How the Landscape of Incentive Travel is Changing 

Companies that offer travel incentive programs are now more focused on workplace happiness
BizAge News Team

Incentive travel is back on the rise and now encompasses a crucial part of a company's business operations and strategies. It refers to any trip a company pays for as a reward for the best-performing employees. Often used to motivate employees, incentive travels can include activities like team-building exercises, networking opportunities, and sightseeing to explore the destination. 

The company typically funds most expenses in an incentive travel, and employees may be allowed to bring some family members along. Historically, incentive travel has shown impressive results in improving employee performance, sales productivity, and retention. Therefore, it's an investment worth considering.

Below, let's look at how the landscape of incentive travel is changing to help you make better choices for your company's incentive travel programs.

1. Focusing on Sustainability

With many questioning the impact of travel on our environment, it just makes sense for incentive travel to focus on sustainability. Companies implementing incentive travel are now looking for ways to minimise their environmental impact. As the world is feeling the effects of global climate change, many people recognise the importance of making sustainable choices.

More than 80% of world travellers would prefer to travel sustainably. Therefore, incentive travel planners should incorporate environmentally responsible practices when planning incentive trips. Aside from reducing waste, they should choose activities that support local communities and opt for eco-friendly transportation and accommodation options. Survey shows that most travellers prefer to stay in eco-friendly accommodations, with over 50% considering visiting less-popular destinations to minimise environmental impact. 

If you are responsible for planning the incentive travel in your company, be sure to research sustainable destinations. When incorporating activities, choose those that will not contribute to over-tourism. Work with travel companies known to embrace sustainable practices. Sustainability in incentive travel can also mean supporting and respecting local communities through tourism activities.

2. Focusing on Wellness

Wellness tourism is becoming a trend in the incentive travel industry. It aims to promote the well-being of travellers by incorporating wellness activities into the trip. A trend report from Expedia highlighted that travel experiences focused on wellness are popular among younger travellers. 

The rise of wellness tourism has something to do with people becoming more conscious of their emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being, and wanting to pursue this through travel. Thus, companies that want to make their employees feel cared for should consider incorporating wellness activities in their travel incentive programs.

Those planning wellness-focused incentive trips should incorporate wellness activities into the incentive trips, such as self-care, mindfulness, fitness, etc. You do not necessarily need to splurge on luxurious spa retreats. Instead, give them options and access to various well-being experiences that resonate most with them. Ensure you can meet their wellness needs and make them feel that you value their overall health and happiness.

Some ideas for a wellness incentive trip include a yoga class in some exotic destinations, hiking or cycling in nature, swimming in a geothermal pool, massages, beauty treatments, spas, and more.

3. Focusing on Authenticity 

Authenticity is a current driving factor for incentive travel programs since employees are no longer interested in trips with empty value or those they cannot connect with. 

A survey shows that almost 50% of travellers are concerned they are not getting authentic experiences on their trips. The survey further shows that most travellers prefer to experience a destination from a local perspective. Such a desire for authenticity is also present in incentive travel, which means companies must consider what they provide their employees.

Incentive trips that embrace authenticity can include opportunities to connect with the local community, acquire meaningful experiences, and take up activities that align with the traveller's values. 

Instead of the usual travel destinations, luxury resorts, chain hotels, and touristic attractions and activities, companies should consider locations that are more off the beaten path and choose experiences showing the "authentic" side of a place, with opportunities to connect with the community, immerse in the local culture, and support locally owned businesses. 

Instead of sending employees to Instagrammable locations and providing all-inclusive opportunities, companies should focus on trips that facilitate genuine connection, leaving employees with rewarding experiences.

4. Focusing on Development

One of the latest trends in incentive trips is to develop activities that foster employee development. It could mean incorporating activities aimed at helping the employee to improve their skills and make them more productive at work. 

Investing in employee development can benefit both the organisation and the employees. Professional development through travel incentives is one of the best ways companies can retain top talents, and that's especially crucial for industries with a competitive job market.

Aside from retaining the top talents, employee development can also help companies to attract the best talents. Before applying for a job, employees want to know if they can grow in your organisation. By providing opportunities to develop through incentive trips, the top candidates will be more than willing to choose your company over others. 

Another way companies can benefit from employee development is by making employees more engaged. Engaged employees will be more enthusiastic to take up their work responsibilities and feel more connected to your organisation, which leads to improved productivity.

5. Focusing on Workplace Happiness

Companies that offer travel incentive programs are now more focused on workplace happiness. Happier employees are more engaged. As mentioned, engaged employees are more enthusiastic, leading to increased productivity.

Focusing on workplace happiness fosters a healthy work culture, which improves the employees' overall well-being and ultimately benefits your bottom line. A healthy workplace expands employee resources and skills through enhanced work relationships, improving the employees' problem-solving abilities.

High stress often leads to emotional problems, leading to higher employee absenteeism. By focusing on workplace happiness through incentive trips, your employees will be more excited to show up for work, which prevents your work culture from declining.

Maintaining a positive work culture will make employees more likely to stay in your company. Since they enjoy working and the perks that come with it, such as incentive trips, they will be less likely to consider other career options.

Written by
BizAge News Team
From our newsroom
December 1, 2023
Written by
December 1, 2023