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Everyone loves a reward. Whether it be a shout-out during a meeting or a thank you card in the mail, it’s always nice to be recognized for your work. These are small ways to show appreciation, but what does it take to show appreciation for a whole team? Incentive travel programs are excellent motivational tools and rewards, but hosting a trip regularly might just up the ante.

Incentive travel programs are excellent ways to boost motivation in your employees and show everyone how impactful their work is. Additionally, the continuity of incentive travel initiatives ensures a lasting impact on employee engagement, productivity, and overall job satisfaction, contributing to long-term success and organizational growth.

Should Incentive Trips Occur Periodically?

Incentive travel programs aren’t only about motivating employees, however. Corporate events and meetings are an opportunity to share insights on the company and reflect on overall performance over the recent period. So, periodic trips mean that a large group of people can come together to reflect on company goals and improve business strategies for the future.

While there can be a business element to incentive travel, a large part of it focuses on the attendees, and with a destination event, your team will have something exciting to look forward to. Working for a company that provides a unique travel experience can boost employee performance because it often means an opportunity to explore a new place and experience a new culture. 

For any company in any industry, employee happiness should be prioritized. Considering employee input and providing incentives are just two factors that improve overall employee happiness. In their 2023 Incentive Travel Index report, the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) and the Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE) found that over 40% of respondents expressed interest in recurring incentive travel experiences, particularly for dispersed workforces. So, why not listen to your employees and provide them with a memorable experience that not only keeps them motivated at work but also builds lasting connections? 

This isn’t to say that you can’t have a one-off incentive program. However, a regularly occurring trip is something event planners are seeing more frequently and can be a welcomed reward for current employees and future hires. Showing appreciation for employees in the form of a unique travel experience goes a long way in boosting overall morale, satisfaction, retention, and ROI – areas critical to your business’s success. So by incorporating recurring incentive trips into your company’s calendar, you could see a marked improvement in each of these focus areas.

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Recurring Incentive Travel Benefits

An annual or recurring incentive travel experience is a unique way to bring teams together. In addition to being a strong motivator, companies can expect a range of benefits that truly make these travel experiences worthwhile. 

Increased ROI

Hard benefits, such as financial ROI and market share value, have been a driving force for incentive travel for several years according to the Incentive Travel Index report. This type of trip is an excellent tool for retaining employees and even attracting new talent. In fact, according to the Incentive Research Foundation, incentive programs reduce turnover by 26% and boost productivity by 18%. Promising current and future employees these rewards on a recurring basis will excite them for the future, and your business will reap the long-term financial benefits of your incentive program.  

Enhanced Employee Retention

We mentioned earlier that employee happiness should be a priority. In fact, high turnover can cost companies half or even double the annual salary of a lost employee. Additionally, lack of recognition has been noted as a leading cause of turnover. Fortunately, carefully crafted incentive programs boost retention rates by ensuring employees feel rewarded and appreciated. 

According to research conducted by the IRF, “Organizations that develop cultures based on employee recognition and rewards programs will be better positioned to survive, and even thrive, because their employees remain motivated and involved.” If these events were to occur periodically, employees would be even more likely to stay, and the incentives would motivate them to continue to perform at a high level.

Improved Company Culture

While hard benefits have proven to be a priority for incentive programs, soft benefits are equally important even if they are more difficult to measure. The ability to use incentive travel as a way to improve company culture and strengthen relationships among employees means that your team will have time to foster connections, so they work together more efficiently, especially if trips happen periodically.

For companies with employees all over the world, face-to-face interaction is invaluable for building strong team dynamics. Incentive trips offer an opportunity for these attendees to bond in a way that might otherwise never occur. If your workforce is made up of remote workers, a company event might be the first time employees get to meet in person. If these events are held regularly, your team can truly deepen relationships. Plus, a shared experience – especially a positive one – can significantly enhance collaboration and teamwork.

Strengthened Leadership-Employee Connections

The gap between leadership and employees can sometimes feel substantial, especially in large companies. But incentive travel and other corporate events offer a valuable tool for bridging the gap. The personal connection that occurs when face-to-face gives a more approachable and humanized perception of leadership. Employees often feel more comfortable engaging with leaders in a relaxed atmosphere, leading to open communication and a general sense of equality.

By providing unique travel experiences, companies create opportunities for these types of shared moments and meaningful connections across the entire organization. With casual activities that promote communication between employees of all levels, attendees feel less intimidated when interacting with their superiors. 

Enhanced Brand Exposure

Incentive travel programs are not just about rewarding exceptional performance; they also serve as tools for elevating brand exposure. By offering memorable travel experiences, companies not only inspire loyalty among employees but also create compelling narratives that resonate with a wider audience. How? Participants often share their adventures on social platforms, effectively turning employees into brand ambassadors. This organic sharing amplifies the company's visibility, promoting a positive brand image and attracting attention from potential clients and talent.

For added exposure, event-specific swag bags can help get your brand out into the world. By gifting branded items that your attendees will use, others will become more familiar with your business and even turn to you for services if your company name is the first thing that comes to mind. 

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How to Design a Successful Recurring Incentive Travel Program

If you’ve successfully executed one incentive trip, then it should be easier to execute again. But there are certain steps you need to take to ensure you build a solid foundation for future trips. 

Understand Your Budget

To host periodic incentive travel events, you need to make sure you stay within your means. This includes determining what costs will be incurred for travel, accommodations, activities, food, and beverages for your guests. When beginning budgeting, make sure you prioritize what is most important to your guests. Many attendees want to go to a destination they’ve never experienced before, so you may need to allocate enough money to take your team to an exciting destination. 

If you’ve recently held an incentive travel program and want to plan another, see where your spending paid off during the first trip. For example, if you had a positive experience with a particular hotel group, they might want to partner with you again for the next incentive event. Building a relationship with a particular hotel can save you money and guarantee a location that your guests will love. 

Establish Clear Objectives

Setting clear objectives is paramount for the success of recurring incentive travel programs. Begin by aligning the program goals with the overall business strategy. Define specific, measurable, and achievable objectives, considering factors such as team morale, individual performance, and overall organizational success. Tailor your programs to address unique employee motivations, ensuring relevance and impact. Regularly assess and adjust objectives based on participant feedback (which we discuss in more depth below) and evolving business priorities. By setting clear and adaptive goals, recurring incentive travel programs become powerful drivers of employee engagement, performance, and long-term organizational success. But for this to be achieved, it all begins with your established objectives. 

Ask for Feedback

Understanding what attendees think went well or could be improved upon during the trip is an excellent place to start when planning a recurring event. Ask attendees for their thoughts while on the trip to uncover insights regarding issues that can be solved for the next program, as well as determining aspects of the trip participants enjoyed that you can make sure to include again. Luckily, gathering this feedback is possible – all you need to do is ask. Digital surveys that are customized to your event can give you a detailed look into your attendees’ preferences. Your guests’ feedback is invaluable, and remembering to tweak your program based on the input you receive is imperative to continuing to produce successful trips. 

Work with an Experienced Event Planner

When it comes to planning a successful event, there are a myriad of details to consider. From communication efforts to travel logistics and entertainment, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Luckily, experienced event planners can assist you in sorting through your attendees’ preferences and help you plan accordingly. 

With years of experience, Bishop-McCann specializes in planning both large and small incentive travel programs. Our team has destination-specific knowledge that can help you organize events that your guests will love.

Recurring incentive travel is an excellent way to show your appreciation for your team, and it doesn’t have to be complicated. Reach out to the event planners at Bishop-McCann to learn more about unique incentive travel programs for your company!

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