Talk about giving your top incentive qualifiers a high they couldn’t get anywhere else…Gift a Trip now is offering a luxury spaceflight experience that will put winners literally in orbit.
Gift a Trip, which launched last fall to provide an easy, one-stop-shop for travel incentive buyers (and individuals) to purchase certificates for cruises and hotel/resort packages, has added a truly unique travel incentive option: Spaceflight aboard a pressurized capsule that soars up to 19 miles above the planet’s surface.
The spaceflight capsule, propelled by a high-performance space balloon, launches from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for a six-hour journey that comes complete with plush seats that can accommodate eight passengers, along with a pilot. It has 360-degree panoramic, non-glare windows for optimal viewing once the spaceship reaches its maximum apogee of 100,000 feet (just a tad over 19 miles) above the planet, as well a Wi-Fi connection for those who want to livestream the experience as well as take stunning photos while sipping a beverage of choice from the refreshments bar. Passengers can follow their progress with onboard sensors that indicate altitude, wind and temperature before they gently return to earth under a space balloon and splash back down on earth. After being retrieved by ship, passengers return to the Kennedy Space Center, where they can celebrate in style.
But even before takeoff, the company promises the trip will be special and personalized, with curated invitation-only events and sneak peeks of major reveals of the interior of the capsule, named Spaceship Neptune. Passengers also get VIP access to future test flights, an astronaut-led guide through the pre-flight journey, and a behind-the-scenes tour of NASA. The company is planning the first piloted test flight this year, with the first commercial public flight planned for 2024.
Of course, an out-of-this-world trip doesn’t come cheap. The total voyage costs in $125,000 per-passenger, or a full capsule buyout for $1 million. But that’s not stopping buyers. According to the Gift a Trip website, the first 25 flights, scheduled for 2024-2025, are already sold out, though flights are still available from 2025 on out.
“The response has been overwhelmingly favorable, not only from corporate end users, but also from our third-party partners,” says Lori Cassidy, who co-founded the company with fellow hospitality veteran Pam Kressley to provide incentive houses and companies an easy, turnkey way to provide flexible individual travel certificates from four- and five-star luxury resorts and cruise brands, as well as spaceflight.
Gift a Trip’s partnership with Space Perspective for the spaceflight trip is just one of the 35-plus partnerships the company has with luxury resorts and cruise brands. And they’re adding all the time — coming soon will be a Zero G adventure, where participants can experience weightlessness without venturing into space with a 90-100–minute ride on a specially modified Boeing 727. Other adventurous incentive winners might enjoy an expedition cruise on an Atlas Ocean Voyages cruise, while more relaxed types might prefer one of the Fun-and-Sun packages, or a certificate for a Golf-and-Spa experience.
According to Cassidy, while the spaceflight incentive certificate is taking off, the most popular packages among corporate buyers right now are the Flex Trip Collection. These certificates range from $1,700 for two guests to $10,000, and offer incentive qualifiers their choice of several options.
“If you look at the research on incentives, what people want now is to be able to reward people individually and enable them to go where they want, when they want,” says Cassidy. “The Flex Trip Collection lets companies offer that level of personalization at a price point of their choosing.” She adds that there are 10 Collections to choose from ranging in price from $1,750 to $10,000 per Collection, each of which include a choice of six packages. The company also can customize a Flex Trip Collection for its corporate buyers. “Our Flex Trip Collections provide exactly what recipients are looking for today — flexibility and choice.” says Cassidy.
Each certificate provides for an all-inclusive experience that covers accommodations, taxes, resort fees and gratuities at dozens of top resort brands, individual resorts and cruise lines. These individual trips can be used for everything from sales incentives and service awards to employee retention incentives and charitable auction items. There are no purchasing minimum requirements, no fees for booking or sourcing, and year-round validity with minimal blackout dates.
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