Travel incentives can help promote a positive work environment

As a business owner, you are constantly thinking of creating a positive work environment, retaining and increasing business, and how to build the reputation of your company as a great place to work. Your business family and client base wants to be shown appreciation. Offering a bonus or discount is not the only answer. Use vacation travel as an incentive.

A vacation travel incentive can be used for your sales force, employees, loyal customers, referrals, purchase incentives and member perks, just to name a few. Do you think that a travel incentive would improve attendance, create a team building environment and create a buzz around your office? Try it. I guarantee it will.

The Incentive Research Foundation stated that 46 percent of businesses use incentive travel and are spending $22.5 billion annually on these programs. Aberdeen Research stated that incentive travel is not only for salespeople. When companies offer an incentive they found that 53 percent recognize salespeople, 43 percent recognize all employees, 33 percent recognize channel partners, and 27 percent recognize customer loyalty.

This same study states that a business with a great organized program can increase sales productivity by 18 percent. Robert Frost wrote an infamous poem, "The Road Not Taken." How many times have you heard people say they wish they could or have traveled more?

Throughout my career, I have never needed anyone to motivate me. My inner drive wants to surpass any milestone put in front of me, even if it's to win a lollipop. It's scary to think that according to a PNC Bank Corporation survey less than one-quarter American workers say they are working to their full potential.

According to the Forum Corporation, 70 percent of customers sever their ties with vendors because of poor service. Loyalty to your business or employees by just a 5 percent increase in customer retention can increase lifetime profits from a customer by 75 percent, according to "The Loyalty Effect" by Frederick Reichheld. The good news is that in a recent survey of American Works, 85 percent surveyed said they were motivated by vacation travel incentives. People use a cash bonus to pay off a bill and will enjoy a short sigh of relief. A trip will, not to sound cliché, create a lifetime memory. Priceless.

You need to decide the purpose of your incentive trip. Are you planning on a complete leisure trip or will it be a "bleisure" trip, combining leisure with a small portion of business sprinkled in? If you've never offered a travel incentive, you want it done right the first time.

Decide who will be eligible to attend the trip, who they may bring and what milestones are needed to reach the incentive. Communicate on a consistent basis about details of the trip and the progress people are making toward achieving that reward. The goal of your management is to have continuous networking with top managers and clients to build as much excitement as possible.

You have the ideal opportunity to have your top performers be in a semi-social setting to exchange ideas and feed off of each other's successes. They will feel appreciated and more loyal to your company than ever and want to stay with you for their entire career. You need to continuously sprinkle the roots of your organization.

Set your budget and most importantly hire a professional travel service that has a travel manager. The travel manager will give you options for destinations, activities, set up meetings and even attend your trip. Let the planner create online registrations, make the flight arrangements and a beautiful exciting brochure listing the schedule of events. Your travelers and their guests will have a direct contact person to ask questions about the actual resort.

All of this work can be taken off your plate and handled by an expert. You deserve to enjoy the trip, as well. Why should you waste your time worrying about the food being on time to a short morning team- building activity? Having your travel manager on site is a necessity, not a luxury. Be certain that attendees will be able to enjoy themselves, so keep the meeting agendas to a minimum.

Everyone returning from the trip should feel like they've been on a luxury vacation instead of a business meeting, just viewing a tantalizing beach. You want the attendees to create a buzz of both appreciation and inspiration, motivating others to reach higher goals so they can earn the next trip. Having somebody that enjoys travel and searching online for trips handle this is a mistake. Show the attendees that this is being handled professionally by pulling out all the stops to demonstrate you value them even more.

Actions speak louder than words. A company does not meet financial goals without a motivated and loyal workforce. Continue to inspire people around you. Show your appreciation with a great incentive trip. Make a tradition to be proud of. Offer a vacation travel incentive and reap both the financial and innate rewards.


Kristen Heyen Noble is a sales representative at Van Zile Travel Service.

Published: Thu, Nov 12, 2015