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Using travel to incentivise your team

Using travel to incentivise your team

By Natalie Gunson, Director of Archer Young


Clients constantly ask us: 'What will motivate my team?'

As experts in the incentive travel and events industry we usually suggest programmes that offer, as a reward, travel to an exotic destination or unusual activities - something different that will inspire the client's staff or customers.

But so often when we propose somewhere new or original, the client initially responds positively yet ultimately chooses a 'tried and tested' option, previously used by themselves or a competitor.

Why? Because they believe that the majority of their audience will like a place such as Dubai, Cape Town, Las Vegas, New York, Monaco or Barbados and they want to be sure, not take a risk.

But, sticking to the tried and tested is itself a risk.  If it's a popular destination and activity that has been done before, will people be as motivated to work towards going?

There are plenty of examples in the marketing industry that show that if a marketing activity is repeated (despite how well it may have worked in the first instance), it won't always achieve the same level of success second time around.

Lastly, places where people might go on their own anyway may not excite them unless the experience is well beyond what they would arrange for themselves: - first class and five star rather than standard grade.

The essence of incentive travel is to offer a positively memorable experience.

This is how audiences can be motivated. Incentive travel and motivation is about inspiring audiences to perform so the incentive must be exclusive and not readily available.

For instance, how about dog sled racing in Greenland, or spectacular Jordan with an exclusive guided tour of the ruins of Petra; or a visit to Peru's Machu Picchu with a private train ride down to Cusco.

Perhaps the serenity of Namibia's Okavango Delta on elephant back, or having your own float at Rio's carnival?

These destinations are all 'tried and tested' by incentive travellers and millions of consumers worldwide, yet British organisers seem reluctant to try them. Too many companies are still wary of being first in their market sector to venture to such places.

Communications are the key to turning original destinations and venues into successful incentives.

Innovative reminders, exciting photography, teasers about helicopter rides into deep canyons or the promise of ancient body pampering treatments all add to the excitement and build anticipation.

Incentive travel programme organisers who are bolder with their choice will not only avoid the danger of the over-familiarity with well tried places, they'll also find that there are some wonderfully inspiring different destinations that work well for their business.

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