Time for an Incentive Travel Update

Revamp and update your incentive travel program

By Fiona Wagner

Effective incentive travel programs increase profits and drive bottom-line results. But what worked one year won’t necessarily succeed the next. With overall employment rising—a 2.1 per cent increase since last year—Canadian companies are cobbling to pre-recession levels. Is your program still a good fit?

Now’s the time to dust it off and get your workforce buzzing. Here’s how.

Set goals. Define what success looks likes. “An incentive program has to align with your corporate objective,” says Kelly Argiropulos, senior account executive with Toronto-based event management company, IQ Business Events. “Otherwise there’s no point—it’s just a trip…an expense versus a revenue generator.”

Assess: Get feedback from everyone, not just past participants. “To take the middle performers and push them to the top, ask them what would be a good incentive,” says Brigitte Mondor, CMP, senior project manager of Zeste Incentive, an event and incentive program planning company in Montreal. “Don’t ask the top guy; he’s already been to the Taj Majal.”

Design: “An effective, successful performance improvement program that delivers value to an organization isn’t something that can be put together on the back of a napkin,” says Toronto-based Nicola Kastner, CMP, CMM, director, meetings and events, Carlson Wagonlit Travel. It takes assessment of external influences, such as regulatory guidelines, shifting demographics and competition, as well as budget, objectives and rewards.

Launch: Once you’ve redesigned or simply tweaked your incentive program, then it’s time to rally the troops—all of them. “The trip itself is exclusive—it’s a once-in-a lifetime experience—but the incentive program qualifications and launch should be inclusive,” says Argiropulos. That means getting buy-in from your entire audience, not just your top performers.

Maintain momentum: “Your promotional campaign has to have multiple touch points,” says Argiropulos, and use numerous mediums of communication: email, intranet and posters. “If you’re doing a quarterly result, then do a quarterly campaign aligned with your fiscal results. If it’s a sales-driven incentive program, align it with your sales goals."

other articles in this section

Banff, Alberta

Incentive Travel Insights

Gifting Guidance

The Renaissance of Incentive Travel

Promotional products your attendees will love. Really.

Incentive Research in Action

History in the Making

Mindful Indulgences

Dynamic Duos

Status Report

Editor's Choice: 6 Springtime Gifts

Warm up to Winter Ski Incentives

Set to Impress

Expert Tips for Virtual Incentive Events

Party Pivots

Presents of Mind: The Art of Virtual Gifting

A Rewarding Experience

Noteworthy: Hamilton Princess & Beach Club, Bermuda

Cards vs. Cash

Good Times

Value Validation

Trip Trends

Sailing Away

The More, The Merrier

Holiday Angst

Making the Connection

Make an Impact

Mutual Appreciation

Healthy Options for Incentive Trips

A Rewarding Experience

Cruising the Rhone River

Celebrating Employee Milestones

How Do they Do It

Eyes on the Prize

Healthy employees = Healthy company

Measuring ROI

Hawks Cay Resort, Duck Key, Florida

Good Sensations

How to Design an Effective Gift Card Incentive Program

Fogo Island Inn, Fogo Island, Newfoundland

The Case for including Spouses on Incentive Trips

Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya

On-site Gifting

Rim to River Hiking in the Grand Canyon

Sparkling Hill Resort, Vernon, BC

Creating incentive trips that appeal to everyone

The Brave New World of Gift Cards

Award Show Winners

Capella Marigot Bay Resort and Marina

Take me to the river

Click + Praise

The Science of Incentives

Incentive trips go family-style

Knock-their-socks-off gifts for hard-to-buy-for executives

Building a Better Program

Perfect Pampering

Indulge Me!

Customized Recognition Programs

Virtual gift cards, the new reality

Gift Cards that Give

Go with a Pro, in the Spa and on the Greens

Chartering private jets

Offsite Employee Engagement

Behaviour-based Recognition

Canadian tax implications for employee gifts

A Christmas Bonus with all the Fixin's!

Peer-to-peer recognition

Everyday Green Heroes

Recognizing Environmental Actions in the Workplace

Reward and Recognize Every Day!

New Year, New You!

Co-Branded Cards

Last-minute gifts and rewards

Double Pampering Hits the Spot!

Hidden Gems: Cobble Beach Resort


Free and Fab Employee Rewards

Incentive Programs Used by the Pros

Think Local for Corporate Gifts

21st Century Gift Cards

Time for an Incentive Travel Update

Reward Best-Practices for the Holiday Season

Small Product, Big Impact

Spa Rewards, Done Right

Staying Motivated

Gift Giving Guidelines

The Pros and Cons of Gift Cards

Eco-Friendly Corporate Gift Ideas

Green Guides

Travel Rewards Strategy

Speaker Gifts that Shine with Gratitude

Tax Treatment of Incentive Travel