It’s our business to create experiences to remember, and this is particularly true of incentive trips. As we continue to professionalise our industry, we look at the importance of incentive trips, how these can be combined with business trips and how to use both to provide the ultimate experience that has return for all involved.
The idea behind an incentive trip is simple – an attractive reward that companies use to encourage employees to help boost sales performance, drive targets or reward employees for exceptional performance or service. But this is more than just about rewarding good staff behaviour. You can create long-lasting and functional experiences that can help a business achieve their business goals, create a memorable experience, help cement company loyalty and be of benefit to both company and the employee.
With the professionalisation of our industry, it’s important that incentive specialists and conference organisers ask the client that all-important question: What is your objective? The return on investment relies on us. We need to ensure that these expectations are not just met but ideally exceeded.
This is a specialty field and is more involved than simply booking a holiday to an exotic destination. Analytics, performance models and big data help underpin the model. Business’ want to know how to create better performance and return on their human capital investment. It’s also important to know that incentive trips are not just for sales, but a way to celebrate a job well done while encouraging better performance in all facets of a business. Incentive trips and incentive conferencing can help change this mindset.
Combining business & pleasure
As professionals in the industry, why not recommend to your clients that they think out of the box, such as combining the incentive with an overseas congress or conference and adding a few days for sight-seeing or relaxing and recharging? Not only does the employee feel valued, but the knowledge and skills they return with is beneficial to the country, continent and company. This is an investment in the employee and the business and not just a ‘free trip’.
The focus should also be on creating our own sustainability. Most corporates look internationally when it comes to incentive trips. It’s our duty to encourage them to look at South Africa and Africa as a whole. How many of us in corporate, or even leisure, travel really experience our own country? We look to foreign investment to better our country, but at our first opportunity, we choose to send our money overseas. Why not look at sending 30 employees on a beautiful local experience, rather than 10 to an international experience? We have top rated facilities. In fact, if you have to compare, a four-star hotel experience in the USA it is often the equivalent to a three-star experience here, as our standards are so high.
Plus, this makes for easier risk management, travel insurance and communication barriers. We have world-class facilities in Africa, and we should boast about them. It’s time we support our own economy. Yes, there is a case for international incentives, but there is massive scope for local incentive travel. As an industry, we should remember that business travel and incentive trips are often a precursor for leisure travel. Let’s create a more dynamic economy and support our own people and businesses. After all, charity starts at home.