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The demands and tastes of corporate staff are changing, which is leading the evolution of the new incentive travel programmes. This means that sending your team on the same gorilla trekking trip in Rwanda that you did five years ago simply won’t work today. We’ve rounded up the best advice for planning an incentive trip that keeps up with ever-changing trends.
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Select and know your target group
The first step when planning an incentive travel programme is to select your target group. This could be management, employees, salespeople, a mix of departments or even your clients. From there, you’ll be able to plan a programme that’s of value to the individuals participating. If you think there’s no need to personalise anything because everyone loves relaxation and good fun, think again! While the main goal of the incentive trip may be to make a good impression, it should also add value. For example, if your target group are teams that don’t spend a lot of time together in the office, choose a format that supports connection building. If it’s customers, try fit some brand seminars into their itinerary.
Set reasonable targets – and track performance
Next, you need to establish reasonable tasks for your target group. Consider past performance and employee behaviour to identify reasonable tasks – this will boost motivation and morale. It’s also very important that you have a performance tracking system in place to measure the results of your incentive travel programme. A performance tracking system is a useful tool for your target group too, as they’ll regularly be able to check in on how they’re progressing towards their tasks and goals.
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Start planning early … very early!
Planning an incentive trip isn’t as easy as it looks … it’s totally different to the process of managing local corporate events. Our top tip is to add six months to your regular event organisation timeline to get through it successfully. If it takes you 12 months to set up a local in-house exhibition, start planning an incentive trip 18 months before the event. When choosing a destination, survey your employees by simply asking them what their dream holiday destination is. Then narrow down the choices to ones that match your budget and where you can find the resources you need. You want to go for a ‘never been done before’ experience – especially if your corporation has many years of incentive history.
Compile an incentive travel checklist
It doesn’t matter if your list of tasks is your own handwritten notes or a pre-built online template – building an incentive travel checklist is crucial! It will keep things organised and act as your personalised accounting book where you can calculate expenses and record applicable taxes. All the expenses related to the incentive trip should be reasonable and effectively risk-free – the expected ROI should match the initial budget. Keep in mind during the planning process that travel can be taxable to recipients under certain conditions, and special tax forms may be required.
Plan post-event activities
Lastly, ensure that the incentive trip doesn’t end there. Survey your attendees, set up a photo-sharing competition or organise a post-event seminar to follow up on the trip. These activities don’t have to relate only to those who were on the trip – let your attendees share their long-lasting memories and impressions at public events too. Remember: Memories that last forever are built through repetitions and recaps!
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A simple way to optimise your budget is to choose an incentive trip destination with favourable tax implications.
Candice, the Editor of Hello Joburg Magazine, is a coffee-drinking, fashion-obsessed lover of anything and everything lifestyle related. She’s also a self-confessed foodie, champagne enthusiast and devoted bargain hunter.