Why incentive travel is the best reward, by Rajeev Kohli

Incentive travel schemes are considered a huge success by employers, according to the respondents to a recent SITE index survey – an annual analysis of and forecast for the incentive travel industry.

Ninety-nine per cent of respondents said they believed “incentive travel programmes were ‘somewhat’ or ‘very effective’ in achieving important business objectives, with approximately eight in 10 reporting that they were a strong motivator of performance.”

Hinton says figures show that “every $1 invested in face-to-face [meetings and events] turns into $9.50 in new revenue and $2.90 in profit” – an ROI that would surely satisfy Hamso.

While the science of social behaviour, motivation theory, work ethics, psychological impact studies and ROI are at the heart of any study of modern incentive programmes, they are only a part of the story when it comes to implementation, which involves boots-on-the-ground planning.

“Destination and venue choice is dependent on the type, purpose, audience and length of the event. If the purpose of the event is to motivate, inspire and recognise participants, the event should be held away from an office environment to minimise distractions,” Hinton adds.

“For incentive travel, the destination and venue is critical. SITE research of incentive participants in the US, UK and India showed that destination ranked the highest in aspects that affect participants’ motivation. Also, changing the destination year over year had a high impact on participants’ future performance.”

Communication is vital

David Simpson, co-founder and director of learning and development with Team Building Asia, agrees it is important to hold incentive meetings away from the office, and equally vital to research what actually motivates individuals.

“It’s best to start with a comprehensive needs analysis, as motivation is subjective and what works for Mr X may not work for Ms Y,” he says. “So to take all the unknown factors out by putting the needs and expectations enquiry in to your programme planning.”

David Litteken, vice-president, Asia Pacific region, BI Worldwide, says that although most people think destination and hotels play key roles in successful incentive meetings, communication is a vital element.

“It is important to communicate with those eligible to earn throughout the entirety of the incentive programme period,” he says. “Excite them about the destination. Communicate how they are performing. Keep them engaged throughout.”

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