More and more companies are rewarding staff with an overseas event or incentive. Typically it’s a sales award but support staff are often also recognised as well. These events involve a multitude of component parts from the launch of the incentive at the very beginning right through to the feedback forms at the end.

With ATOL protection a legal requirement in delivering any ‘package’ type event involving flights a professional agency is the way forward. If it’s your first time in planning such a trip then get three quotes and definitely ask for references. This is a reward for people who have gone further than the extra mile and you want to ensure that the trip exceeds their expectation not just matches it.

It’s important that you choose a great destination any incentive needs to be aspirational to work well, the usual favourites of New York, Monaco, and Dubai are all winners, so are places like Rome, Las Vegas, Tokyo, Beijing and Venice. Choose your destination wisely depending on the breadth of the incentive, your winners will want to get there with minimum flight time fuss. Somewhere with an International airport close to hand is always a good start.

Another wise choice in most cases is to invite winners’ partners. They are sometimes overlooked but have usually put up with their winning other half having been committed to their job 24/7 for the past year in order to qualify for the incentive. Never forget that partners are also big influencers.

Of course in all this planning you might want to have a teaser strategy, to keep the incentive in the front of your potential audience mind. Some great communication in advance of the trip, with branded travel wallets and luggage labels for example. When they arrive it’s always nice to met and transferred in some form of luxury and delivered to a Hotel that typically you might not be able to afford!! These people are your business so you want them to feel like royalty, it’s about generating an experience that ‘money can’t buy’, the Wow! Factor that so many people talk about.

You want these guys to go back to the office and tell everyone how brilliant it was. They will be your best internal sales people for the following year.

You need a brilliant ground programme whilst you’re there and for that you need local knowledge. Your local based agency will use a DMC – or Destination Management Company. These are agencies based in your chosen location that know and will book transport, restaurants, venues, guides, trips and excursions as directed by you and your client. There’s a great of difference between good and bad DMC’s so check and verify their suggestions carefully and also the margin they are charging you. Some companies will want up to 30% and that can mean a lot of money.

That’s all the big bricks you need: a great destination, flights, hotel, ground programme and a comms package wrapped around it. Your winners will have the time of their lives and come back to the office prepared to work harder than ever to get on the next incentive – perfect, because if structured correctly, it will mean that your brilliant incentive is self financing.

Oh and one last thing, do make sure that you know the fees your local agency is charging, ‘10% of the total package price’ sounds good, but in reality your agency will want the price to go up so that their fee increases. Try and agree a fixed price contract, it makes things so much simpler.

See you at the airport!

Author's Bio: 

My name is Neil Warren and I’ve been planning Incentive travel since 1995 for a wide range of clients and events, large and small, from a single couple staying at the Italian lakes for a long weekend to 370 winners, with 21 different nationalities, departing from 42 different airports to Monaco for 5 days. In every case the key is the same, give your guests a positive experience that they will remember for the rest of their lives and then do it again.