The Secret Power of Incentive Travel

2 November 2016

Regular visitors to this blog will notice a recurring theme: the right incentives delivered in the right way work.

We've talked before about some of the stats—how a 2014 survey showed that over 70% of talent would choose an employer with an effective, structured rewards programme over one offering higher pay, and the huge importance to staff wellbeing and retention of people feeling engaged, valued and appreciated.

Incentive travel can be an invaluable reward for motivating and boosting morale across a sales team, for driving targeted business objectives, engaging channel partners to increase sales through resellers, and adding value the length and breadth of your sales processes. Travel is one of the most effective incentives out there—but why? What makes it more effective for incentivising employees and partners than almost anything else, and what makes it so usable and versatile for employers? Let’s take a look...

It's Universally Compelling

There's no getting away from the simple fact that a free trip is an extremely compelling reward. From jaw-dropping, high-end weeks away in the planet's most far-flung, remote and exotic resorts, to a relaxing weekend in a 5-star hotel on England's South Coast, a free trip will always be a big pull.

In fact, Oxford Economics has shown that travel incentives are two to three times more effective than cash rewards. Where cash is easily absorbed into general funds and lost to bills, travel and other day-to-day costs, an incentive trip is a memorable, landmark reward that will stay with the employee or partner for years.

It's Uniquely Memorable

Travel incentives, designed and delivered the right way, will provide a unique and memorable reward. I have a friend, now in his 50s, who still talks about an all-expenses-paid trip to Italy he won as a salesman in the ‘80s for delivering the best results on his team. It's an incentive that makes the receiver feel like their hard work has been recognised, their performance rewarded—and they won't forget that feeling. They'll come back to the office after their trip with stories to tell and experiences to share. That word-of-mouth dissemination is great for morale and motivation as others realise and are reminded that results are recognised and rewarded.

A Memorable Reward = An Effective Reward

Replacing staff costs significant budget (around £30k, according to Oxford Economics) and man hours, as well as causing issues in workforce morale. Staff who feel valued and appropriately compensated for their work stick around. Rewards programmes can boost morale, communicate your appreciation of your people and incentivise results, and the more memorable a reward is both for the person receiving and for the rest of their team, the more effective it is.

Loyalty is the key here, and incentive travel can be a hugely powerful tool for building staff and partner loyalty. The memory of a trip will engender ongoing feelings of warmth and gratitude towards the company, as well as an ongoing sense of being valued and appreciated.

It's Easily Scalable

In these times of tight budgets, eagle-eyed procurement teams and sales leaders needing to justify every penny of a rewards budget, there can be some reluctance to commit substantial spend to travel incentives.

The words 'incentive travel' can conjure images of white-sand beaches and all-expenses paid luxury resorts for some. Although that is an option (we know some great white-sand beaches and luxury resorts), there are many other cost-effective options. Scaling trips to suit performance is necessary and simple, and scaling to suit budget is easy too—rolled out the right way a weekend on the South Coast or a quiet break in the Cotswolds can be every bit as effective as that trip to Bora Bora Pearl Beach. Well, almost.

These are just some of the reasons why we've found incentive travel to be one of the most effective performance rewards available. The key is designing a rewards programme that is closely tied to primary business objectives, and to understand how you can measure the value those rewards add and their impact on employee motivation.

If you’re interested in working with an events and incentives partner who knows the rewards and recognition landscape inside-out, has the latest info on the hottest destinations and the buying power to deliver truly exceptional travel incentives we’d love to hear from you. Get in touch now via the Contact page.