A 2015 survey by the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) showed that incentive travel is on the rise. About 61 percent of the 190 industry professionals surveyed said the economy allowed for better planning of incentive travel programs, while 67 percent said they were increasing travel budgets in 2016. All is good news for incentive travel planners, so the next big hurdle is finding the best location for your group. Here are five tips on how to choose the incentive travel destination that is right for your group, especially if you’ve never before planned for them.
Research Attendee Demographics
This is a no brainer, but the more research you do about your attendees, the easier it will be to pick a destination they will enjoy. What is their age range? How adventurous are they? Have they traveled a lot before? Do they have guests/spouses attending? Answers to all of these questions can help you quickly decide between a beach resort or rustic mountain retreat and everywhere in between.
Ask About Past Trips
Similarly, look at past incentive travel trips that the group took. Where did they go, and what were some of the key activities? Past trips can give insight into the kind of destinations and activities they want—or possibly don’t want because they’ve “been there, done that.” If the client has never offered an incentive travel trip before, poll some key players to get an idea for what people like.
Work Within the Budget
Depending on your budget, airfare and hotel costs are going to be the major factors. For instance, destinations in the Caribbean and Mexico have drastically different airfares to and from the U.S. because of their popularity. All-inclusive options often make it easier for groups looking for a bargain. Seasonal rates can also play a factor, as tropical destinations are typically less expensive during rainier seasons.
Consider Exchange Rates
Planning a trip to England may sound very appealing to Americans after the recent drop in the exchange; however, it’s always important to keep a close eye on exchange rates when planning an incentive trip abroad. If the exchange rate is high, it might not be worth visiting the destination right now.
Corporate Social Responsibility
According to the IRF survey, corporate social responsibility (CSR) played a key role in incentive travel, mainly due to interest from millennials. About 43 percent of respondents said they include CSR activities in some aspect of their program. As such, what destination makes it easy to incorporate CSR opportunities into a program?