Why Plan An Incentive Travel Program?

by: Nichole Gunn September 5, 2013

Recent studies show that 50% of working individuals do not feel valued at work. This seems like it should be a wake-up call. With a number as high as 50% already, it seems like it will only continue to grow in the future. The good news is, there is something we can do about it. Incentive travel programs motivate and bring people together like nothing else can. As you consider whether to plan an incentive travel program, explore the list of resources and studies listed below to help you make the right decision.

Incentive Travel Primer:

The Incentive Research Foundation has created a report called “The Anatomy of an Incentive Travel Program.” This research was created in an effort to offer a unique viewpoint on what it takes to plan an incentive travel program. It will provide you with key terms, earning criteria, budget tips, stakeholder perspectives, and instructions on how to measure ROI and ROO.

Travel Case Study:

If you are still on the fence about incentive travel, read through a case study for proof that it works. The Incentive Research Foundation recently published the results of a case study they performed called “Channel Incentive Travel: A Case Study,” where they followed a specific company and documented its impressive results after implementing incentive travel programs.

Recently, an incentive travel company partnered with LIMRA to release a study about reward and recognition programs. It shows that an outstanding 83 percent of financial and insurance sales representative’s claim their motivation comes from incentive programs.

The study entitled, “Improving Legacy Incentives Leads to Better Engagement,” gauged more than 5,400 agents from the United States and Canada, found that destination travel is a highly motivational tactic. Incentive travel is even more motivating when it can be done with spouse or family.

Participant’s Viewpoint:

We are often consumed with the thought of planning and developing our company’s incentive programs, and do not take the time to find out what the participants think. The Site International Foundation and the Incentive Travel Council of the Incentive Marketing Association sponsored a four-part study entitled “The Participant’s Viewpoint Study” to find out.

Part 1: Incentive Travel as a Motivator

  • 95.5% of participants who earned the reward say they were motivated on some level to earn it
  • >90.7% of participants who did not earn the reward say they were still motivated
  • 68.8% say they desire traveling to a different destination for the next reward
  • 61.6% believe that travel incentives are more motivating than merchandise rewards
  • 67% of those who did not earn the reward say they are more motivated to work harder in the future

Part 2: Motivation Value

  • 60.2% of participants say the opportunity to interact with higher-level executives was equally motivating
  • 72% believed that incentive travel programs offered the chance to build relationships apart from work
  • 70.7% said it was a unique experience, and could not have done it on their own
  • 74.5% said that the program would be more motivating if there was more leisure or unscheduled time

Part 3: Incentive Travel Programs that are Memorable

  • 88.6% of reward-earners believed that it made them feel appreciated by the company.
  • 77% said it increased their feeling about being a part of the company.
  • 53% said interacting with senior management was a positive experience.

Part 4: An Integrated Viewpoint

The final part of the study discovered what makes an incentive travel program meaningful and motivational. Participants agreed that it is all about Return on Experience (ROE). They must believe the experience was worth their extra effort and time.

What should you take from these studies as you plan an incentive travel program? There are a few reoccurring themes when it comes to these reports and studies:

  • Choose an interesting and unique destination
  • Participants would rather have more inclusions than luxury
  • Trip should be a unique and memorable experience
  • Participants desire trips they can share with a guest or spouse
  • Allow for more unscheduled time and leisure activities
  • Value to opportunity to interact and build relationships with senior management

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About Nichole Gunn