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Combining Individual and Group Travel Incentives: Best of Both Worlds or Social Dilemma?

Nov 06, 2018

Travel incentives inspire and motivate employees to go above and beyond. And the announcement of an incentive travel opportunity can create excitement in the office, particularly among salespeople and channel partners. With a highly desirable reward like travel, more salespeople dream of exotic getaways throughout the year and they increase their work efforts to exceed their sales targets.

But what they don’t dream of is endless business meetings or mandatory functions that often come with group travel incentives. According to the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF), over two-thirds of organizations using travel incentive programs include business meetings in their reward trips.

We understand that bringing senior leaders together with top sales performers is important for many organizations. And group incentive travel provides the perfect opportunity to formally recognize top performers before their peers. That’s why many organizations combine the two by integrating a series of off-site business meetings with group travel rewards.

Strongest travel award motivators

In a recent travel rewards study conducted by BI WORLDWIDE with 500 salespeople between the ages of 21-65 years old who work in one of five industry sectors: automotive/transportation, life sciences/medical/pharma, technology, telecommunications, and retail, we found that personal recognition from the participants company, peers, and family and friends unmistakably ranks as the number one motivator to earn travel awards – more than 90 percent agree or strongly agree.

However, we also found that 85 percent of travel reward participants are motivated by experienced-focused individual travel and 84 percent are motivated by group travel, when only social and leisure activities are included – no business meetings or mandatory functions. Interest in group travel declines noticeably from 60 percent when the agenda includes one business meeting to 40 percent when it includes two or more.

“Party of two” versus party

With our latest travel incentives program, WE2ME, sales leaders can bring your top performers together to recognize and celebrate their success as a group (WE). Once group celebrations have concluded, ME gives reward earners the opportunity to visit fan-out locations—that are curated to individual interests—where they can choose their own activities on their own time.

Replacing group activities with “fan-out” destinations that are curated to special interests, i.e. beachgoers, adventurists, foodies, shopping lovers, etc. will eliminate any social dilemma because, according to our study, when given a choice between an individual or group travel rewards, 90 percent of salespeople are more motivated by individual travel. Therefore, WE2ME is really the best of both worlds.

So, if having the team together is beneficial and a crucial part of your culture, consider starting with a short group travel event and then offer options for nearby fly-away experiences for individuals and their guests. Oh, and keep business meetings out of it!

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