Dream destinations are what make incentive travel exciting and enticing. Finding the right destination is not an easy task.
New and exciting destinations make for powerful staff incentives. Traveling with colleagues, and sometimes family, to destinations off the beaten path can be a truly memorable and connecting experience. For planners, this is not always an easy choice, and it is definitely one that must be carefully considered.
The premise of incentive travel is that exclusive travel to dream destinations incentivizes staff to perform more than cash bonuses. “Obscure, interesting, intriguing, confusing and delightful; all of those unknowns are how we get behavior to change because it’s so exciting,” said Ashley Lawson, vice president and co-owner of Achieve Incentives & Meetings.
There is unquestionable value in making participants feel special, and destinations play an important role in doing that, but dream destinations can bring many challenges as well.
The Value of Going Off the Beaten Path
Going off the beaten path allows for discovering and creating unique experiences for attendees. Instead of the usual conference centers or hotel ballrooms, you can explore unconventional venues and destinations that showcase the local culture, landscapes, and attractions.
The novelty factor is not to be underestimated, particularly when part of the program involves unique experiences that are not available to the public. Taking participants to places they would not go on their own is part of what defines incentive travel for Rajeev Kohli, joint managing director of Creative Travel India. However, he also alerts us to the fact that truly undiscovered destinations are magical but have limited capacity. This is an important consideration when it comes to group sizes.
Stepping away from the traditional settings can help create a sense of adventure and excitement among participants. Exploring new places and engaging in unconventional activities can spark creativity, boost team morale, and foster stronger relationships among attendees. Choosing offbeat destinations and experiences can help organizations retain staff and stand out from competitors.
Selecting the Right Destination
It’s not always easy to find a destination that pleases everyone. A secluded tropical paradise may appeal to some, while others may prefer a hidden cultural gem. But the potential appeal to the participants is only one part of the equation.
Planners are unlikely to have an unlimited budget, so finding a location that balances cost and value is important. Remember that for long-haul destinations, the extra flight costs may be offset by the prices of services and products at the destination, including lower hotel rates.
Accessibility, safety, and security are other crucial factors to consider. The destination should be easily accessible for all participants. Choosing a destination with a good safety record goes a long way to ensure the safety and security of all.
Working with Professionals Is a Non-Negotiable
Incentive travel professionals have the knowledge and experience to handle the intricacies and complexities of working in remote and culturally different destinations. They are also experts and managing expectations and working out the best solutions for the desired outcomes. “Part of the challenge and excitement of planning in these off-the-beaten-path [destinations] is having to think differently and having to let go of the cookie cutter box that we put ourselves into for so long,” said Lawson.
Working with companies with extensive networks and relationships is even more important when going off the beaten path. While they come at a premium visa requirements, insurance, and destination-specific information are just some basic areas where they can help. Having a team of experts who can deal with unexpected issues and ensure a stress-free experience is priceless.
Lawson and Kohli will discuss the power of dream destinations as well as reveal their top destination choices in a session titled “Unexplored Dream Destinations” at the Skift Meetings Destination Experience Summit on August 16 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Register now to be part of the discussion.
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