Beyond one-size-fits-all: Customising your meeting and incentive travel for maximum impact

Beyond one-size-fits-all: Customising your meeting and incentive travel for maximum impact

Book flight tickets. ✅

Book five-star hotel rooms. ✅

Reserve the fanciest, most high-tech conference room on the property. ✅

You’ve ticked all the boxes on your meeting and incentive travel planning list, but something is still amiss. The prospect of these incentive trips for your employees doesn’t seem to be sparking any joy in them. Your meeting and incentive travel ideas haven’t generated half as much enthusiasm as you expected them to. What’s going wrong?

Meeting and incentive travel is an important form of reward and recognition for your hard-working, high-performing teams. You could just reward them with bonuses or higher commissions, but there’s something different about incentive travel, isn’t there? Unique experiences in exotic locales, an opportunity to bond with team members outside office walls, and the development of an emotional connection with the organisation that made it all possible for them.

If the prospect of travel is to be an effective incentive for employees, the travel experience itself should be something that they desire. That’s why cookie-cutter meeting and incentive travel no longer do the trick. Customisation to suit your organisation’s objectives, your employees’ interests, and the locales you choose makes all the difference when it comes to incentive trips for employees.

How to customise meeting and incentive trips for employees?

Meeting and incentive travel companies offer myriad options in terms of location, itinerary, on-site events, and conference setup. From their experience running MICE trips and events, they generally know how to curate a well-planned and immersive experience. But they don’t know what your goals are. They don’t know what works for your audience.

A meeting and incentive travel experience that showed phenomenal results for a pharma sales team may fall flat when organised for a marketing team in the cement industry. This is an important sign for incentive travel companies: out with the old and in with customised meeting and incentive trips for employees.

Corporate travel should be customised based on who will be going on the trip. Incentive travel companies should consider not only their designations and demographic information but also their personal interests. A growing trend is to allow corporate travellers some degree of autonomy in the activities they engage in to create a more personalised experience.

Meeting and incentive travel should be customised based on where the group is travelling to. Why fly your team all the way to gorgeous Istanbul if they’re going to spend all their time in conference rooms? What is a trip to Istanbul without dropping by Taksim Square, taking a tour of Hagia Sophia, and picking up trinkets at the Grand Bazaar? The leading incentive travel companies today ensure that their guests discover hidden gems and immerse themselves in the local culture of their destination – the ingredients of a trip that will be talked about long after it’s over.

Finally, meeting and incentive travel should be tailored based on your “why”. If a trip is organised to help team members bond, your itinerary will be different from that of an incentive trip promised to a leading sales representative. Similarly, corporate travel itineraries should vary based on whether they are conceived to be a reward, to boost your value proposition as an employer, or to enhance sales or productivity.

A step-by-step guide to creating tailored meeting and incentive travel experiences

Unsurprisingly, most of the work that goes into making the most memorable corporate travel happens before the trip and behind the scenes. Failing to prepare is the shortest route to an unfulfilling travel experience. With careful and creative planning, however, you can make your next conference or incentive trip for your employees a cherished experience that will occupy their minds before, during, and well after the trip.

Step 1: Hire a meeting and incentive travel company.

Incentive travel companies, also called MICE companies, aren’t difficult to find. What is difficult is finding a MICE company that will make you look so good that you can’t resist working with them again. The best ones out there recognise that they are human, working to create meaningful connections and shared experiences for other humans. We won’t hesitate to boast that DestinationNXT is human first 😉 we keep your guests at the centre of the whole meeting and incentive travel experience. 

Step 2: Outline your objectives.

Once you have a partner onboard, your next step is to clearly outline your objectives for organising a particular corporate travel experience. Your objectives should specify not only your target audience (for instance, your sales staff, your marketing team, etc.) but also the impact you desire to achieve (for example, retaining top sales talent, better employee engagement, etc.).

Incentive trips are often designed with goals like increasing sales, increasing productivity, enhancing customer service, or reducing employee turnover or absenteeism. Other types of MICE travel may also be planned with goals like building a stronger relationship between employees and management or enhancing brand value. These latter goals are increasingly becoming more common as companies focus on culture to build thriving organisations with employees motivated by the prospect of personal growth and experiences rather than just remuneration.

Whatever your specific objective may be for meeting and incentive travel, it must be clear and specific because it will guide you as you create internal qualification guidelines. It will also influence the rest of your planning stages.

Step 3: Decide on a budget and estimated ROI.

Once you’ve outlined your objectives, you can quantify the financial returns that you expect from them. Do sales teams need to hit a certain sales figure to win an experience? Having that number spelt out will help you come up with a budget for incentive trips for employees and guarantee a return on your investment.

A report has indicated that companies earn incremental revenues of $12.50 for every dollar that they invest in business travel. Nonetheless, meeting and incentive travel need not always have a direct return in terms of revenue. You may also measure ROI in terms of employee satisfaction, client satisfaction, post-event surveys, and overall team morale. Whatever measure you choose, make sure it is specific and measurable so that you can evaluate the impact of the initiative and maximise it going forward.

Step 4: Design your custom itinerary!

Now that you know the who and why of your meeting and incentive travel, it’s time to get down to the where, what, and how.

Beyond budgets and metrics, the experience should align with the expectations, interests, and values of your target audience. You can gather essential information to plan your trip via discussions, surveys, and interviews (with the help of your MICE partner, of course).

It is important to remember that different people are motivated by different incentives. You should choose a destination that sparks enthusiasm in your target employees. After all, the prospect of visiting this location should motivate them to work harder and feel like the reward is worth the effort.

Trips to high-end locales for top performers not only encourage other teams to work harder but they also generate positive publicity for your organisation through word-of-mouth and social media posts, all for no additional investment. So each guest on an incentive trip must have an equally meaningful experience. With every additional happy employee, you will notice a greater ripple effect in your organisation and the larger job market.

At the end of the day, people want to know that they are being heard. An itinerary that feels like “Hey, this was made just for me!” does exactly that – it reminds your employees that you are an active listener, concerned about what they want and need.

Step 5: Create hype using internal communications.

Once your plans are outlined, it’s time to put things into action! Before the meeting and incentive travel experience itself, you must drive your teams to work towards the specified benchmarks, if any. This may include a grand unveiling of the qualification requirements and the incentive trips for employees on the other side of achieving them. It may also include a regular schedule of internal communications to keep the buzz alive.

Step 6: The experience itself!

If you and the incentive travel companies you’re working with have planned the experience well, the actual meeting and incentive travel will be a breeze. On-ground partners will handle the logistics and group experiences as per plan, while you can sit back and relax, knowing that you’ve sent your team on the adventure of a lifetime.

At DestinationNXT, we know that corporate travel is for people. And all people are different. Unique. Quirky. That’s why we have real, unique, and quirky people behind the scenes as well, toiling hard to make your MICE travel an experience you’ll never forget.

No more one-size-fits-all; there’s a better way to do things. And we make you look good while you do it.

Get in touch now, especially if the question on your mind is, “Where next?”

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.