You may have heard the term ‘travel incentive’ before, but it might leave you wondering—who creates these programs, anyway? There are many companies, particularly travel agencies, who offer to plan group travel, and some of these companies also use the phrase ‘travel incentives.’ This might lead you to believe that such travel agencies offer the same services as a travel incentive company. However, there’s a difference between an agency that can book group travel and a company specifically devoted to travel incentive programs. Here are a few of the ways travel incentive companies are distinct:

Travel Incentive Companies Have Your Business in Mind

Travel incentive companies know how to help your business flourish.  They know how to create a program that drives long-term behaviors such as improving productivity and morale.  Additionally travel incentive companies not only offer a memorable experience, but they ensure that the trip is worthwhile for both attendees as well as your business.

Pro tip: 
To ensure that your travel incentive program provides you with the most value, be sure to ask the following questions:

  • While cost-savings is important to us, what are the things that your program brings to us that provide extra value?
  • How does the value translate into savings for us (e.g. time, money, risk avoided, etc.)?

Travel Incentive Companies Help Create Your Program

Implementing a travel incentive program from concept to completion is a complicated task.  It’s far more complex than selecting destination and generating a few marketing emails to get the most out of the incentive campaign.  An effective and efficient program is one that motivates participants and helps you accomplish your goals, which is exactly where an experienced travel incentive company will excel.

A travel incentive company will work with you to craft a full incentive program suited to your specific needs and goals.  They can even create kick-off announcements and promotional campaigns as well as provide onsite support during the event to ensure your program goes smoothly.

Pro Tip:
Experienced travel incentive companies will want to know much more than your destination, budget and number of travelers.  Some questions to ask:

  • Given our audience (e.g. travelers) do you believe this is the best destination, or should we consider another option? If so, what might be better one and why?
  • When considering this destination, do you have relationships with local vendors who can provide us with more custom or unique experience?
  • Can you provide additional support such as helping us with ideas for the promotion of as well as marketing during the course of the incentive program?

How much manpower will be available to us during the event itself and what will be the roles of those individuals?

Travel Incentive Companies Arrange Much More Than Travel

One of the biggest advantages of opting for a travel incentive company is that they will work to meet all of your needs, not just a few.  While they are experts in destination travel and can help you arrange transportation, secure lodging and meeting places, as well as find recreational opportunities and dining hot spots, they also do a whole lot more.

Much goes into a travel incentive program behind the scenes and experienced travel incentive companies understand the complexity.  They streamline the process for you to make your decision-making easier and help your program run smoothly.

Pro Tip:
Travel incentives offer a significant amount of value that is often overlooked.  To uncover the true value to your organization be sure to ask the following questions:

  • Will you help us with event budgeting?
  • Selecting the right venue is a concern and can take time; do you provide venue scouting as part of your program?
  • Can you help us locate, review and select vendors?
  • Will you be able to help us with any kind of technology options for participant check-ins, agendas, etc.?
  • How can you help us with risk management? Do you provide crisis plans for our travelers?  What about contract review looking for clauses that could impact us later?
  • How will you ensure that the event goes smoothly? Will you provide onsite event management?

Travel Incentive Companies Specialize in Customization and Flexibility

A good travel incentive company allows you to customize your program, destination, and activities planned for the trip. Customization is a priority—they will work with your budget, business goals, and attendee demographics to figure out the perfect program, destination, and recreational activities for your group. Not only that, the people you work with at a travel incentive company know how to be flexible, and will not allow unforeseen misfortune to derail your entire trip.

Pro Tip:

To truly gain the most customization from your travel incentive, the following questions are always relevant:

  • Can we create options for activities that allow individualized experiences based upon interests such as cooking, exploring, relaxing, shopping, etc.?
  • Is there an option which accommodates those with disabilities such as wheelchairs or difficulty walking, hearing impaired, etc.?
  • How do you address and handle dietary restrictions or needs such as low sodium or sugar, Kosher, shellfish or nut allergies, etc.?
  • Is there a crisis plan should there be a problem as simple as a power outage or as large as a need to help a traveler be medically transported?

Are there contingency plans should a venue suddenly become unavailable (e.g. act of God, unforeseen construction, etc.)?

Take a look at this case study to see Gavel International’s flexibility and expertise put on display in the midst of unexpected obstacles:

Travel Incentive Companies Stay Involved

A travel incentive company will stick with you every step of the way, from start to finish, striving to ensure that you and your attendees have the best experience possible. They will answer any questions you have—at any point—and have staff onsite to ensure your trip runs smoothly.

Pro Tip:
When the event is completed, it may be easy to assume that the work is done.  But for experienced travel incentive companies, the work is far from complete.  To understand exactly what kind of value they bring, ask the following questions early in the process:

  • Would you be able to help us collect and gather feedback from travelers as well as participants in the incentive program?
  • Can you help us with auditing after the event to ensure that our payments were accurate and that line item accounting is correct?
  • Will you be able to work with us to see how this program impacts participants long-term (e.g. reassess morale, productivity, etc. in 3 or 6 months?)


Travel incentive companies provide significant value to organizations which goes far beyond cost reduction or containment.  An industry professional can help organizations leverage a budget to ensure that travelers not only have a memorable experience, but that the planning, execution and follow-up align with business objectives.

Do you want an unforgettable travel incentive program created and executed by industry professionals? Contact Gavel International for more information.