Two women smiling in front of table
30 August 2023

Top 5 tips for creating incentive trips that truly motivate

In today's competitive business landscape, companies are constantly looking for effective ways to motivate and reward their employees. One powerful tool that has proven to be highly effective is incentive travel. Offering employees the opportunity to embark on an exciting trip as a reward for their hard work and achievements can drive motivation, loyalty, and productivity. However, to ensure maximum impact, it's essential to plan and execute these trips carefully.  

In this blog, we will explore the importance of incentive travel and provide you with five invaluable tips to create incentive trips that truly motivate your employees. 


The power of incentive travel 

Incentive travel programs have gained immense popularity in recent years due to their ability to foster employee engagement, enhance team collaboration, and drive performance. The motivational appeal of group incentive travel continues to be exceptionally strong, as evidenced by the latest research conducted by the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF), "Attendee Preferences for Incentive Travel." According to this research, 91% of respondents described a group incentive travel experience as 'very' or 'extremely' motivating. This finding remains consistent with the results from the previous two years, highlighting the enduring power of incentive travel as a means of motivating employees. 

What is particularly encouraging is that the research revealed that the positive response towards group travel awards also extends to younger generations. Among Gen Z individuals (21-26 years of age) and Millennials (27-42 years), an impressive 64% found group travel awards to be 'extremely motivating.' 

These findings from IRF's research further underscore the significance of incentive travel as a potent tool for driving employee motivation and performance. In today's multigenerational workforce, organizations must recognize their employees' evolving preferences and expectations, especially regarding rewards and recognition. Incentive travel not only meets these expectations but also surpasses them, providing an experiential reward that resonates deeply with employees and leaves a lasting impact. 

In the following sections, we will delve into five valuable tips for creating incentive trips that harness the full potential of employee motivation and truly inspire your workforce. 


Top 5 tips 

  1. Understand Your Employees' Preferences 

  1. Focus on flexibility and time to relax 

  1. Offer unique experiences 

  1. Foster team building 

  1. Create a memorable awards ceremony 

people smiling-the power of incentives

1. Understand Your Employees' Preferences 

Before planning an incentive trip, take the time to understand your employees' diverse preferences and interests. Conduct surveys or interviews to gauge their travel aspirations, preferred destinations, and desired activities.  
This information will help you tailor the trip to meet their individual and collective expectations, ensuring a higher level of engagement and motivation. 

According to the IRF research, beach and sunshine destinations remain the top choice among employees. The allure of relaxing on beautiful beaches and basking in the warmth of the sun remains a perennial favorite for incentive travelers.  

An intriguing finding from the research is the increasing interest in cruise experiences. In just two years, cruise experiences have risen in popularity and now rank third overall as the preferred type of destination experience. This shift in attitudes toward cruising highlights the evolving preferences of employees and the need to consider this option when planning incentive trips.  

The research also highlights that the type of destination experience holds more significance than the geographic location itself. While large metropolitan areas and smaller cities were rated lower in destination experience rankings, it implies that the specific type of experience offered, such as beach and sunshine or adventure travel, is more important to employees than the location. By understanding this distinction, you can focus on curating destination experiences that align with the preferences and desires of your employees, ensuring their motivation and enthusiasm throughout the trip. 


2. Focus on flexibility and time to relax 

When designing incentive trips that genuinely motivate employees, it is crucial to prioritize flexibility and provide ample time for relaxation.  
One of the most important aspects participants desire in an incentive trip is the opportunity to unwind and rejuvenate. Attendees do not want to feel overwhelmed with a tightly packed schedule of group activities. 

Recognizing the significance of downtime and relaxation during an incentive trip is essential for fostering a positive experience and ensuring participants return refreshed and energized. While offering engaging and memorable activities is crucial, it is equally important to strike a balance that allows employees to enjoy leisure time and personal exploration. 

By providing flexibility in the itinerary, participants can personalize their experience and make the most of their leisure time. Offer a range of optional activities or free periods where employees can choose to relax, explore the destination at their own pace, or engage in activities that align with their individual preferences.  

