The incentive travel is predominantly used with the basic aim of increasing sales.
Oneof the most quoted definitions is the one of the Society of Incentive Travel Exellence (SITE), being: “Incentive travel is a global management tool that uses an exceptional travel experience to motivate and/or recognize participants for increased levels of performance in support of organizational goals”.
Unlike other types of the MICE (Meetings, Conferences, Incentives, Events) tourism, the incentive travel is focused on fun, food and other activities rather than education and work.
Likewise, depending on the culture and social factors, the incentive travel differs in its application and understanding in certain countries.
In some developing markets (such as the Indian market), the incentive travel implies a simple arrangement or only a plane ticked and paid accommodation. In the USA for instance, there is a considerable number of individual incentives using catalogue offer as incentive programmes.
However, the majority of traditional incentive trips imply a group of people for whom an activity and entertainment programme is tailored.
Also noteworthy regarding various national markets, French, Italian and German companies mostly organise incentive trips in their local markets, whereas the local market of Great Britain is apparently relatively small, since most of their companies do not consider it suitable for the incentive travel.Industries mostly using incentive trips are those operating in extremely competitive sectors where retaining or increasing market shares demands constant great efforts in the sale and management fields, making them incentive trip consumers in their nature.
Generally, the largest buyers of incentive programmes come from the automotive industry, financial services, pharmaceutical industry, office equipment industry, electronics, telecommunications, food processing and tobacco industry, etc.
Effectiveness of the incentive travel
- Advantages for employers:
– Facilitating communication and networking opportunities, especially in senior management
– Encouraging the corporate culture and social interaction
– Strengthening company loyalty
– Creating enthusiasm for next business period
The incentive travel impacts those employees who have not been among the rewarded as well. When rewarded colleagues return from their trips excited and with fascinating descriptions of events and the complete experience, other colleagues will be stimulated to work harder in order to be rewarded next time.
- Advantages for employees
Everybody has the need to be respected and to belong. People feel calm, safe and satisfied when they feel wanted and important. To be rewarded a trip for your effort invested and results achieved, creates certain pride and the feeling of victory and success in the rewarded. Social status is improved, not only because he/she is recognized as a top salesperson, but because he/she is one of a few to be able to experience this special reward.
One more advantage of the incentive travel for the rewarded is better understanding from their partners and family of extra time and effort they had to invest in order to be rewarded. When they take their family members on a holiday with them, the family will tolerate extra working hours more.
In every person, there are 4 types of the motivation to travel (according to McIntosh, 1984), and the incentive travel can cover all of them:
- Physical motivation (rest, health, sport, etc.)
- Cultural motivation (desire to get to know and experience other cultures)
- Interpersonal motivation (meeting and connecting with other people)
- Status and prestige motivation
Incentive travel today
The incentive travel is a kind of agreement between a company and its employees and/or customers. The wording of the agreement may be the following: “You do this for us, and we will reward you in a way you will never forget”.
Incentive travel criteria are constantly increasing, following the development of the congress industry and the social and cultural development of employees who have experienced and traveled more than the employees rewarded with incentive trips 15 years ago.
Today, people are more mobile, they travel more in every sense, the availability of information, especially on the Internet, is much improved and with the development of the incentive tourism, chances are better that they have already been on an incentive trip, so that the level of expectations is generally much higher. The criterion of the first-class services and accommodation is implied today, just like it goes without saying that the soup served must be warm.
Therefore, in order to motivate employees to invest extra efforts at work today, they must be offered something more than a pleasant experience. It is not only a trip any more, but an experience on the trip which would enliven them with surprises, special moments and unusual events. The experience they can not relive… no matter how rich they are.
There are numerous destinations with rich cultural and historical heritage, intact landscapes, top selection of food and drink and friendly people.
However, each destination in the world is unique in its history, people and happenings.
And if we select interesting events, details and characteristics from its history and culture and turn them to magical moments bearing the veil of secrecy and mystique through thematic parties, team building activities and stories which are told with sparkling eyes and suspense…places which can be seen in a way that only imagination may incite… we obtain this unique and exquisite experience which should be immanent in the incentive travel.