6 Top Tips for Successful Incentive Travel Planning
Incentive travel is a powerful tool to motivate employees and retain top talent within your business. And with the ‘experience economy’ on the rise, where people value life-enhancing experiences more than money, it’s more important than ever to include incentive trips in your benefits package. As an incentive travel company, we’re here to ensure you get the most out of your investment, while making the planning process as simple as possible.
First lets look at the benefits of incentive travel.
Key benefits of incentive travel
An important benefit of incentive travel is increased loyalty from staff, meaning they’re less likely to look elsewhere. The chance to ‘escape’ the usual workplace also helps to re-engage employees, keeping their productivity and performance levels high.
Health & Wellbeing
Travel is well known to reduce stress and improve our wellbeing. Exposure to new environments and situations can also boost confidence, another way to reduce stress in employees. Plus it can help them to learn new coping skills for when they’re back in the workplace. Happy and healthy employees are generally more productive and because they need less time off work, you benefit as much as they do.
There’s no doubt that socialising with teammates helps to build stronger relationships between co-workers. Social environments can also help to break down any barriers between teams and their management. Enabling people to engage in a non-work environment helps to take the pressure off and make everyone seem… well, much more human! And don’t we all prefer to feel we work for a regular human being that shares many of the same joys and fears as we do?
Incentive travel creates an all-round feel good factor that people can take back to the office with them. It’s a positive experience that they associate with work, making the daily requirement less of a chore and instead something they can enjoy. Instead of simply paying the bills, there’s now a life-enhancing reason to deliver the best they can, for you.
How to plan a memorable incentive trip
1) Choose the right destination
Choose a destination that allows people to really disconnect from the workplace and ideally, all things digital. Today’s workplace is always-on. People are tied to their phones and laptops and it creates a simmering level of stress that often isn’t even noticed until the distractions are gone. Remove the devices and the difference is palpable. Your team will be more focussed, better able to socialise and much more able to recall the positive experience they’ve had once they’re back at work.
Outdoor spaces are great for disconnecting from that digital world and reconnecting with our true selves. Getting your team into a natural environment is great for mental health. Fresh air, natural light and some physical exercise can do wonders for our state of mind.
North Wales is our favourite place for this. With its mountains, rivers, forests and coastline, it’s the perfect escape for busy burned-out people needing a place to recharge. And the multitude of high quality, professionally-run activities available here means you can take your pick of outdoor activities.
2) Plan inclusive activities
Choosing the right activities can be tricky. As the saying goes, it’s hard to please all of the people all of the time. Consider who is in your group and make sure you know what’s likely to interest them. Most importantly, make sure you don’t choose an activity that could alienate anyone from the group. After all this is about fostering a positive experience, closeness and loyalty. Think about things like cultural background, religion, physical ability and how outgoing individuals are.
If possible, it’s useful to offer a choice of activities so people can choose what they’re most comfortable with or simply choose to mix things up during their stay. For example, a choice of outgoing physical activities and quieter cultural exploration can create a nice balance for everyone in the group.
And don’t forget to plan in some downtime! It can be tempting to fill every moment with ‘something’ to do, but remember your team is here to recharge their batteries and bond together. Make sure they have time each day to do just that.
3) Choose comfortable accommodation suited to the team
The accommodation setting is as important as the destination. It needs to suit the collective team’s expectations or your good intentions and hard work in providing a company away day could all be forgotten.
Is it a group of board level executives you’re taking away for a few days? Middle managers? The workforce who are at the coalface every day? Or are you rewarding the whole company with an incentive trip? It goes without saying that any accommodation must meet basic standards of cleanliness and practicality. But make sure the overall quality level and facilities are suitable for each type of group. For example, while your board level staff may expect 5 star luxury with a spa, entertaining the whole company is unlikely to warrant (or want) such an extravagance.
Bear in mind the surrounding environment too. If you’re in a hotel on a busy high street with bars all around, don’t be surprised if your group breaks off into factions to do their own thing during free time. That’s definitely not good for team building and morale! A more remote location, where focus on each other can be more easily maintained is better suited to a corporate trip. A country hotel or even a private house is often perfect. With a private house you could even bring in caterers to take care of group meal times. It brings a personal touch that makes staff feel special and adds to the uniqueness of their experience. It generally needs no more budget than dining out each day and in fact can often be less expensive.
4) Keep travel arrangements simple
You want an incentive travel experience to be as easy as possible for your team. After all this is their reward, they shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to enjoy it. So make sure group transport is included. If your incentive trip is in the same country as your company, overland travel by bus or coach might be a good option. And don’t underestimate how much this forms part of the experience. From the moment your team steps on the bus, their reward has started and they’ll start the out-of-work socialising you’re aiming for.
If flights are needed, make sure people can go from the airport most convenient for them. And make sure they’re collected as a group from the airport when they land.
5) Consider team building exercises
Not every trip needs them. Sometime you simply want to reward your employees with a well-earned break. But if you’re trip is intended to be more than that, team building exercises can be fantastic when done well. Make sure you carefully think through the objective of the exercise before planning out the exercise itself though. Without careful planning you risk missing the mark and leaving your team wondering what it was all about.
For example your aim may be to get people to simply break down barriers and get to know each other better. This can be done through almost any exercise that gets people into a group to experience something fun for the first time. Coasteering is a great example of this. Said to be invented here in Wales, coasteering involves climbing, scrambling, swimming and jumping around the coastline in a group. It’s fantastic fun and if you’ve got a fit team with energy to burn, they’ll have a blast taking it in turns to leap off cliffs and swim to the next rock, before climbing up to go again.
Or perhaps in the office, poor communication is creating problems with workflow. In which case choose an exercise that helps them to develop better communication skills. Whitewater rafting is great for this as the team in each raft works together to navigate the rapids. If your group is less active, a good alternative for developing communication skills is another navigation exercise we run here at Adventure Tours UK. In this, the captain of a powerboat is blindfolded and the group must work together to give him the information needed to navigate their boat safely.
This brings us back to point 2, above. A team building exercise is going to include everyone, so make sure you choose an activity that everyone is going to enjoy.
6) Use a professional corporate incentive travel company
There’s a lot involved in creating the perfect company incentive travel experience. But it’s well worth doing for such tangible benefits.
Simplify the whole process by using an incentive travel company like Adventure Tours UK and we’ll take away the pain of planning logistics, accommodation and activities. So you can focus on getting your team excited and ready for their adventure together!
Another benefit of using Adventure Tours UK as your incentive travel company is that we can provide a local guide. That means someone else takes responsibility during the trip for getting the group together at the right times for activities and meals. And of course they can share local knowledge about the destination you’re in, bringing depth to the experience. Having someone else do all of this will free you up to immerse yourself in the experience completely, ensuring you have the time to connect with each and every team member.
Are you ready to plan your incentive travel trip?
At Adventure Tours UK we provide a bespoke planning service for corporate groups. So whether you’re looking to provide incentive travel as a reward, a team building trip, entertain your clients or hold a launch event to remember, we are perfectly placed to bring innovative ideas and take the stress away.
What are you waiting for? Get in touch with a member of our Corporate Group Planning team today!