What is an Incentive Travel Program?

Incentive Travel Programs are established to boost employee loyalty. They work by rewarding top performers with all-expenses-paid travel rewards. Incentive travel programs are established with the aim of motivating employees as well as increase productivity and sales.

How does Incentive Travel work?

Incentive travel programs work because they are unique. Cash rewards are appreciated by employees. However, they are an unmemorable reward and lead to feelings of entitlement, as well as expectations. Many employees find it difficult to distinguish monetary awards as part of an incentive plan reward from a compensation package.

The connection between employee motivation and incentive travel programs

Travel incentives for employees aren’t anything new and have been used by managers for decades to motivate their internal staff as well as their partners to work harder. Over the last 50 years, there has been a lot of research done around the connection between employee motivation and incentive travel programs.

Employee recognition – Many employees enjoy being rewarded for their hard work as well as their success. Recognising the triumphs of your employees with incentive travel programs is a great way of building motivation.

Employee compensation – As already mentioned, compensating employees with incentive travel programs creates memorable and fun experiences in a way that monetary compensation cannot match. An all-expense paid vacation with an escape from the troubles of a workweek is a great way of compensating employees.

Improve employee productivity – When employees feel appreciated and valued, their productivity skyrockets. When they feel like their company cares about them enough to pay for an all-expense paid vacation, they feel obligated to work that much harder. It also gives employees a target to work towards which improves productivity as they know how much they need to work in order to be rewarded with an all-expense paid trip.

Create meaningful experiences – Experiences are much more important to people than money, and this can be seen when employees return from travel programs.

Gives employees a fresh perspective – Sometimes, a break from work which is accompanied by new experiences is all it takes to give employees a fresh take on a problem. With a different perspective comes new solutions to previously unsolvable problems.

Tips for implementing an Incentive Travel Program

While it’s never easy to plan an Incentive Travel Program, it can be done. Following these tips will make the process seamless and easy for everyone involved.

  • Plan early – Planning should happen at least a year in advance. A year to 18 months in advance is acceptable. Planning early also has the additional benefit of building excitement for eligible team members to earn the trip. Planning should include the seasonal trends of the desired location as well as assembling a to-do list.
  • Have a goal – Even though an incentive program may afford you a flexible schedule, it doesn’t mean you should forget about setting a goal. Identify whether you want your attendees to leave with new knowledge, a fresh outlook on your company and so on. Incentives are the highest touch-point you have between your top employees and you.
  • Meeting management – Most incentive trips do not have an agenda. They usually keep the agenda to a minimum. This is because the whole point of the trip is for the top employees to enjoy time away from work. Most organisations choose new locations for each meeting which means that they aren’t able to build relationships with local contacts. Meeting management helps eliminate this hassle as a planner can negotiate better rates for the entire program which helps keep costs down.

Incentive Travel Programs are great at motivating employees to give their all. Without an incentive travel program in place, employees usually feel like their talents would be better utilised in another company. At the end of the day, any company worth their salt knows that retaining employees is easier than hiring new employees.

Meta-description: Employees appreciate cash rewards, however, an incentive travel program can result in a much better outcome for the organisation. Find out how.


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