Incentive Travel is a type of corporate program that holds activities for its employees or participants, primarily for leisure. They’re like conferences, but instead of only engaging in activities relevant to the business, the focus is on employees relaxing, socializing, and being entertained.

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What makes incentive travel so unique is that it’s intended to be a reward system. It’s a way for the company to recognize its employees for their loyalty or achievement by giving them all-expenses paid trips and vacations complete with all kinds of recreational activities and social events. This is why these incentive programs are also known as recognition or loyalty programs, and they are used as a means of motivating workers to achieve certain business incentives and be more productive overall.

Participants

Companies have the autonomy to decide who gets to take part in these programs, but generally they are associated with the company, be they employees, sellers, distributors, or even customers. These people have to achieve a certain goal or attain a level of performance that’s pre-defined by the company in order to qualify for the incentive. For example, sales agents of a company might be expected to reach a certain sales target within a given period to be eligible for the reward.

Once these conditions are fulfilled, the qualified individuals are rewarded with the promised incentive travel. This are usually organized by the company so that everyone who qualifies will travel as a group and join in the same activities and events. However, it’s not uncommon for companies to award employees with individual trips.

Preparations

As mentioned before, these travels aren’t normally just free vacations. Companies usually coordinate these with activities and events the qualified individuals can participate in. As such, the company usually plans everything, including accommodations, dinners, venue arrangements, activities, entertainment, and other special events. In some cases, this involves the company coordinating with the participants themselves, especially in terms of the itineraries and the logistics for the events.

Kinds of incentive programs

More often than not, companies offer all kinds of incentive programs depending on their needs, and these usually require different conditions. Here are a few common examples:

- Sales incentive: This is the most common form of travel incentive program because most companies require a certain amount of sales to be met in order to make a profit. This program is aimed at the company’s sales teams, distributors, resellers, and similar employees. Sometimes the program requires the sales team to reach a certain amount of sales within a month, while others have to reach a target within a year. There are many variations on this kind of program, but they usually motivate employees to reach a goal related to sales.

- Reward and recognition: As the name suggests, this type of incentive program is meant to reinforce certain behavior. In some cases, this isn’t announced, but over the years people who work there will know that they’re bound to receive certain awards if they do well, so it works as an incentive as well. Some of the acts worthy of reward or recognition include improving customer service, being a role model employee, upholding corporate values, and more. The goals are not as concrete as achieving sales quotas and are usually subject to an evaluation by the employer.

- Employee motivation: This one has a wider scope, since it’s intended to reward everyone working for the company as a whole. These programs are usually done regularly, assuming that everyone does well, and the company may treat all its employees to a vacation where they get the chance to unwind and mingle. More than just a reward, it also helps build rapport and better relationships between the people involved. By giving them something to look forward to, employees are encouraged to get their work done and do their best to achieve the company goals.

- Customer loyalty: There are also incentive programs that are given to those who have served or done business with the company for many years. It’s the company’s way of saying “thank you,” knowing that they continued doing business with the company when they could have gone with a competitor. This is usually applied to partnered businesses, large-scale clients, suppliers, and even subordinate companies. Loyalty programs like these are based on a points system, where the rewards become available once a certain number of points have accumulated.

Incentive programs are NOT just free vacations

Contrary to popular belief, incentive travel isn’t just a way for employees to get free holidays. These activities often double as a way for like-minded workers to spend some time together and get to know each other. In fact, most of these planned trips come with all kinds of group events and activities to make sure that participants end up socializing with each other.

It’s also not just about rewarding people. As these qualified individuals enjoy their rewards, they also get to celebrate the fact that they and their co-workers have achieved so much for the company. They also get to share their experiences, so they can learn from one another. These individuals then get to feel like they’re part of an elite group of individuals who are valued by the company, which can motivate them to do even better.

There is no doubt that incentive travel programs have proven to be an effective means of motivating employees to do their best and achieve company goals. Many studies have been conducted that have shown that incentives have a direct correlation to company productivity. In fact, the concept has been applied to all kinds of industries and all levels of management. There are even industries dedicated to helping new businesses employ these systems in order to support their workers to do better and feel better about themselves. So, if you haven’t already done so, you might want to consider integrating this kind of program into your business or workplace.