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Why Your Participants Should Design Your Next Incentive Travel Programme

Instinct, past experience, managerial judgment, beliefs and budgets are simply not enough to drive participant engagement and business performance effectively. Planners need the participants’ insights.


October 3, 2011

True or False? Asking participants to help design an incentive-travel programme will only drive up costs and make it more difficult to appease all their wishes.

False. Instinct, past experience, managerial judgment, beliefs and budgets are simply not enough to drive participant engagement and business performance effectively. Planners need the participants’ insights.

Times, and probably the people involved in your incentive-travel programme, have significantly changed.

Incentive-travel strategies aimed to motivate the behaviour of programme participants effectively must change, too. Generational, ethnic, family structure, and social and economic forces affecting your participant base are having a profound effect on what people want from your incentive-travel programme.

Considering this, incentive-travel participants need to be viewed as, and treated more like, stakeholders. In our opinion, they are the key stakeholder group.

Why? Your success hinges on whether these individuals commit to achieving your goals and targets. Given the importance of personal commitment, it just makes sense for your employees and channel partners to have a voice regarding programme design.

At the end of the day, these individuals will weigh the experience against the required level of investment of both their, and their families’, time and effort.

Thirteen years ago, authors James Gilmore and Joseph Pine first coined the words ‘Experience Economy’ in a Harvard Business Review article, Welcome to the Experience Economy.

Paraphrasing a bit for the purposes of our industry, people seek unique and personally meaningful experiences. Travel programmes represent some of the best opportunities to create these very meaningful and highly motivating experiences.

Getting the most from your incentive programme requires a more complete understanding of the motivations of these individuals.

This understanding translates into better programme design and a better experience.

Organizations that view incentive-travel programmes as part of a broader strategy of creating ‘places of engagement’ for their people can achieve great results.

It all starts with placing a seat at the stakeholder table for the participant to help better inform incentive-travel design decisions.

After all, it’s the people who create the business results. It makes practical business sense to include them in the conversation.



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