Incentive Travel: The Complete Guide

Engage, excite and reward with unrivaled experiences.

Incentive programs need to inspire and motivate your team to meet their goals.

Is your incentive travel program meeting all of these demands? If not, you risk losing your best employees and missing your aggressive growth goals.

Pick the Right Incentive Travel Partner

The best incentive travel companies help clients solve these challenges. We design and execute corporate incentive travel programs that motivate and reward the achievements you need from your team to drive your company goals forward.

At Thumbtack Worldwide Travel, we design incentive programs indisputably proven to:

  • Improve sales achievements, productivity and profitability
  • Reinforce and grow effective behaviors
  • Increase or maintain market share
  • Retain top talent, clients and channel partners

The Incentive Program That Motivates Your Greatest Resource – Your People

How are we different from other incentive travel companies? At Thumbtack Worldwide Travel, we work with you to understand your company’s goals, culture and people to develop the right incentive program for your team. We’re not guessing at what inspires your team – we use the latest in engagement and loyalty research to help you develop the most valuable program to drive performance.

At Thumbtack Worldwide Travel, we have developed effective incentive programs for leading companies. Our incentive travel planning services include:

  • Destination and venue selection
  • Thought leadership
  • Event communications
  • Budget management, billing and reconciliation
  • Integrated registration, hotel booking and airline ticketing
  • On-site support
  • Emergency response
  • Participant satisfaction surveys
  • Program planning and management

The Proof Is In The Data:

What is incentive travel?

Incentive Travel Programs are an employee recognition program to enhance productivity or achieve business objectives in which participants earn the reward based on a specific level of achievement set by management. Qualifying employees are rewarded with an awards and recognition trip.

%

Of All Businesses Use Incentive Travel Programs

%

Increase in Sales Productivity Seen By Companies Using Incentive Travel

%

Best-in-Class Companies That Use Incentive Travel Programs

%

Increase Employee Motivation

Incentive travel is an amazing employee motivation tool. Motivating employees by sending them to destinations and participate in experiences that they wouldn’t have had the opportunity for in their private life has proven to have among the highest return on investment a company can make. Motivating employees through incentive programs has shown an average revenue increase of 300%.

Demonstrate Employee Appreciation

A program to acknowledge and show appreciation for employee contributions leads to more highly engaged employees. Non-cash incentives, like incentive travel events, have consistently proven to be more effective at showing appreciation.

Raise Employee Retention Rate

The direct effect on employee retention that incentive travel programs provide is unrivaled. Increasing employee engagement and retention is indisputably linked to the revenue generation and profitability of all major businesses.

Expand Employee Engagement

Give your employees an individual sense of purpose and focused energy that is evident to others in their display of personal initiative, effort and persistence toward organizational goals. Many businesses create their own definition for this term, but what everyone agrees on is this: higher employee engagement means higher work performance and company loyalty. 

Recognition Programs Drive Engagement

Recognition of a performance result that supports the organization’s goals and values, and has clearly exceeded normal expectations, is the key to engagement and retention. Appreciation is a fundamental human need – individuals respond to appreciation because it confirms that they are valued. When individuals feel their work is valued, their satisfaction and productivity rises, and they are motivated.

For More Than Your Sales Team:

Employee Loyalty

The long-term success of any company depends heavily upon the quality of its employees and their loyalty. Few corporate executives would disagree with this idea conceptually, but it is also true that most treat the economic value of employees in enhancing customer relationships and company profits as “soft” numbers, unlike the “hard” numbers they use to manage their operations, such as the cost of labor. Companies have two major objectives: customer loyalty and employee productivity. This only remains consistent with committed, loyal employees.

Customer Loyalty

Remember Cheers, where everybody knows your name? Everyone wants to find their own version of Cheers – a place where they feel welcome and special. Everyone wants to be acknowledged and appreciated.

Anyone can drop off free candy or send follow-up emails; that won’t set your company apart. Inexpensive incentives, such as candy or freebies, are more of an insurance policy against loss than a growth driver. By offering real added value with experiences and relationships, however, businesses can see real results.

Strategic Channel Incentives

A channel incentive program offers your business partners something that motivates or encourages specific performance efforts. A well executed channel incentive program creates a virtuous circle in which both channel partner and vendor are motivated to collaborate to attain improved performance, increased profitability and to achieve pre-defined goals.

