From our social connections to our homes and offices, we have fully incorporated technology into our daily lives, often for the better. The same is true about travel. Not only do we have a world of information at our fingertips, but we also have the potential to improve the planning, preparation, and delivery of a “wow” factor to enhance your incentive program.

Investing and incorporating the most relevant technology upgrades incentive travel, and more corporate event professionals are learning to leverage it in ways that refine the entire experience.

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How Event Technology Improves Events

It’s no secret that technology has changed the way we plan and execute corporate events. Utilizing collaborative planning software, event apps, websites, social media marketing, and post-event surveys, we’ve been able to find various ways to leverage event technology to improve the experience for attendees, planners, and hosts.

In the early stages, we have the capacity to plan better. Event marketing (via email, websites, and social media) expands our reach while event registration provides us with invaluable information about those who plan to attend. In turn, we can choose appropriate venues, speakers, sessions, activities, and more.

When it comes to execution, we’ve seen even more significant changes, such as hybrid events; live streaming; real-time digital interaction; security and event data, such as RFID and facial recognition; digital communication, including chatbots, community boards, and interactive maps; and game elements, such as VR, AR, and gamification through event apps.

The post-event experience has seen significant impacts as well. All the data gathered via event technology during the conference is able to be aggregated and analyzed. Event apps and websites can continue to connect not just organizers to attendees, but attendees and other guests to one another. This technology can be leveraged to provide valuable content, as well as to nurture relationships.

Through every stage of your event, there’s a way to utilize technology to transform the experience.

How Incentive Travel Improves Your Business

There are significant benefits to incentive travel. However, that doesn’t mean the travel location has to be exotic every time; in fact, choosing an unexplored city (even if it’s in a neighboring state) can be just the kind of trip your team needs. Simply getting away as a team has huge advantages, much like rewards and recognition programs.

Businesses and organizations that initiate or implement an incentive travel program can expect to:

  • Attract new and top talent
  • Boost employee productivity, satisfaction, and retention
  • Spark employee creativity
  • Improve teams and communication
  • Enhance employee engagement 
  • Motivate teams to achieve goals
  • Elevate brand reputation
  • Provide ways for employees to feel seen and appreciated

The reward, the destination, and the incentive program itself can all help achieve these benefits.

IMG_0152 (1)Event Technology and Incentive Travel

Given the impact of technology on all events and its impact on the travel industry, combining the two promises to provide a plethora of advantages. Below are a few ideas for how you can utilize tech to elevate your next incentive trip. 

1. Event App: An event app can enhance an incentive trip by streamlining communication, fostering engagement, and providing attendees with valuable resources. You can send real-time reminders and updates to attendees' devices, ensuring they stay informed about important announcements or schedule changes. Attendees can create personalized schedules, marking activities and excursions they plan to attend. In addition, interactive maps of the destination, hotels, or venue can help attendees easily navigate. 

2. AI and AI Tools: Artificial intelligence is revolutionizing nearly every industry these days. From automation to quick data analysis, AI and AI tools help with everything from event promotion to communication, including making events more accessible for non-English speakers. Utilizing artificial intelligence for an incentive trip might come in several other forms, including itinerary planning; personalized recommendations that suggest destination options, activities, and accommodations tailored to your participants; and cost optimization by using AI algorithms to continuously monitor travel and accommodation prices. You could also implement AI chatbots or virtual concierge services within your event app. Attendees can ask questions, get recommendations, and receive instant assistance, enhancing their experience.

3. Virtual Site Inspections: When it comes to incentive travel, one of the most difficult aspects is choosing sites and venues, especially when destinations may not be easily accessible. Still, event planners and hosts want to ensure the selected sites and event venues meet not just physical needs but also capture the tone and feel of your planned event. For that reason, many hotels and destinations use VR to give viewers an immersive site inspection. 

4. Trip Management Tools: There was a time when trip management and travel logistics were the bulk of the work for a business trip. Spreadsheets, countless hours on the phone, and in-person logistics made group travel remarkably difficult. These days, from apps to websites, event planners have travel and group air travel management down to a science that makes it far easier not only to manage multiple travelers and transportation but also to find the best services and rates.

