What is Incentive Travel and How Can You Make It Work for Your Brand?

Incentive travel is one of the most effective ways to motivate employees, improve company culture and build customer loyalty. When done correctly, incentive travel can also help retain top talent and boost sales. But what is incentive travel, exactly? And how can you make it work for your brand?


What is Incentive Travel?


The Incentive Research Foundation defines incentive travel as "a program that rewards individuals or groups of employees for meeting or exceeding predetermined goals or objectives." In other words, an incentive travel program is a way to thank employees for their hard work and dedication. It's a motivational tool that helps employees feel appreciated and encourages them to do their best work.

Incentive travel is one of the most effective ways to reward top performers and increase sales team productivity. The Incentive Research Foundation found that incentive travel programs have a return on investment (ROI) of up to 112%. With such a high ROI, there is bound to be a way to make this work for your brand.


Incentive travel can be used as a retention tool, especially for millennials who have struggled with job hopping. Incentive travel is often confused with business travel or corporate travel. However, there is a big difference between the two. Business travel is necessary for work, while employee incentive travel is a perk or reward.


The IRF points out that incentive travel can boost sales and employee satisfaction when done correctly. The key to incentive travel is that it must be planned and executed to meet the company's goals and objectives. It should be an enjoyable and memorable trip, not just a group trip to a big city.



Why Does Incentive Travel Work?


There are four main drivers of motivation for employees, according to Viktor, the expert in incentive travel. One driver is the acquisition of valuable material goods or experiences. Expedia and The Center for Generational Kinetics survey showed that 74% of Americans value experiences over products or things. This is what incentive travel does best. By offering employees the opportunity to travel to unique travel destinations and experience new things, they are more likely to be motivated at work.


Another driver of motivation is the need for social recognition. Corporate incentive travel gives employees a sense of accomplishment and recognition from their peers. This can be a powerful motivator, especially for millennials who crave social validation. As a 2019 study found, 79 percent said that an increase in recognition rewards would make them more loyal to their employer.

The third driver of motivation is the desire to feel competent and in control. Incentive travel gives salespeople a sense of autonomy and responsibility. This is especially true if they are allowed to help plan the trip or choose the destination. The pandemic shifted our interest in travel destinations, and earners should be included in choosing travel plans.


The fourth and final driver of motivation is related to self-actualization, or the need to feel like you are doing something that has meaning. Incentive travel can help employees feel like they are part of something bigger and that their work is valuable. This is a key driver of employee engagement.


Why Should My Company Have an Incentive Travel Program?


In simplest terms, you should have an incentive travel program because 100% of the best-in-class companies have a robust travel program. What makes a company best-in-class? The IRF says that companies with the highest employee retention and sales growth are deemed best-in-class. In other words, the best of the best use travel programs to motivate their employees.

There are many reasons travel incentive programs work so well for employee retention. For one, it shows employees that they are valued. A study by the SITE Foundation found that 88.6% of employees who went on an incentive trip said it made them feel more valued by their employer.

Incentive travel also creates lasting memories and bonds between employees. These bonds are essential for team building and developing a strong company culture. According to a study by the Event Marketing Institute, 86% of people who went on an incentive trip said it strengthened relationships within their organization.


Finally, incentive travel is an effective way to engage employees and get them excited about your company's goals. A study by Deloitte found that companies with engaged employees outperform their peers by 202%. In other words, incentive travel is not just a nice perk for your employees; it's good for business.

How Do I Create an Effective Incentive Travel Program?


There are four steps to creating an effective incentive travel program. The first step is to define your goals and objectives clearly. What do you want to accomplish with your incentive travel program? Do you want to increase sales, improve employee retention, or engage your top talent? Once you know your goals, you can start planning the trip.

The second step is to choose the right destination. This may seem like a no-brainer, but picking a place that will excite your employees and align with your company culture is essential. Many incentive travel companies can help you plan the perfect trip if you're unsure where to start.


The third step is to create a budget. Incentive travel can be expensive, so it's important to set a budget and stick to it. There are many ways to save money on incentive travel, so don't be afraid to get creative.

The fourth and final step is to promote your incentive travel program. This is where event planners come in. Event planners can help promote your incentive travel program and get employees excited about the trip. They can also help with the logistics of planning and booking the trip.


Where Do Employees Want to Go?


Incentive travel aims to provide an exceptional experience for business travelers. It's no longer enough to fly to Vegas for a weekend; employees need and deserve a relaxing and rejuvenating trip. The IRF says that 88% of respondents said that being given time to relax was the most important thing they wanted in incentive travel.

When the IRF study asked where they hoped to go, the top three responses were a beach getaway (or somewhere with sunshine), adventure and experiential travel, and the mountains. There were some major shifts through their data from 2021 to current, with a wellness spa experience now in the fourth position of destinations for an incentive travel program.

If you're looking for a way to incentive your employees, incentive travel is the perfect solution. Incentive travel is an excellent way to engage your employees and show them how much you appreciate their hard work. It's also a great way to build team morale and strengthen relationships within your organization.

How to Make Incentive Travel Work for Your Brand


Incentive travel is a rising trend, and it's essential to know how to integrate it with your business and brand. The move away from cash bonuses is rapid, with employees looking for alternate sales incentives.

Non-cash rewards often create a more significant motivating factor. Studies show that cash bonuses are forgotten quickly, whereas incentive travel experiences create lasting memories. These memories act as motivational tools and can engage employees for years.


Incentive travel also allows you to focus on company culture and values. It's an excellent way to build team morale and strengthen relationships within your organization through team-building activities. When done correctly, incentive travel can positively impact your bottom line.


If you're looking for a way to incentive your employees, channel partners, or customers, incentive travel is the perfect solution. Working with an experienced event planner who understands how to integrate incentive travel with your brand and business objectives is important.



What Does Incentive Travel Mean for the Travel Industry?


The incentive travel industry is booming with the rise in the popularity of incentive travel. As more companies adopt incentive travel programs, the demand for experienced event planners will continue to grow.

Event management and the travel industry often go hand in hand. Event planning is a great place to start if you're looking to get into the incentive travel industry. Many event planners have a background in the travel industry, which helps them understand the ins and outs of incentive travel.


Travel agencies can take advantage of this trend by shifting their focus to corporate events and group travel. It's important to understand your clients' needs and what incentive travel means for their business. This means working with event planners to develop incentive travel programs that align with company objectives.


Wordsmyth Creative Content specializes in travel industry marketing, perfect for your agency that wants to increase sales by harnessing recent trends. We have the experience needed to direct traffic toward your website, resulting in a boost in clients.