%

Of Companies Recognize Employee Engagement & Loyalty

%

Of Companies Recognize Channel Partners

%

Of Companies Reward Sales Benchmark Achievements

%

Of Companies Recognize Customer Loyalty

An Unrivaled Design – An Experience That Matters

A so-so experience isn’t going to do the trick. There are particular ways to design your incentive travel program to maximize the benefits and return on investment for your company. To avoid an incentive travel program crash and burn result, keep the following in mind:

DO THIS

PLAN AHEAD

Demand for accommodations is high and growing faster than availability. Large incentive programs should be booked 2-3 years out, medium sized events should be booked 1-2 years out and smaller events can be planned 1 year out.

TRAVEL OFF PEAK

The most popular months for incentive travel are March & April – avoid crowds and inflated pricing by utilizing shoulder season periods.

GIVE NOTICE

Let your invitees have enough notice to obtain passports if necessary – international incentive trips are growing in popularity as they become more valuable for both organizations and attendees.

OFFER MEMORABLE EXPERIENCES

Incentive trips aren’t just for an awards dinner and a vacation anyone can take. Plan unique experiences that aren’t easily attainable by your attendees such as helicopter tours, private excursions and VIP programs.

PERSONALIZED OPTIONS

Give invitees choices for their experiences to create higher appreciation for their ability to customized their award. In addition to experiences, a merchandise bar of “pick your own gifts” is a popular trend.

ADD IN WELLNESS PROGRAMS

Individual wellness has significant bearing on productivity and profitability. Considering offering wellness programs such as yoga and fitness classes, motivational and personal development seminars, team building events or meditation programs.

BE PREPARED

Disaster preparedness is essential, and the importance cannot be exaggerated. From air travel delays to acts of God and emergencies requiring State Department intervention, the expertise and contacts of a corporate travel agency can be invaluable.

REMEMBER THE END GAME: ATTRACTING AND RETAINING TALENT

The purpose of incentive trips is to show indisputable appreciation for the employee or business partner, and doing so in a way that promotes personal connection. In this respect, it’s important to remember the value of the whole person and this means including their spouse, significant other and, sometimes, the whole family.

GIVE BACK

Corporate social responsibility is a common buzz term – put it in action and involve your honorees in doing so. Community service programs in destination are an excellent way to instill this value in your corporate culture.

LEAN ON EXPERTS

There is a lot of temptation to keep planning in-house at times, but to do so sacrifices the unique expertise and experience of professionals with high levels of practical understanding of incentive trips. Tapping into a corporate travel agent can additionally give you an unrivaled view into industry trends and insights.

NOT THAT

BOOK AT THE LAST MINUTE

Holding off on incentive travel program planning dwindles your destination options to subpar experiences. Availability is in demand and waiting too long will harm the quality of your program, and consequently the benefits.

SCHEDULE THE PROGRAM AT PEAK TIMES

Peak travel periods (December-January, March-April, June-August) mean two major negatives: crowds and exorbitant pricing. Stay away from high seasons to avoid chaos and increase your incentive trip’s value .

SURPRISE INVITEES

Don’t wait until the last minute to divulge your incentive travel program’s dates – you’ll lose out on maximizing the motivation and run the risk of blindsiding invitees who may need to make arrangements at home for their time away.

PLAN NOTHING

Simply plopping your attendees on a beach won’t suffice – they can do that themselves. You don’t want them to get bored or feel let down by the expectations they had for this experience.

PACK THE AGENDA

On the flip side, over-scheduling the incentive trip can make attendees feel like they’re still at work. Avoid too many required events and ensure that there are plentiful options for them to choose from on most days.

TALK SHOP

Aside from the awards ceremony, avoid talking about anything work related over the course of the trip. No meetings, no work-related conferences, nada. Don’t make your attendees feel as those they are simply at work, with a change of scenery.

LEAVE PREPAREDNESS TO CHANCE

Stress of the unexpected aside, be mindful of liability concerns. Ensure that you have plans in place for uncooperative weather, emergencies, evacuations, delays, injuries, etc.