5. Social Media: Leveraging social media for an incentive trip can significantly enhance the event's reach, engagement, and experience for attendees. One option is to create a unique hashtag for the trip, encouraging attendees to utilize it when posting. This creates a centralized conversation hub and allows attendees to see each other's posts. You can also build anticipation by posting teasers and countdowns. Share sneak peeks of the destination, venue, or activities to generate excitement. Not only can this excite those attending, but it can also entice others to achieve the goals required to attend the event next year. You can even highlight attendees, especially those who have achieved significant milestones.

6. The Internet of Things (IoT): It’s estimated that there are over 16 billion IoT-connected devices currently available. IoT devices are capable of sending real-time information, rapidly, which means when event planners and hosts need to make adjustments on the fly, tools like RFID can provide invaluable information on attendees to make adjustments. Additionally, with demands for up-to-date information, dynamic voice-enabled attendee service kiosks are immediately responsive and personalized. For example, combining both RFID badges and these kiosks means that service kiosks can gather RFID data and respond to attendees in a specific, personal way.

Tips for Pairing Event Technology and Incentive Travel

One of the best advantages event planners and hosts have is how acclimated we are to technology. For most of us, technology is a part of our daily life and has been for decades. So, introducing technology and expecting attendees to “go digital” isn’t a stretch. Still, there are a few tips to consider when it comes to pairing event tech and incentive travel.

1. Utilize digital tools early (and often)
One of the best strategies you can employ is to start using the digital tools you’ll need and expect attendees to use before, during, and after the event. It’s simple; you want to create the habit of checking the app, looking for emails, and connecting with one another. It’s a great way to deliver and distribute information, build excitement, and gauge attendees' interest in activities.

2. Communicate as much as you can, as early as you can
Whenever you can, provide information for your attendees. Whether it’s travel instructions, packing necessities, or session materials, you’ll help them be prepared and engaged. If you’re planning some off-site activities, especially those that may require specific clothing or gear that isn't provided by an outfitter, you’ll want to have attendees prepared to participate in everything you have planned.

3. Get your guests connected
If your airline, hotel, or activities have social media accounts, apps, or more, get your guests connected. From simplifying travel to completing necessary waivers or forms, much like providing content in advance, you can have attendees prepare for their trip, relieve stress, and build excitement.

4. Avoid tech for tech’s sake
New tech is exciting; there’s no doubt. Otherwise, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) wouldn’t be one of the biggest tech events in the world. Still, focusing on what’s new doesn’t necessarily add value to your event and (in some cases) can be costly. For example, the first few years VR appeared at trade shows and created buzz, there weren’t many applications for it and the tech was still in its infancy. That means that, while cool, it didn’t add much value for a lot of applications.

While your guests may want to leverage new tech, make sure it adds value (and entertainment value counts!) to your event and the event experience.

6. Test your technology
Every one of us has likely tried some tech or software – either in beta or on its initial release – and found glitches that were frustrating, sometimes even making the tech unusable. Your incentive trip is not the place to try new tech. Even if it’s not new, always test apps, hardware, software, or any technology that you plan to use. The same is true for any equipment you’re going to rely on at your destination/venue. In fact, we’d recommend having someone on your team whose sole job it is to oversee tech, particularly if you intend to rely on it heavily for presentations or guest participation. For example, karaoke is no fun if the microphone doesn’t work.

And what do you do if you don’t have a tech expert on your team? If travel logistics prove too daunting? If choosing a destination or venue is overwhelming? Then you turn to the experts at Bishop-McCann.

We have tech experts on our team who can help you leverage new, exciting technologies, so you and your attendees can get the most out of your incentive trip. On top of that, we have travel experts who are there to ensure a seamless travel experience. From travel directors to airline and transportation gurus, we can help get your team where they need to be when they need to be there. Group air travel can be stressful, especially in today’s travel environment, but we’ll be there, ensuring you and your travelers have a stress-free experience.

Ready to plan your next incentive trip? Get in touch with us today, and let’s get started. Whether you’re traveling near or far, we’ll be with you every step of the way!
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