If it’s true that the generation mix has significantly varied expectations, preferences and tastes, it could certainly have an impact on a company’s sales performance reward tactics, including incentive travel plans. Do Baby Boomer salespeople prefer incentive trips to Florida where they can lay on the beach and read Tom Clancy? Do Millennial salespeople just want to go somewhere exotic and Instagram every meal? We’ll attempt to answer these questions and more with a series of articles on incentive group travel and the generation mix. Our goal is to help event planners and sales leaders understand and leverage the ways incentive travel rewards uniquely motivate team members from each generation to achieve business and sales goals.
Let’s start with the youngest and fastest growing group in the generation mix: Millennials. Cynics define Millennials by their absorption in social media and selfies, but there’s a lot more to them than that. They’re the least prejudiced and most culturally aware generation today. They suffered through joining the workforce at a difficult time, during the economic downturn of the late 2000s. And their social media “obsession” can be reinterpreted as a love of communication, curiosity and a sense of connectedness with about the world around them.
What does this mean for sales incentive travel rewards and corporate event planning? It means that incentive group travel programs are extremely motivating to Millennials for the following reasons:
They get to share their incentive travel experience.
It’s true that Millennials love social media and smartphones. Less valid is the belief that Millennials aren’t enjoying or paying attention to their life experiences due to their constant connectedness. According to a survey of Millennials and experiences:
- 78% would rather spend money on an experience than a thing
- 77% say their best memories come from experiences
- 72% want to increase their spending on experiences
- 69% say experiences make them feel more connected to the world
Millennials don’t want to plaster their vintage-tinted breakfast photos online for purely selfish reasons. They want to share their lives with the world in order to feel like they’re part of an ongoing, global experience. Going on an incentive travel trip gives them more to say and show to the world. The above research supports the idea that Millennials will value participating, joining, sharing and doing much more than material rewards. Incentive travel can appeal to Millennials’ love of experiences in a big way.
Incentive trips expose them to exciting new things.
Let’s revisit that “69% say experiences make them feel more connected to the world” statistic, because Millennials’ openness to new places and cultures also makes incentive travel uniquely motivating to them. Donald Tapscott, Author of Growing Up Digital, says that Millennials’ “continual connection to others worldwide has produced the first truly global generation. [Moreover] immigration to the U.S. has made Net Geners [Millennials] increasingly multiracial and tolerant.”
This diversity means that Millennials are the generation most likely to want to explore other places, cultures, norms and ways of life. They are genuinely curious about and appreciative of the world around them, and incentive travel invites them to broaden their horizons.
Millennials are not only more tolerant and diverse than other generations, they also care more about the plight of the underprivileged. Tapscott says Millennials “care strongly about justice and the problems faced by their society and are typically engaged in some kind of civic activity at school, at work, or in their communities.” Add to that a Harvard Business Review study, which found that “Gen Ys and Boomers also share a heightened sense of obligation to make a positive contribution to society... Respectively, 86% and 85% say it’s important that their work involve ‘giving back.’”
These studies indicate that, not only are Millennials more likely to appreciate the cultural exposure incentive travel can grant, they’re also more likely to get behind a company culture that promotes giving back. They’re almost certainly the generation most likely to be motivated by group travel opportunities such as social impact cruises that combine luxury, relaxation and positive social change in the same incentive trip.
Incentive travel is a new luxury for Millennials.
Although they have the reputation of being entitled, no one can say that Millennials are spoiled. The average Millennial graduate has an average debt of about $20,000, according to the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF), and a 2014 statement released by The Council of Economic Advisors to the White House claimed that they “have faced substantial challenges in entering the workforce during the most pronounced downturn since the Great Recession.”
Incentive travel was just one of the many luxuries Millennials learned to live without. Exorbitant spending on business trips came under fire after the 2008 recession. Tight budgets combined with this negative publicity caused financial planners to slash incentive travel funds or eliminate travel reward programs altogether. Things are changing, though. As the economy improves, more budget planners are reviving or establishing travel incentives plans. According to a 2014 IRF survey, 48% of respondents said they planned to increase their incentive travel program budget. This means that travel opportunities as sales incentives are new and exciting for Millennials, which can be a tremendous, novel motivation to improve their sales performances.
So, if you operate or are considering operating a sales incentive program and you’ve been wondering whether incentive travel can motivate Millennials to meet your sales goals, the answer is “Yes! Millennials would be extremely motivated by incentive travel! What are you waiting for?” Give Millennials what they can’t resist: experience-sharing, cultural exposure and formerly forbidden opportunities. Incentive trips will not only ignite their passion and improve their performances, but help generate lifelong loyalty to your organization.
If you’re interested in hearing more about how Incentive Solutions can help motivate Millennials in your workforce, call us at 866-567-7432 or use our contact form.