FORGET THE END GAME

In effort to cut costs, you may consider an invitee-only event. Stop right there. Failing to invite the people important to the people important to you minimizes the value you are trying to express appreciation for. You again run the risk of attendees feeling like they are still “in the workplace.”

IGNORE CORPORATE VALUES

It is tremendously important to put your culture values into action. Incentive trips are an excellent opportunity to involve your attendees in something to promote your values lest you create an appearance of “do as I say, not as I do.”

GO IT ALONE

Incentive trips are an investment – a pricey one, too. You cannot be over-prepared for these events and should heavily weigh the pros and cons of in-house planning. Aside from the major time investment required to execute a successful incentive travel event, it is imperative that details are not overlooked, value is secured and emergency preparedness not left behind.

Top Incentive Travel Destinations

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

The Dominican Republic offers a little bit of everything for your reward trip. From world-class golf resorts, to minor and major league baseball (the country’s favorite pastime), active invitees will have plenty to do and see. If a slower pace is more their speed, then take your pick from 200 miles of super-fine sandy beaches to relax and soak up some Vitamin Sea.

ARUBA

Plan your Caribbean incentive trip outside the hurricane belt on this fantasy Dutch island. A true paradise, Aruba enjoys low humidity and breezy blue vistas year-round. The island’s not much for tropical foliage — instead, you’ll find rocky deserts, silky sand and the trademark divi-divi tree (bent at a 45-degree angle by strong trade winds). This is, as car license-plates proclaim, “one happy island.”

TURKS & CAICOS

Less developed and more upscale than many other spots in the Caribbean, Turks and Caicos has an intimate feel. The islands are surrounded by a natural reef, making the turquoise waters clean, calm and full of sea life. Turks and Caicos has some of the best underwater sightseeing around, so snorkeling and scuba diving are a must for your incentive trip.

LAS VEGAS

The streets of this neon-lit Nevada city offer much more than a quick buck and Elvis-blessed elopement. A recent renaissance has made Las Vegas the one-stop spot to experience it all: Broadway-style shows, big-name restaurants, luxurious spas, thrill rides, and themed hotels. The city’s location also makes it the perfect jumping-off point for the Grand Canyon, Zion National Park and other wonders of the West.

GREECE

Find pure bliss on the famed Greek isles for your reward trip. Southeast of mainland Greece, Santorini is a small, circular group of volcanic islands. A lagoon runs through its middle and it’s surrounded by stunning, steep cliffs on three sides and the Mediterranean Sea. Its natural beauty doesn’t end there – explore the island and you’ll find menus full of fish, miles of dark sand beaches, and small domed churches from years gone by.

ITALY

A place that allows for both lazy days at the beach and epic sightseeing is hard, but when you add life-changing food to your wish list it becomes a very tall order. One of the few places that meets those demands: Sicily. In the middle of the Mediterranean, the island is blessed with beautiful beaches and glamorous seaside resorts. Divide your days between sightseeing and sun-soaking, and spend your evenings feasting on the cuisine.

HAWAII

It’s obvious why Maui is one of the Magic Isles of Hawaii: Rainbows are regular occurrences and travelers swoon over the dreamy vistas. By day, sunny shores, palm-fringed golf courses and the largest dormant volcano in the world — filled with hiking trails and lush valleys — battle for your attention. At night, you can try swanky restaurants, watch a luau or simply sit on your starlit lanai and listen to waves break upon the moonlit shore. Hawaii is by far one of the most popular destinations for incentive trips.

JAMAICA

Fun-loving invitees who want a “no problem” incentive getaway will revel in happy-go-lucky Jamaica. The third largest island in the Caribbean, Jamaica is easy to reach, economical, and blessed with a bevy of sports and natural offerings. Surrounded by the bright blue sea, the “land of wood and water” has three mountain systems, more than 120 rivers, 200 miles of beaches, 25 indigenous bird species, 3,800 flowering plants — 720 of which are unique to Jamaica — and over 500 types of ferns.

MEXICO

People fall in love with Playa del Carmen for incentive trips because of both what it has (gorgeous beaches and rustic charm) and what it doesn’t (the crowds and overbuilt beachfronts of some of the big tourist traps). It boasts unique hotels and an authentic village feel that appeals to various attendees. One of the area’s strongest selling points is that its beaches are just a quick ride away from some breathtaking historic sites, so you can balance out all that margarita sipping with an inspiring journey into the region.

