True or False? The integration of meeting elements into group incentive travel experiences is a new trend.
False. The inclusion of formal meeting elements into group incentive travel programmes has been a mainstay since their inception.
According to a SITE International Foundation 2010 survey , the trend of including business meetings in incentive-travel programmes will continue to grow over the next three years.
So why add meeting elements to an incentive-travel programme?
• Recognition – Calling out and recognizing an individual, in a formal meeting setting, with their peers, leadership team and guest(s), represents the gratifying highlight of the motivational experience for incentive-travel earners.
• Communicating Future Business Direction – With top performers all in one place at the same time, this affords a great opportunity to provide a preview into future business direction to inform, excite and motivate earners.
• Networking Opportunities – Formal meeting time, where programme earners can network and interact with managers, leaders and other top performers, to share and discuss best practices or market trends, helps prepare for and align individual performance with future business objectives.
• Tax Laws – Participants on an incentive-travel programme may be issued tax forms (1099, in the case of U.S. planners, or Canada Revenue Agency T4a, in the case of Canadian planners) or have the fair market value reported as income. Adding business meetings can reduce or eliminate this tax burden on your participants.
• Helping to Avoid Reputational Risk – Some organizations are concerned about the public perception of an incentive programme and want to minimize any potential risk that can damage their business’s brand, by including more business-meeting related content.
While this trend is anticipated to increase, it’s also met with growing concern from incentive-travel stakeholders.
The potential impact on the participants’ viewpoint, of what creates the type of experience that will inspire people to achieve the aggressive goals established for the programme, is a legitimate cause for concern.
A careful and thoughtful approach is required to strike the right balance and avoid diluting the motivational value participants perceive in the incentive-travel programme’s design.
In the end, presenting a programme that hits the mark with the ‘wow’ factor is key in getting the attention of, and active engagement from, your participants.