The goal of any incentive travel program is to create an event that everyone enjoys and provides a memorable experience that lasts a lifetime.  However, this can present a challenge when planning for a group of individuals with diverse interests, past travel experiences and ideals of what makes a trip impressive.  Since the goal of a travel incentive program is to provide an experience that resonates with each attendee on an emotional level, how exactly can this be done?  Here are 7 tips to help you “wow” your attendees with every incentive travel program:

  1. Know Your Attendees

The most obvious way to plan to impress each individual is by talking to your attendees. Ask them about their expectations and wishes for the trip. It could be as simple as having each member fill out a survey where each person lists hobbies, dream vacations, and what they’ve enjoyed in the past and why. Also be sure to inquire regarding possible health issues and allergies, as this may impact the activities you plan.

  1. Provide Options

Unless you have a uniquely like-minded group, it will be difficult to find main activities everyone is equally excited about. Rather than a handful of large group activities, consider providing multiple options for smaller breakout activities where participants can select which activities to participate in based on their interests.  For example:

  • A cavern hike or zipline adventure for those who enjoy outside activities
  • A relaxing spa spent in salt caves, volcanic mud, etc.
  • An afternoon spent in a vineyard sampling wines, cheeses and local artisan foods
  • A tour through the historic ruins and museums of the area
  • A culinary class learning cooking techniques unique to the area
  • An evening of culture and fine arts (e.g. music/opera, plays, literature, art)
  • A morning at the beach learning snorkeling, sailing, diving, shell collecting, etc.
  • A hands-on artisan experience where participates watch, learn and make
  • An early morning or late evening boating trip for deep sea fishing, sea life watching, sunrise/sunset views, etc.
  • A shopping trip through streets famous for fashion, food, culture, street music, and more
  1. Make Experiences

Be careful not to overload your trip with too many tourist type activities. This can easily create an information overload and instead of lasting memories, guests are left with blurred details of what they saw and did. Keep a lookout for experience-based activities that provide lasting memories.

  1. Connect with Local Culture

Guests want more than just a canned tourist trip. They want to have an authentic experience of local culture. So instead of generic restaurants targeted towards tourists, eat where the locals do. If possible, plan your trip around local festivals and cultural activities. The key here is having vendor-partners who can connect you with the best local hot-spots while making sure your group stays safe.

  1. Incorporate Technology

Technology can be a great tool in creating a fun interactive experience. Here are a few ideas:

  • Create a best photo competition.
    Drones can help you capture the best views, just be sure to check local rules and regulations first to ensure that drones are allowed.
  • Use fitness trackers.
    A trip abroad can also be a chance for attendees to meet their fitness goals. Consider using fitness trackers to help your group see how much ground they’ve covered.
  • Include gamification.
    You can also use gamification apps, such as geocaching, for fun scavenger hunt-like activities.
  1. Plan for Personality Differences

Your schedule should allow for the differences between extroverts and introverts. Some attendees might want to pack the time with as much as possible, while others would rather sit back and relax. It is also good to remember that there may be some clashing personalities within your group. Take this into account as you plan.

  1. Swap Stories

Even after the event is over, you can still improve each member’s experience. The best memories are often those that are shared with others. Make sure to plan a time after the event where your group can get together to share pictures and stories. Don’t forget to gather feedback from each attendee. Your guests will feel heard and it will aid you in planning your next trip.

Conclusion

While planning group travel can be daunting, it can be greatly simplified by understanding who will be attending, their interests and their expectations.

Are you considering a travel incentive program? Contact Gavel International to help plan a program that maximizes your budget and results in raving reviews from attendees.

Jim Bozzelli

With over 34 years of experience, Jim is fluent in the ins and outs of the meeting and event world. His tenacity and creativity as a strategist have ensured that incentive programs and corporate meetings are highly polished while simultaneously achieving big-picture goals and objectives. Before focusing exclusively on corporate events and incentive programs, he enjoyed over 10 years of success managing and directing national and international sales. During this time, he worked closely with hotels and convention bureaus. His expertise was recognized with rapid promotions along the way. Over 18 years ago he joined the Gavel International team where he works tirelessly with clients to make their events shine by analyzing data, setting goals, negotiating contracts, as well as setting and managing budgets. He is currently the Vice President of Gavel International.
Jim Bozzelli