• THE DMC COLLECTIVE

Delivering a Personalised Incentive Travel Programme – Why and How

A remote tropical island, white sands, floating villas… those are the typical images we believe others associate with a corporate reward trip.



However, in real life, the answers to what their dream holiday would entail are likely to differ.


Nowadays, travel is much more accessible, with destinations that once seemed too luxurious becoming affordable for an average traveller.


Also, with social media and online platforms, such as TripAdvisor, tourists now have a plenty of options and information to tailor their trips.


How to design incentive travel programmes that deliver a personalised experience but also create a trip of a lifetime not attainable otherwise?


According to a recent Salesforce report, 73% of customers expect companies to understand their individual needs and expectations. Similarly, brands invest in getting to know their people and adapting their recognition programs accordingly to make participants feel valued, inspired, and driven to perform.



Whilst luxury and exclusivity remain important, personalisation is of equal significance. In this paper, we will explore how to deliver a tailored incentive to maximise participant motivation and ultimately deliver against business objectives.


Ask the questions


Before you start designing your incentive programme, it is essential to get to know your participants.


Running a survey may offer some interesting insights, such as their preferred trip duration, favoured destinations, or style of itinerary. It is also a perfect opportunity to uncover the people behind the role and gather feedback following the trip.


By collecting this data – and curating your incentive accordingly – you’ll demonstrate your company’s interest and investment in your employees.

Revealing a trip that they have designed will not only raise the performance but also increase the desire to earn and set a foundation for a personalised programme.

When winners have been selected, you can ask participants about their preferred amenities, favourite beverages, room temperature, and more ahead of time to allow for a personal touch.


Take communication to the next level


An incentive starts the moment any form of detail is announced to the workforce, typically 6-12 months before the event.


From teaser campaigns to destination reveals, invitations to registration, this planning process is almost as important as the trip itself.


So, how can we take communication to the next level?


A bespoke event identity is a simple, yet effective way to weave a personalised thread through your incentive communications. Promoting an air of exclusivity is a powerful method of heightening your programme’s desirability.


You can tap into this even further by playing on the feeling of fear of missing out (“FOMO”), born from the constant exposure to desirable social media content.


Personalising intermittent teasers in line with what your participants have to have or a rare group experience will not only yield results in the run up to the incentive, but will prompt anticipation of future events.


Incorporation of your brand and company values is equally important. You do not only want your participants to link their positive feelings experienced on the trip with your company, but also show these emotions externally, in order to attract top talent.

You can welcome guests to their room with a video from their CEO. Include a corporate social responsibility activity supporting a local community project or charity that aligns with your organisation. In addition to branded gifts, you can provide custom social media filters and fun photo opportunities throughout the event.


Tapping into technology


The constantly evolving world of technology opens a variety of doors for personalisation.



Platforms such as RFID, automation, facial recognition software unlock opportunities to provide personalised itineraries, suggesting activities based on your participants’ individual interests and even stress levels, whilst cutting out the irrelevant content.


Make the journey count


Many incentives include a lengthy travel time, particularly those that unite colleagues from around the globe. Whether your recognition trip is to a neighbouring country or a different continent, consider how you can personalise the journey. Gather data on guests’ favourite snacks (you can provide), their must-have magazine (put in their seat pocket on the plane), their current must-see new movie or television series (could be added to their in-flight entertainment), and consider individual journeys, too, including how they reach the airport.


Will guests be jet-lagged? Providing a “sleep easy” kit or set of energising toiletries can help them acclimate to their new destination.


Create a plenty of choice


Your guests have chosen their destination and experienced a journey like no other. Now they have finally arrived…what next?



The simplest way to enable a tailored experience is to provide plenty of choices for activities, meals and entertainment. Whilst some may be eager to explore their surroundings, others may prefer relaxing by the pool.


Offering options is extremely important especially for the larger groups. Rather than a typical gala dinner, offer alternatives for those who prefer a quieter evening.

Similarly, providing a food and beverage allowances instead of selecting a set restaurant for each meal. It enables guests to eat the cuisine of their choice at a restaurant they prefer and at a time that suits them.


A personal touch goes a long way


One of the most successful methods of stimulating positive emotion is a surprise. Deliver unexpected moments during the incentive and post-trip and use gifts to create a lasting memory of the experience.



A pop-up gift shop allows guests to pick their own luxury item; gifts such as Nike trainers or designer sunglasses can be individually designed, and a framed print from the trip given on the return home creates longevity.


Don’t forget to involve your suppliers, from the hotel staff to the activity organisers. Remembering guests’ names or bringing them an item they forgot to pack, can turn a group holiday into a personalised reward.


Additionally, many leading hotel chains have Internet-of- Things-enabled bedrooms which enhance personalised experiences from a guest’s preferred mini-bar stock or pillow choice to their favourite TV channel.


Have an early conversations with your accommodation provider to discover how they can go the extra mile for your participants. And, if your guests are bringing their partners, consider their preferences too. This group will be allies when it comes to motivating participants to win a place at next year’s incentive!


Conclusion


Personalisation can be incorporated into almost any element of an incentive programme - from high-tech solutions to tailored itineraries, to small personal touches and simply using the impact of a name.


There is a wealth of opportunities to deliver an experience that is not just a structured trip but, is in fact, a considered, individually designed reward made specifically for your participants.


Ultimately, these methods intensify positive emotions associated with your brand, leading to heightened motivation, loyalty, and performance.


1 Third Edition: State of the Connected Customer Report (Salesforce Research, June 2019) https://www.salesforce.com/blog/2019/06/customer-engagement-trends.html


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