Travel as incentive has become not just a nice-to-have feature of a company rewards program. In the past several years, it has also been counted as an essential component for motivating and rewarding top performance from employees. But as the business and workforce environment experience drastic changes today, travel incentive programs are undergoing a major shift, too. Businesses wanting to develop the right rewards strategy for their team should get to know the prevailing trends and concepts and understand how these can be relevant to their programs. Travel incentives are still as powerful as ever.The concept of being rewarded an experience of a lifetime (via travel) is still a much more motivating offer compared to cold cash. One study reveals that 77% of employees in the U.S. consider a trip to a desirable destination with a loved one as a positive incentive. Research also indicates that there is a return of $3 to $5 on the business bottom line for every dollar spent on incentive travel. Companies have become more cost-conscious about travel incentives.The era of the five-star fancy corporate vacation (especially if the agency is state-owned and funded by taxpayer money) is over. Aside from being criticized for these lavish practices some years ago, companies now also learned that travel doesn’t have to be mindlessly expensive to be memorable and meaningful. More creative itineraries are gaining popularity. While the hotel resort package is still the mainstream, more and more companies are looking at the path less traveled, and their employees are appreciating them for it. Depending on the demographics of your workforce, a food-and-wine tour, a family-oriented stay cation or a yoga retreat can be much more fun for them than staying in a fancy hotel. “Multitasking” incentive trips offer higher potential ROI.Some companies have managed to design incentive trips that are more than just rewards, but also an opportunity for professional development.Just allotting one day of the trip for a relevant activity, such as a day with a well-loved executive or a one-day top-tier leadership or skills development class with certification, can make the trip much more impact-full. Outsourcing the program is now a recommended strategy. Global and local trips may have become more accessible and cheaper, but also more complicated. For many business leaders, getting help from a travel incentive program specialist ensures every trip to be well-organized, within budget and consistently connected to the organization’s strategic plans.

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