Furthermore, avoiding an overscheduled itinerary helps prevent burnout and ensures participants can decompress and enjoy the surroundings. This time for relaxation not only enhances the overall enjoyment of the trip but also promotes mental well-being, allowing employees to return to work with renewed focus and productivity. 

To incorporate flexibility and relaxation into your incentive trip, consider factors such as extended breaks between activities, dedicated free time for participants to relax by the pool or explore the destination independently, and the option to opt out of certain activities if desired. Communicate these options clearly to participants beforehand, so they are aware of the flexibility available to them and can plan accordingly. 

Remember, a well-balanced incentive trip that allows for relaxation and personal time contributes to a positive and memorable experience for employees. 

river view

3. Offer unique experiences 

To make your incentive trip stand out, focus on providing unique and exclusive experiences. By offering authentic experiences, you can captivate participants' interest and create a sense of anticipation and excitement. This goes beyond traditional sightseeing tours or generic activities and delves into immersive and personalized encounters that leave a lasting impression. 

Consider collaborating with local experts, such as a destination management company like TERRAEVENTS, to curate extraordinary experiences that showcase the destination's authentic culture, traditions, and natural beauty. This could include activities such as participating in a cooking class led by a renowned local chef, embarking on a sailing trip aboard a private yacht, or taking part in a traditional art or craft workshop. 
Incorporating exclusive access or behind-the-scenes opportunities adds an element of exclusivity to the trip, making participants feel privileged and unique.   


4. Foster team building 

Incentive trips provide an excellent opportunity to foster team building and strengthen employee relationships. While the focus is on rewarding individual achievements, it is equally important to cultivate a sense of camaraderie and collaboration among the participants.  
Therefore, by incorporating team building activities into the itinerary, you can enhance the overall experience and create a cohesive and motivated workforce. 

Team building activities serve as catalysts for improved communication, cooperation, and trust among team members. They provide a platform for employees to connect personally, build meaningful relationships, and develop a sense of shared purpose. These activities break down barriers, encourage collaboration, and foster a positive and inclusive work environment. 

When planning team building activities, consider a range of options catering to different group preferences and personalities. Outdoor challenges like ropes courses, team sports, or problem-solving exercises promote teamwork, encourage creative thinking, and develop leadership skills.   

Interactive workshops or training sessions centered around skills development can also contribute to team building. Activities such as personality assessments, conflict resolution exercises, or leadership workshops provide valuable insights and equip employees with tools to navigate challenges and collaborate effectively in the workplace. 

In addition to structured team building activities, allocate time for informal social interactions. Encourage networking opportunities, such as group meals or casual gatherings, where employees can engage in conversations, share experiences, and forge connections beyond their primary work responsibilities. These informal interactions foster a sense of belonging, facilitate cross-departmental relationships, and promote a supportive and collaborative work culture. 

cooking class  

5. Create a memorable awards ceremony 

One of the highlights of any incentive trip is the awards ceremony, where employees are recognized and celebrated for their achievements.  
Make this event truly memorable by personalizing it to the individuals or teams being honored. Incorporate heartfelt speeches, videos showcasing their accomplishments, and thoughtful gifts or souvenirs.  
The event serves as a powerful reminder of the employee’s value and contributions, reinforcing a positive and rewarding work culture.  
When employees feel appreciated and celebrated, their motivation and dedication are strengthened, resulting in improved performance and a more engaged workforce. 




In conclusion, creating incentive trips that truly motivate requires careful planning, attention to detail, and a focus on delivering exceptional experiences. By understanding your employees' preferences, fostering team building, providing flexibility and relaxation, and creating a memorable awards ceremony, you can cultivate a work culture that inspires and engages your team. 

So, if you are ready to embark on a transformative journey, look no further than TERRAEVENTS. With our expertise in event planning and destination management, we specialize in curating unforgettable incentive trips in Italy, Spain, Portugal, and France. Whether you envision exploring the historical wonders of Rome or Paris, indulging in the vibrant flavors of Barcelona, or immersing in the natural beauty of the Algarve, our team is dedicated to creating tailor-made experiences that surpass expectations. 

Contact TERRAEVENTS today to bring your vision to life! 

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