Top Incentive Travel Resorts

GENERATIONS RESORT

RIVIERA MAYA, MEXICO

Everyone has a unique taste, an individual perspective, and a distinct view. How do you create an experience that caters to a variety of desires? Start with Gourmet Inclusive® amenities and services,– oversized suites, highly attentive staff, specialized luxury services, and an abundance of pampering amenities and exciting activities. Generations is the essential Caribbean destination for incentive group travel not just because of its incredible beachfront views of the Riviera Maya – also because of their dedication to providing every guest the getaway of a lifetime.

AZUL FIVES RESORT

PLAYA DEL CARMEN, MEXICO

For tots, teens, couples and groups, this Gourmet Inclusive® playground will bring out the playful side in everyone. Azul Fives’ luxury accommodations and impeccable service will satisfy the most discriminating adult tastes. At The Fives Plaza, you’ll discover trendy shops, live entertainment, four restaurants and two bars. Then make your way down to Azul Fives’ white-sand beach, where swim-up bars, waterfront activities and gourmet à la carte eateries satiate even the heartiest appetite for food and fun.

HILTON PUERTO VALLARTA RESORT

PUERTO VALLARTA, MEXICO

Swaying palms and rolling waves greet you upon arrival at the AAA Four Diamond, all-inclusive Hilton Puerto Vallarta Resort. Enjoy multiple dining choices, complimentary Kids Club, an onsite Spa and unforgettable sunsets during your stay. Whether you relax beneath a cabana poolside while enjoying a cocktail, or watch the setting sun from your very own private swimming pool, you’ll find the ideal destination for an unforgettable incentive trip.

COZUMEL PALACE

COZUMEL, MEXICO

Dive into the underwater beauty that Cozumel holds by taking part in a scuba diving adventure through the island’s magnificent coral reef, the second largest reef in the world. You can also snorkel in Cozumel’s clear waters right in front of the resort, and then take advantage of the Playroom, pools, excursions, entertainment and spa services.

When you choose Palace Resorts, you enjoy the benefits of an all-inclusive incentive trip with Palace’s incredible variety of settings, unprecedented level of service and amenities, and that something extra…the wow factor.

HARD ROCK CANCUN

CANCUN, MEXICO

At this unique Cancun beach resort, they’ve created the ultimate beachfront celebrity playground and transformed the typical All Inclusive vacation into a rock star paradise, which reflects their Mexican setting and cosmopolitan flair.

BEACH PALACE

CANCUN, MEXICO

Beach Palace in Cancun, Mexico is a luxury all-inclusive resort on a vast stretch of sandy white beaches and blue ocean waters. Every incentive trip invitee will enjoy their stay at Beach Palace and take home unforgettable memories. When you choose Palace Resorts, you enjoy the benefits of an all-inclusive meeting with Palace’s incredible variety of settings, unprecedented level of service and amenities, and that something extra…the wow factor.

WESTIN RESORT & SPA

LOS CABOS, MEXICO

For fun-filled incentive trip group vacations, this award-winning luxury resort stands as one of Los Cabos’ most distinctive resorts. Beautifully-appointed guestrooms offer private balconies and ocean views, while guests will enjoy use of a private beach, excellent golf nearby, award-winning spa and gourmet restaurants serving Sushi, Mexican and more.

IBEROSTAR GRAND ROSE HALL

MONTEGO BAY, JAMAICA

In a secluded enclave close to Montego Bay sits the all-inclusive & adults only resort, the Grand Hotel Rose Hall, winner of the World’s Top Ten Travelers’ Choice® Awards, part of IBEROSTAR’s elite Grand Collection. Whether from your suite, the golf course, the beach, or while savoring exquisite international cuisines, you are sure to write some of the most memorable pages of your life at this all inclusive 5 star resort in Jamaica.

