You’ve seen the headlines, heard the news stories, and listened to the podcasts. Incentive travel is on the rise. Without question, events over the last few years have changed a lot of employee attitudes toward both work and rewards.
In today’s labor market, it’s especially critical to achieving business goals that you hire the best talent and find ways to keep them happy so they’ll stick around. Turnover is expensive – not just the cost of finding and training replacements but also the hidden costs of having workers who don’t want to be there. At a minimum, the latter are not doing their best work, and they certainly aren’t being good brand ambassadors.
Many changes in worker attitudes have trended toward the negative. But when it comes to incentive travel, employees are more positive than ever. In fact, according to a 2023 survey by the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF), 80% of employees who have won an incentive reward place great value on incentive travel. And nearly all employees (99%), whether or not they’ve ever won a reward, perceive at least some value in travel rewards.
Travel incentives have been used as an employee motivation tool for decades, but they’ve become steadily more popular as employers realize raises and bonuses no longer have the same impact they once did.
Today’s employees are much more motivated by perks and rewards that are meaningful and personalized. It’s become accepted that employees generally feel even more appreciated and trusted when rewarded with travel incentives.
“Trophy value” is the ultimate impact of an award or incentive over time. Whether your travel incentives are group or individual, the reason travel incentives are so effective is that they provide high trophy value.
When asked what performance rewards give employees the highest job satisfaction and motivate them to do their best work, cash bonuses don’t even rank in the top five. The reward types they choose as the most satisfying and motivational are company-paid experiential awards – travel, event tickets, outings for their family, extra PTO, and similar incentives.
Individual Incentive Travel
The primary reason individual incentive travel is preferred by so many is that the experience offers more flexibility and privacy – although, with the effort and know-how of an experienced incentive partner like Xceleration, those characteristics can be integrated into a group experience, too.
In fact, 94% of employees are highly motivated by individual travel incentives. This includes all generations from Baby Boomers through Gen Z. People still appreciate a group travel reward, but it’s not as universally popular.
Important and Appealing Features
High-achieving employees tend to know what they like. When asked what they considered the most important features of an incentive trip, employees in the IRF survey most often chose the following:
- Able to bring a guest or companion along
- All expenses are covered (either all-inclusive trip or with a cash stipend included)
- Highly appealing destination, with great activities planned
- Luxury 5-star accommodations and experiences
When asked what potential features of an incentive award trip they would find most appealing, nearly three-fourths (72%) of respondents cited having ample time to relax and disconnect. Fifty percent or more also listed at least one of the following, in order of preference:
- Enjoying a unique lodging experience:
- Large, all-inclusive 5-star resort
- Smaller, 5-star boutique hotel
- Private vacation residence
- Unique dining and culinary activities
- Cultural activities
- Destination requires airline flight to reach
- Spa and wellness activities
- Outdoor activities
- Destination in the mountains or other remote area
- ‘Thrill’ activities
- Retail shopping
The Right Partner Makes All the Difference
Few incentive rewards resonate like travel, whether individual or group. But perhaps you’re concerned about what’s involved in planning and executing a beneficial travel incentive program for your organization, or you’ve had an experience in the past that didn’t meet your expectations.
You can pack away those worries when you rely on Xceleration. We create customized packages for individual incentive travel that let your high achievers go where they want with the people they like most. We also arrange group incentive travel and unique corporate work events in memorable locations for companies like yours.
Contact us today for more information!