How A Sales Incentive Travel Program Can Motivate Your Team

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Daniel Doan
Daniel Doan



When things get a little stressful — whether that be in work or in life — I always look forward to my next vacation. Getting away from it all gives me a chance to reset so I can return refreshed and ready to tackle new challenges in my role. So if your sales team is looking for an incentive, travel may be the answer. You can recognize their hard work and give them some well-deserved rest.

sales incentive travel program with free drinks

When designing a sales incentive travel program, you’ll need to build out experiences that actually motivate your team. Beyond that, you’ll need to find ways to make goals achievable and celebrate those who hit ambitious targets.

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In this article, we’ll explain how to craft a sales incentive travel program. We’ll also share some killer destinations to spark your thinking. Let’s dive in.

What is incentive travel?

Incentive sales travel refers to compensation programs that companies, especially sales departments, use to motivate their sales teams and recognize their accomplishments. These trips are typically awarded to sales personnel who meet or exceed their sales targets or achieve specific goals set by the company.

The concept is to offer an all-expenses paid trip to a desirable spot as a tangible and experiential reward. This gives your company a way to praise above-and-beyond performance and inspire your reps to meet these goals.

Incentive sales trips can serve multiple purposes beyond just rewarding top performers. They are versatile tools that can connect teams and boost morale. Here are some other instances of incentive travel:

  • Kickoffs. Start the fiscal or sales year with a kickoff, setting a motivated and enthusiastic tone for the upcoming period.
  • Offsites. Offsite meetings can focus on strategic planning and team-building activities in a different, fun environment.
  • Team building and engagement. Besides simple vacations, these trips often include team-building exercises, personal and professional development, and opportunities to strengthen team cohesion and commitment.
  • Overcoming challenges. They can be strategically used to crush internal challenges like a lack of motivation, difficulty meeting sales goals, or rejuvenating a team that needs a boost.

Incentive sales travel is a great approach for rewarding high-performing sales teams and meeting organizational needs such as kickoffs, offsites, and team building to develop a more motivated, cohesive, and effective sales force.

Your incentive travel experience should balance rest, local activities, and unique experiences. Marissa Wagoner, a team lead at One10 Marketing, works with companies as they plan incentive and reward trips.

She explains, “People love when you incorporate the local culture of the destination they are visiting. Working with local chefs, merchants, and business owners can be a great way to craft a unique experience that will make people really feel like they are part of the community.”

Why Use A Sales Incentive Travel Program

Sales results and employee morale get a big boost from sales incentive programs. The benefits of a sales incentive travel program include the following.

sales incentive travel program benefits

Boosting Productivity and Revenue

Travel incentives have a track record of enhancing productivity as they give team members an objective, often leading to heightened sales and increased revenue. Travel rewards tied to sales goals motivate employees to exceed expectations and help your company grow.

Improving Employee Morale

The excitement surrounding a travel incentive builds a vibrant atmosphere within the organization. Collecting and sharing travel experiences creates a sense of community and excitement, which helps boost morale. Workplaces with positive environments are more productive and efficient.

Cultivating Employee Loyalty

Earning a spot in a travel incentive program inspires employees to feel accomplishment and recognition. Regardless of their participation in the trip, this sense of appreciation often fosters a deeper allegiance to the company. Devoted staff members are more inclined to stay with the organization for the long haul and contribute steadfastly to its success.

Tips for Implementing A Travel Program

A successful travel incentive program requires thoughtful planning and execution. Here are key tips to ensure your program is effective and impactful.

sales incentive travel program destinations

1. Ask your team for possible ideas.

Creating a travel program that genuinely resonates with your team means going beyond just picking popular destinations. Put together a list of travel locations, accommodations, and activities. Instead of guessing what might appeal to your team, directly involve them in decision-making.

How? Conduct a straightforward survey — it‘s that simple. By allowing your team to voice their preferences, the travel opportunity becomes something they’re actually excited about. It's also a good idea to include a section for additional suggestions in the survey.

Doing this, you might discover bargains or special deals that hadn't been on your mind. You want to offer a travel incentive that feels personal and appealing to your team, not just another corporate thing.

2. Have a clear objective.

An incentive program aims to achieve a particular result or encourage a certain behavior. This holds especially true for employee incentive trips. When crafting these programs, have your “why.” These goals could include:

  • Reaching specific sales targets.
  • Elevating client satisfaction scores.
  • Reducing paperwork errors.
  • Shortening customer wait times.
  • Enhancing production efficiency.

The program‘s objectives might encompass a range of targets, varying based on departmental roles or individual positions. Given the significant investment in organizing such trips, companies naturally seek a meaningful return. Defining these goals upfront as you introduce the program means you’re more than just justifying the expense.

You're also making the reward directly related to the results. Employee effort is matched with company goals when a travel incentive has a clear purpose.

3. Provide clear guidelines to staff.

Effective sales incentive travel program implementation hinges on setting clear, achievable goals. As you introduce this initiative, comprehensively outline the program's parameters to ensure your team understands what it takes to earn these rewards. Focus on communicating the performance targets, the timeline for evaluation, the criteria for measurement, and details of the rewards.