WESTIN RESORT & SPA

MAUI, HAWAII

Situated along legendary Ka‘anapali Beach, The Westin Maui Resort & Spa is a picture-perfect tropical escape for incentive trips, surrounded by mountains and glittering seas and providing a haven of pure relaxation. The 759-room resort abounds with ways to rejuvenate from the resorts 87,000 square-foot aquatic playground, world-class restaurants, cultured entertainment and thrilling activities.  Shopping at neighboring Whalers Village and championship golf are just steps away. Key resort features designed to provide a blissful balance include in-room comforts such as Westin’s Heavenly Bed, uplifting renewal at the Heavenly Spa by Westin healthy and delicious dining with oceanfront settings and Westin Kids Club. Lush gardens and cascading waterfalls provide the perfect backdrop.

SHERATON RESORT & SPA

MAUI, HAWAII

Set on the widest expanse of Ka’anapali Beach at the foot of legendary Pu’u Keka’a Black Rock, this ocean side Hawaiian resort greets travelers to a world of relaxation and discovery.  After a $7M complete guestroom renovation, each room introduces warm Hawaiian colors, textiles and prints to the legendary location and offers panoramic views of lush gardens or the Pacific ocean.  Here in this pristine ocean front setting, the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa welcomes incentive groups to world of comforts and luxuries.

ST. REGIS PRICEVILLE

KAUAI, HAWAII

The St. Regis Princeville Resort resides on the northern shore of the “Garden Island”. Located in the 9,000 acre resort community of Princeville at Hanalei, this ocean side enclave provides visitors all the amenities you would expect from an island destination considered by many to be one of the most spectacular in Hawai’i. Guests of the St. Regis Princeville Resort reside in a bastion of tropical sophistication, surrounded by interiors reflecting Kaua’i’s rich abundance, cuisine that celebrates local flavors and an array of activities as thrillingly diverse as the island itself.

RENAISSANCE RESORT & CASINO

ARUBA

Escape to Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino and enjoy well-appointed accommodations in a tropical paradise. This Aruba resort features two distinct hotel zones: one for adults only and one family friendly. Adult-only areas are designed to create an ideal private-island resort experience. Embrace convenience with a swim-up bar and complimentary Wi-Fi. Brand name boutiques within the resort make it easy to bring a slice of paradise home, and our celebrated restaurants cater to a variety of palates. Guests will love the private Okeanos Spa, 24-hour casino and exciting nightlife that only our 40-acre private beach can offer. We are an ideal location for Aruba incentive travel groups with 22,000 square feet of event space. Rooms and suites feature high-end amenities and modern technologies.

HYATT REGENCY RESORT & SPA

ARUBA

Escape to this luxurious beachfront resort in Palm Beach, where sugary white beaches and the gloriously blue Caribbean Sea captivate your senses. Experience this exclusive Aruba resort on the beach with pampering services and exquisite touches that will enhance every moment of your incentive trip in paradise. Breathe in fresh tropical breezes, soak in the sun, and take in the breathtaking scenery of Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort Spa and Casino.

MARRIOTT STELLARIS RESORT

ARUBA

Located on Palm Beach, this Aruba resort is perfect for your ultimate Aruba incentive trip. Enjoy comfort and relaxing Aruba accommodations featuring the resort, adult exclusive pool, and the exclusive Tradewinds Club – an upscale hotel-within-a-hotel concept on the top floor of this Aruba resort. Savor in the upgraded amenities, five daily dining presentations in the private lounge, a member-only beach area, and full access to the Tradewinds Concierge Service. The guest rooms at this Aruba Beach Resort are the most spacious on the island, each offering Marriott’s Revive bedding, contemporary bathrooms, 37-inch LCD flat-panel TVs and large, private balconies. This Palm Beach Aruba hotel offers premium amenities, including some of the finest restaurants in Aruba. Enjoy yourself at Ruth’s Chris Steak House, the Balinese-style Mandara Spa and the 24-hour Stellaris Casino.

BELLAGIO

LAS VEGAS

Blending unforgettable European-style elegance with high-octane Las Vegas excitement, Bellagio Las Vegas defies the imagination and transports you to another world. Inspired by an idyllic Italian village, Bellagio appeals to corporate incentive groups through its offering of gourmet restaurants, lavish spa services, enchanting entertainment at Cirque du Soleil’s “O” and an elegant selection of bars, night clubs and lounges.

