Even without a crystal ball, HR experts were predicting that the pandemic would have a huge impact on how we view work. Suddenly, employers (and employees) realized the daily commute wasn’t really necessary. Doors opened up for positions across the country that didn’t require an expensive move or major life upheaval.
This put employees in a powerful position. With labor shortages in many industries, an uptick in the gig economy, a rise in entrepreneurship, a retiring baby boomer generation, and a wide-open job market, suddenly attracting and keeping talent became even more difficult.
Business owners and leaders are increasingly looking for ways to not only keep existing employees happy but also to fill open positions with top applicants. To accomplish this, research shows that recognition matters; 63% of employees who feel their employer recognizes their hard work are more likely to stay. Plus, great perks attract more applicants.
In addition, the benefits of rewards go well beyond that, and one of the most appreciated rewards is an incentive program. These programs are a great way to tempt talent and reward existing employees, especially when that incentive is travel.
- What Are Incentive Programs?
- Incentive Program Examples
- Why Choose Destination Events for Incentive Programs?
- Top Incentive Travel Considerations
- Top Reasons to Hire an Event Planner for Your Incentive Programs
What Are Incentive Programs?
Incentive programs are designed to motivate employees, customers, or partners to fulfill goals or reach targets within a specific time frame. Their goal is to provide both recognition and a desirable reward. Incentive programs can be offered for:
Sales Teams - Motivate sales reps to surpass sales goals.
Existing Employees - Motivate teams, departments, or all employees to exceed performance expectations or reward them for loyalty (marking a significant milestone of time with the company).
Potential Employees - Word of mouth (or social media) can be very revealing when it comes to how businesses treat their employees. Seeing trips and travel online can pique a potential employee’s interest and move you to the top when it comes to consideration.
Customers - Reward customers for a variety of reasons, such as order size and frequency; advocacy, promotion, and spokesmanship; and loyalty.
Dealers and Vendors - Motivate dealers or resellers of your products to sell more or to hit specific targets.
Incentive Program Examples
For ages, cash was king. It was the primary way to motivate employees and reward both loyalty and performance. However, times are changing (as is the workforce), and when it comes to a multigenerational workforce, non-monetary rewards are the most popular. Further, incentives can be tailored to meet the needs of all your workers who have various preferences when it comes to benefits and rewards.
For that reason, incentives take many shapes but can include:
- Destination events and travel
- Tuition reimbursement or professional development opportunities
- Classes for enrichment or enjoyment
- Memberships to gyms, museums, or theaters
- Monetary rewards
- Local experiences (dinners, massages, performances)
Again, the goal here is to find what drives your team, and it doesn’t have to be a single incentive. In fact, some businesses use a point system for incentives and rewards, allowing team members and employees to accrue points and choose their own reward. In this way, they are given the opportunity to work toward several smaller incentives or save points for a larger reward.
Why Choose Destination Events for Incentive Programs?
74% of Americans prefer experiences over material goods, so gone are the days of a watch or fancy pen as a reward. That means for most employees, the opportunity to share an amazing experience with others will garner the most return on your investment.
Incentive programs also benefit businesses. All of those employee benefits? They also help businesses, translating into a boost in sales productivity (nearly 20%) and a boost in sales themselves (nearly 115%).
Further, destination events and incentive travel offer other benefits, including:
Enhanced corporate culture
Productivity perks across teams
Not all destination events need to involve jet-setting to exotic locales, though those are fantastic. There are benefits to just getting team members out of their everyday spaces. That means incentive travel can include a closer weekend retreat that doesn’t require air travel (though travel logistics will still be part of that plan).
No matter the location of your event, guests and hosts alike benefit from travel incentive programs. Travel increases creativity, lowers stress, boosts happiness, and more. Plus, when we consider that millennials (who love to travel) make up the largest portion of the workforce at approximately 35%, travel begins to make more sense when it comes to keeping your employees engaged and satisfied.
However, planning off-site or destination events can be challenging. There’s so much more that goes into the planning beyond choosing an amazing destination.
Top Incentive Travel Considerations
Off-site event planning isn’t easy. Whether traveling near or far, there are quite a few things you’ll need to factor in.
1. Determine Your Goal
We mention goal setting often because we cannot stress this enough. Knowing why you’re hosting your event is essential to planning your program. It is the guiding principle that will drive many of your other decisions. First and foremost, it’s a reward and celebration of an achievement; however, it’s perfectly acceptable and suggested to have secondary goals as well.
One of the biggest considerations you’ll need to make is your budget. Knowing what you can spend will likely determine the location, venue, and any vendors you’ll be able to work with. It’s one reason why working with an event planner is a great choice, as their established relationships with venues and vendors can help stretch your budget.
3. Location and Venue
The reward should match the goal, so factoring in both location and event venue will be huge considerations. If it’s a major milestone, the setting should reflect that, but you’ll want to be careful not to overdo should a more significant milestone or goal be achieved. You’ll also want to make sure you’re factoring in travel time and accessibility.
Further, consider your audience. Different demographics prefer different types of travel (for example, millennials prefer adventure!).
A corporate event theme is more than just decorations; it can and should be what brings together your event and your goals. The theme can be tied into various elements (such as your location or gifts) and should reflect your brand, messaging, or achievement. This is another aspect in which an event planner can help. Keeping everything cohesive amplifies the message you’re seeking to convey.
While some venues have entertainers they work with or even entertainment on site (depending on the location and venue), securing engaging entertainment can be challenging. Not only do you want to find acts that will delight your guests, but those acts also need to fit within your budget and be able to perform at the location. If you’re going to include entertainers, talk to the venue (and talk to an event planner!).
When hosting events off site, you want to make sure your tech game is top-notch. In contrast, on site means you likely have near or total control over the technology available and its functionality. Some venues may offer more or different technology options than you’re used to (or less), but the bottom line is that you should know what you’re getting and how to use it.
Excursions are bonus opportunities for your guests, but because of the planning required, they add to the logistics. Depending on the destination and venue, transportation to excursions may be provided. However, in other situations, you might have to arrange transportation, as well as taking into account other considerations (waivers, etc.).
Top Reasons to Hire an Event Planner for Your Incentive Programs
Planning an event can be time consuming, but when you add in the logistics of travel, venues, dining, excursions, entertainment, and gifts, there are tons of moving parts. In addition to the arrangements made before the trip, there’s management and oversight that must occur both during and after the trip. Event planners:
- Provide years of expertise in event planning, logistics, and management
- Advise on creative aspects that add value and create memorable experiences
- Create event promotion and marketing plans
- Leverage existing relationships with venues and vendors to stretch your budget and provide opportunities
- Guide your guests through the entire process and address problems as they arise
- Handle travel needs throughout the trip
- Negotiate entertainment and live performances
- Ensure technology not only works but also enhances the experience
- Ensure that you and your team enjoy the event and interact with guests
If you’re ready to plan your next incentive program—one that’s memorable for your attendees and low-stress for you—let our team of experts support you from start to finish. Not only can the experienced team at Bishop-McCann plan an amazing incentive program for your guests, but we can also leverage our skills to help you make the most of your budget.