he benefits of incentive trips are undeniable. Not only do they encourage employees to go above and beyond, but they also show the company’s appreciation for a job well done. Incentive trips bolster employee satisfaction and retention while improving team chemistry and attracting top talent. Countless companies now offer these customizable trips as a reward for their top-performing employees.
But we won’t sugarcoat it; planning the perfect incentive trip can be overwhelming. As if managing logistics in an unfamiliar city wasn’t already stressful enough, adding a group of people with differing tastes and comfort levels makes the process feel nearly impossible. Luckily, DCi’s team of experts have years of experience – and know a thing or two about planning an inventive trip that your hardworking employees won’t soon forget. From handling accommodations to orchestrating a fun-filled itinerary, here are our tried-and-true tips for pulling off a successful incentive trip.
Customization is one of the most challenging but crucial aspects of any successful incentive trip. Since this type of travel is intended to reward individual efforts, it must also feel highly personal. Here at DCi, we know as well as anyone that each employee is unique – one person’s perfect getaway could be another’s worst nightmare.
Customizing these experiences to your group’s preferences takes a lot of strategy and logistical planning, leaving plenty of room for potential hiccups. To ensure the excursions run smoothly, you have to learn the ins and outs of every activity, which requires a hands-on approach. At any given moment, you must know where your guests are traveling, how they are getting there, what they will be doing, and if they are enjoying themselves. The last thing you want is for your honorees to be stranded without transportation or wishing they could be somewhere else.
The DCi team custom-tailors events to create the memorable experiences that your employees deserve. Using our destination expertise, we select off-the-beaten-path locations and activities that the average traveler might not otherwise be able to find. For example, when a group of 45 incentive winners visited Los Angeles to attend the Grammys, DCi organized the transportation, a trip to Magic Castle, and several local, off-site dinners – ensuring that attendees were able to experience a coveted slice of Los Angeles life.
Pulling off a top-tier incentive trip requires extensive planning. Without a deep familiarity of the area, your trip could fall flat. A simple internet search for venues and activities may leave the trip feeling dull and unoriginal – and your employees deserve better than that.
Here at DCi, we like to approach each city with a personal touch, as if your guests are visiting a friend in their city for the first time. Rather than introducing your guests to the attractions and restaurants that anyone could find on their own, we like to dig a little deeper for a more personalized and exclusive feel. A deep knowledge of the city will allow your guests to experience the best attractions, cultural experiences, and under-the-radar dining options that they won’t soon forget.
For example, we used our extensive knowledge of San Diego to organize an incentive trip for 25 members of a healthcare company. We offered welcome amenities, corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities, a Gaslamp Quarter experience, dinner prepared by a local chef, and a catamaran ride.
Not only is it crucial to understand the itinerary, but you must also have an awareness of further enhancements and customizations that are available. From dietary restrictions to bucket-list items, we brainstorm different ways to customize our trips and create unforgettable memories for your guests. You don’t want the main memory your guests take away to be the difficulty of finding quality dining options – instead, you want them raving about the five-star meals they enjoyed
Giving the attendees something special to take with them after the trip is a great reminder of the amazing time they had even long after the event has ended. Here at DCi, we believe the best rule of thumb is to give gifts in memorable ways. This could be anything from gifting items signed by the celebrity chef your guests met at dinner to bringing your employees to a pop-up market where they can shop for their own gifts. By mixing gifts with the highlights of the trip, your employees will have a permanent reminder of their company accomplishments and memories.
The key to the perfect gift is originality and personalization – thoughtful, unique keepsakes that can’t be found in just any gift shop. Since our trips center around the local culture of a city, a fitting gift might be handmade trinkets from local artisans such as jewelry, pottery, or food items. For a warm weather getaway, opt to give a personalized beach bag filled to the brim with products your employees can use throughout the trip and then bring home for future beach days.
Honoring Your Attendees
When planning an incentive trip, remember that this is not an everyday experience for your employees. They have worked hard to make it here, so they deserve to be treated like the VIPs that they are and feel personally recognized throughout their trip.
If they are at a tasting, for example, ask the chef or owner to come out and congratulate them. For a simple yet effective touch, make sure to set up personalized signs welcoming the group to the area or event space.
Another key way to celebrate your attendees? Taking lots of photos – maybe even with a professional photographer – to commemorate their visit and show that their presence on the trip is important. These photos can also become useful marketing tools to incentivize more trips in the future.
Location and Convenience
The location is likely the most important element to consider when planning a successful incentive trip. It is best to choose a destination that your honorees have never seen before, but have always dreamt of visiting. This way, your employees feel like they are truly on vacation.
While your hardworking employees deserve a dream vacation, don’t forget to factor in convenience. For starters, you’ll want to research flights from each of your employees’ cities to ensure simple, stress-free travel days. Additionally, you should have an awareness of your employee’s schedules to guarantee that the trip dates will not conflict with other commitments they may have. For example, you wouldn’t want to plan a tax accountant incentive trip during tax season.
While it’s easy to get wrapped up in all the planning that an incentive trip entails, it’s most important to remember that at the root of it all are your employees. Consider when and where they might like to travel, what attractions they might like to see, and who they might want to meet. From there, our team at DCi can fill in the blanks. Through our advanced, local-level knowledge of any given city, we can help you create personalized and original trips that provide your employees the appreciation and relaxation they truly deserve.
Interested in working with DCi on your next incentive trip? Reach out!