Incentive travel works. Fact.

It’s why “organizations that provide non-cash rewards such as incentive travel have three times higher revenue increases than those that don't” (Meetings & Conventions). There is something very powerful about setting up an incentive travel programme, and seeing how hard people work for it. People want to be rewarded and acknowledged for their work, and incentive travel is one of the best ways to do so. But because people have worked so diligently for these trips, the expectations are high. If you are baking a cake and have the wrong, or bad quality, ingredients, that cake is going to flop — the same applies to incentive travel programmes. Without all the right ‘ingredients’ your incentive travel programme is bound to flop. Here are some common incentive travel letdowns for incentive participants to be aware of, so that your next incentive travel is not a counter-productive catastrophe.

Disorganised programmes

A top letdown when it comes to travel incentive programmes is that they are not always planned properly and come travel time, there is complete confusion. Often a game of Chinese whispers ensues, and because no one knows what is happening, scheduled activities and meetings do not run on time, putting the entire schedule out. Make sure that you plan your incentives well ahead of time and communicate all relevant information to every single incentive participant. The good news is that communicating the same information, even to big groups of people, is easy with the technology available to us in this day and age.

Terrible destinations

According to this article and the Incentive Research Foundation, “per-person incentive travel budgets now average of $3,440 (£2,433).” Of course, this is client dependant, but for the most part, if this is the average, there should be no excuse for picking ordinary destinations. The destination plays a fundamental role in the success of an incentive, which means that you as a MICE planner can’t afford not to choose a sensational one. Choose an exciting, culturally rich, exotic destination, where the country itself will help to create a memorable travel incentive.

Lack of employee insight

Many MICE planners are so focused on getting everything organised that they don’t actually stop to think what the employees would actually want. Take some time before the trip to create surveys exploring what it is exactly that employees would want out of their incentive travel programmes. Consider the different ages, lifestyles and genders you are dealing with in a workplace. You may think that you know what people want, but you could be very wrong — stick to hard data instead of assumptions.

Poor catering

Catering may seem like a small detail when planning a whole travel incentive programme, but in actual fact, it’s one of the things that people remember the most. Look at the budget carefully and ensure that the important things are well covered. Incentive participants are looking forward to being wined and dined, and substandard food just won’t do.

Stock standard activities

Pleasing every single incentive travel participant in a multigenerational group of employees is virtually impossible. But, generally speaking, the Millennials look for unique, exciting and culturally immersive experiences, like a cooking class with a Michelin-starred chef, where Gen Xers may prefer a quiet evening with the group savouring a fine dining meal. A top letdown for participants is not being able to choose activities that best suit them. Give participants the option of an add-on activity for as many activities you can, so for those who want to take it a step further, they can.

No leisure timeNobody likes being in a gorgeous and exotic location but not being able to explore it themselves, because their travel incentive schedule is jam packed and they are forced to spend time with their colleagues 24/7. Make sure you factor in some leisure time for incentive participants where they are able to enjoy the glorious location by themselves or even indulge in some R&R making the most of the incredible accommodation you have chosen for them. While planned and paid for activities are great, there needs to be ample time for them to just relax.

Outdated programmes

Incentive travel participants expect an exciting, culturally-immersive and on-trend experience for their hard earned incentive travel programme. Make sure that you do ample research on the current trends, and establish unique ways of incorporating them into your programme.

Average accommodationRun down, old or dirty accommodation should be avoided at all costs. If incentive travel participants feel uncomfortable in their accommodation, it will taint the entire experience for them. An incentive travel programme is designed to be a reward, so make sure the accommodation for incentive participants is world-class.

One of the surefire ways to avoid your incentive participants feeling let down is to ensure that you partner up with a provider that is trustworthy, reliable and willing to go the extra mile for you and your clientele. For exceptional providers in Calpe, Spain, with ample MICE experience, contact AR Hotels. We will help you to create a travel incentive programme at one of our gorgeous hotels in Costa Blanca that participants will remember fondly for years to come.