ARIA

LAS VEGAS

There’s the Vegas you’re used to, and then there’s the AAA Five Diamond–awarded ARIA Resort & Casino. Unsurpassed amenities from their world-class restaurants to the most technologically-advanced rooms and suites await you.  Even their five-star service is unique, with every concierge trained in the art of tying a bow tie and much more. Sip expertly crafted cocktails poolside by day, and at dinner let our Michelin chef do the cooking.  After a night of revelry and countless indulgences, enjoy one-touch everything via revolutionary in-room tablets from lighting and curtain controls, to ordering breakfast in bed, booking a spa treatment or ending the day with the tap of a “goodnight” button. From corner views in every room to signature experiences in Tower Suites and Sky Suites, ARIA will leave you counting the days until your next visit – this is how we Vegas™.

HARD ROCK RESORT

PUNTA CANA

Fronting an expansive stretch of white-sand beach, corporate incentive groups are treated to rock star amenities including 11 refreshing pools featuring swim-up bars and water slides; luxurious spa treatments; an 18-hole, Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course; a Las Vegas-style casino; a wide variety of dining options including 9 dining venues and various bars. 24-hour room service is also available; Plush accommodations complete with incredible vistas, a double hydro spa tub and the exclusive Sleep Like a Rock beddings®. True to Hard Rock form, the resort also boasts an extensive collection of signature rock memorabilia from both international and local artists, and a professional team of culinary and event planning experts. Distinctive and unique, this polished haven is an oasis for sunshine and fun.

EXCELLENCE RESORT & SPA

PUNTA CANA

Fronting a mile-long stretch of pristine, powdery-sand beach, this exotic adults-only getaway provides the perfect setting for incentive groups. Amidst a jungle of coconut palms, fragrant gardens and the warm Caribbean Sea, your invitees are completely pampered with personalized service; a wide selection of gourmet ala carte restaurants; enjoyable daily activities including yoga classes and horseback riding, a casino; a pampering menu of treatments at the upscale, full-service spa and polished accommodations just a few steps from the water.

OUR INCENTIVE TRAVEL SERVICES & PRICING

Don’t go it alone – this is too much of an investment to wing it. Our basic services are free and will give you the peace of mind you’ve been missing. Our ultimate event package will ensure that your incentive trip goes off without a hitch, and without you lifting a finger.

Basic Travel Coordination

Have in house event planners? Lean on us for the travel planning at no fee.
$0
  • Negotiation and contracting of accommodations
  • Flight arrangements for all invitees (ticketing fee applies)
  • Emergency assistance during travel
  • NOTE: $2500 non-refundable deposit required.
  • Advice and coordination of onsite and offsite activities
  • Theme design and vendor coordination
  • Single point of contact between company and venue
  • Preparation of agenda
  • Financial report completion
  • Custom design of marketing materials
  • Branded web portal for attendee registration and preferences
  • Onsite coordinator and liaison between venue and company
  • Complete ceremony, agenda, event, excursion and activity planning and execution.
  • $2,000 credit toward function

Basic Event Coordination

Get a little extra help with your event design.
$3,499+
  • Negotiation and contracting of accommodations
  • Flight arrangements for all invitees
  • Emergency assistance during travel
  • Advice and coordination of onsite and offsite activities
  • Theme design and vendor coordination
  • Single point of contact between company and venue
  • Preparation of agenda
  • Financial report completion
  • Custom design of marketing materials
  • Branded web portal for attendee registration and preferences
  • Onsite coordinator and liaison between venue and company
  • Complete ceremony, agenda, event, excursion and activity planning and execution.
  • $2,000 credit toward function

Ultimate Event Coordination

Start to finish, the complete event design.
$9,499+
  • Negotiation and contracting of accommodations
  • Flight arrangements for all invitees
  • Emergency assistance during travel
  • Advice and coordination of onsite and offsite activities
  • Theme design and vendor coordination
  • Single point of contact between company and venue
  • Preparation of agenda
  • Financial report completion
  • Custom design of marketing materials
  • Branded web portal for attendee registration and preferences
  • Onsite coordinator and liaison between venue and company
  • Complete ceremony, agenda, event, excursion and activity planning and execution.
  • $2,000 credit toward function

Let’s Get Started.

Drop a quick message here to start planning your best incentive trip, ever.

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