compliments the idea of incentives
being seen as an opportunity to indulge, restore and relax.
Destinations that opened up earlier this year are still proving
popular. While parts of the world such as Northeast Asia are reopening,
delegates are still showing a strong interest in those destinations that
have welcomed back visitors some time ago, such as Europe and North
America, even if it is a place they have previously visited.
Consider splitting your incentives over a period of time. Another
Way’s Andrew Rae also points to how incentives have changed to fit into a
post-pandemic environment. He suggests companies should split
incentives over the year, allowing smaller groups to experience the same
luxury, but one that fits with their own timetable.
“Stretching your budget to make sure the entire sales team is there
together is no longer what breeds success,” says Rae. “By splitting
incentives, the goodwill (and subsequent employee longevity) will far
outlast a weekend, and enables you to communicate your incentive over 12
months, as opposed to the two nights enjoyed previously.”