Combining meetings and incentive travel is an increasingly popular way to put together executives and/or top performers in a new, refreshing environment outside the office. It targets two objectives within one solution: provide a venue for your best talents to meet and strategize, and at the same timegive them an opportunity to recharge and enjoy a bit of a vacation, as a form of incentive or reward for a job well done.

Since a meetings & incentive travel program combines multiple solutions, it’s already a cost-saving platform by itself. However, you can make it even more cost-smart and benefit from additional savings if you are able to plan well, choose your suppliers carefully and design a program that matches your needs and objectives as an organization.

Every company, whether big or small and regardless of budget level, needs to make sure every dollar they spend brings measurable ROI. For your next meetings and incentive travel efforts, it pays to consider the following travel planning-savvy tips:

Be clear about your targets from the very start. This way, you ensure that no resource is wasted, because every element supports the main objectives. Be very specific – if it’s a sales increase you’re after, name the exact figure; if it’s an improvement in your quality, detail the specific enhancements you need to see.

Determine your budget. If you’re not sure if the budget you have allocated for the program is sufficient, talk to a trusted travel incentives program consultant. A consulting team will work with you on choosing packages that will suit your financial capabilities without sacrificing the quality of the trip.

Establish a clear selection process. Remember that the trip isn’t for everyone – it’s called such because it’s a form of incentive to employees who have reached the specific criteria you have laid out right from the start.Select the target participants so that you can make plans according to the expected headcount.

Consider outsourcing. Your incentives program can be managed by your in-house team, so you don’t have to pay for the services of an agency. However, consider if the savings outweigh the benefits you can get when you hire an agency. For instance, hiring an agency may provide you access to discounts and special packages that travel service companies don’t usually publish. You may be able to cut costs or negotiate for better pricing when you work with corporate incentives professionals who have insider relationships with hotels, airlines and other suppliers.

Review the terms and conditions. Once you have chosen a package, make sure to study closely the terms and conditions. Pay special attention to the clauses about billing and cancellation, and make sure that there are no hidden fees that jack up the rates. The best move is to work with an established, trusted incentives travel company that will understand your needs and guide you every step of the way.

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