By Samantha Stallard, Director of Marketing & Business Development
The guest experience will make or break your event. But, what happens when those guests are also your employees? Do the dynamics change? Does the planning processes change? Do the expectations change? Many big brands reward their employees with travel, private events, and high value experiences the same way they surprise and delight attendees at their consumer-focused activations. While each experience is executed with a unique set of goals, the same care and attention to detail must be maintained in the planning and production.
Travel is one of the most fulfilling experiences money can buy. With travel brings freedom, exposure to unseen people and places, perspective, and… planning. It may sound expensive, but if done right, an incentive travel plan can end up being much cheaper than monetary bonuses for employees. $5,000 can easily get overlooked in an employee's pay stub, but giving an employee a $5,000 vacation establishes positive feelings and may even increase employee performance. As your top employees relax together, they'll network, create relationships, and may even strategize new business ideas (margaritas only make a brainstorm session more interesting!).
Beyond tropical drinks and sunsets over the ocean, incentive travel programs have a strong impact on individual motivation, retention and performance, as well as on organizational culture and business results. Although many companies have provided benefits and travel opportunities, even more want to implement similar management tools, but are unsure how to conquer such a time-consuming task. Here's a quick checklist to help you take what you've learned managing consumer events and implement incentive travel opportunities for your own employees:
1. Define your travel incentive program
Researchers from the Incentive Research Foundation define a successful incentive travel program as, A motivational tool to enhance productivity or achieve business objectives in which participants earn the reward based on a specific level of achievement set forth by management. Earners are rewarded with a trip and the program is designed to recognize earners for their achievements.
2. Establish goals
It may seem very "corporate" to establish goals for a vacation, but it will ensure that everyone is getting the most they can, personally and professionally, from the experience. Incentive travel offers employees an opportunity that encourages, motivates, and inspires them. Businesses want employees to be engaged and consistently performing, so if managers expect their teams to hit certain targets, then they need to establish the same rules for their actions - including travel opportunities. On the trip, morale and teamwork will be high, providing the secondary benefits of an improved working environment and happy workforce.
3. Decide how work will be incorporated
Depending on the type of incentive trip you run, you could incorporate business building techniques within it. For example, if you are incentivizing a whole team to be rewarded with a trip, then team bonding will be facilitated and team dynamics enhanced in a less formal setting. These improvements will naturally translate back into the workplace when everyone is home again.
4. Hire help
Managers and executives have enough work without trying to tackle a project completely outside of their professional wheelhouse. Before even casually mentioning the possibility of a trip in an email, managers have to consider budget, timing, company culture and group demographics. Then book flights, arrange ground transportation, negotiate with resorts for room blocks, arrange catering (don't forget to collect everyone's dietary restrictions!), schedule group activities, and forget about enjoying the vacation themselves! Hiring a team of event concierge services professionals will make employees feel like a priority while personalizing and customizing each person's experience. Onsite at our clients' events, the Concierge.com team is tasked with managing check-in, guest questions, personal needs, and handling any last minute changes and communications.