Important aspects to include are:

  • Date flexibility for the trips. If there's a specific travel date, inform the team upfront.
  • Clarify whether family members or guests are allowed to accompany them.
  • Distinguish between amenities included in the package and additional options.
  • Address any special accommodations your team members might need.

Maintaining morale is all about avoiding misunderstandings. Transparent and direct communication from the outset fosters a culture of trust and keeps your team aligned and motivated.

4. Offer resources and assistance to the staff.

Assuming all trip participants are seasoned travelers can lead to oversights.

Sales incentive travel appeals to a wide audience, from seasoned globetrotters to those who have never set foot in an airport. Any resources and help you can give your team will be appreciated. There may still be individual needs, like booking flights. You can make preparations easier by assigning a dedicated support person.

Provide essential support such as:

  • Help with passport and visa applications.
  • Practical packing advice.
  • Information on CDC advisories and vaccinations.
  • Insights into cultural norms at the destination.
  • Guidance on travel health insurance and medical resources.
  • Currency exchange services.
  • Safety tips and emergency contacts.

Want another winning strategy? Elevate your team's performance with our Sales Training Template, which you can download for free. Download this free sales onboarding template to create your own sales training outline for new hires. From there, you can look for ways to incentivize top performers.

Incentive Trips Employees Actually Want

The best sales incentive travel experiences offer stunning natural beauty, vibrant culture, and exceptional amenities to inspire and motivate teams. These locations give you that perfect balance of relaxation and adventure. Whether it‘s Hawaii or Europe, it’s sure to be unforgettable for any sales team.

Want to create something that appeals to everyone? Offer a few options that your team can choose from. You can then offer something for everyone.

sales incentive travel program destinations

1. Hawaii

An exemplary incentive destination, Hawaii offers more than just famous white-sand beaches and secluded palm trees. This island is like no other, with waterfalls, rainforests, live volcanoes, and black sand beaches.

Pro tip: Remember that a trip to Hawaii goes beyond just the hotel, pool, and beach. Your team should create a roster of activities that employees can choose from. You can cover surfing classes for your active teammates or cultural center visits for those who want to learn about Hawaiian culture.

2. Florence, Italy

Often overshadowed by Rome, Florence is a hidden treasure offering a perfect blend of adventure and tranquility. It’s a vibrant, open-air museum often called the “Jewel of the Renaissance.” World-renowned art, exquisite cuisine, and outstanding architecture are all found here. Visitors can experience culture, eat some drool-worthy food, and shop for leather goods here.

Just a short journey from Florence, the rolling hills of Tuscany provide a stunning contrast. Visitors can explore ancient cities, go off-roading, and drink Chianti wine.

High-quality incentive properties like the Four Seasons Hotel Firenze, St. Regis Florence, and the Belmond Villa San Michele offer exceptional service, combining luxury with the region's artistic heritage.

Pro tip: Remember that your team will need a way to get around the area. Provide guidance on using the train or offer shuttle services to take participants from place to place.

3. Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Beyond its capital, Costa Rica reveals its true attraction in Guanacaste province. Exceptional properties like the Four Seasons Resort and Andaz Costa Rica grace the Papagayo Peninsula, offering quintessential Costa Rican experiences: exquisite cuisine, stunning landscapes, and occasional monkey visits.

Best for: Costa Rica is known for eco-tourism. If your team is more adventurous, this may be the perfect incentive trip destination. Visitors can indulge in beachfront leisure, water sports, ziplining, and jungle tours.

Southward, Playa Conchal hosts upscale resorts such as Westin Reserva Conchal and W Costa Rica, providing luxurious beaches and event spaces for an unforgettable incentive experience.

4. San Francisco, California

San Francisco‘s innovation, natural beauty, and urban charm make it a favorite among incentive travelers. You can’t miss the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island. There’s a lot of culture to soak up in the city’s diverse neighborhoods.

San Francisco's culinary scene is complemented by a vibrant arts scene. It’s a great place for urban and nature exploration, with its parks and outdoor spaces.

Sales teams can participate in team-building activities in a vast redwood forest and immerse themselves in San Francisco's urban environment.

Best for: If you’re looking for an offsite or kickoff location, San Francisco is a great option. You’re in the heart of the tech scene, and the businesses around you can inspire your sales team to reach new targets.

5. Mallorca, Spain

You can‘t beat Mallorca’s beautiful beaches, crystal clear waters, and nice weather. It's somehow the perfect combination of massive mountains, historic buildings, and incredible food. There are even olive oil and wine-tasting experiences that you can add to your agenda.

Pro tip: If you choose Mallorca, consider adding cultural immersion activities to your programming. A flamenco dance lesson reflects the local culture, and a mosaic-making class lets you dive into Mallorcan art.

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    6. Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

    Cabo San Lucas is a popular choice for corporate incentive travel, particularly with U.S. groups. Everything about it is perfect year-round: the perfect climate and the perfect water activities.

    Whether you’re into farm-to-table tastings or more hands-on cooking classes, you can sample it all here. You can even dabble in more creative endeavors like sugar cranium or on-web website online dance lessons.

    Pro tip: If your team is looking to provide VIP treatment, consider booking a trip at an all-inclusive resort. This may be easier for you to coordinate than finding activities, covering food, and paying for a hotel separately.

    7. Bali, Indonesia

    Bali is the perfect tropical paradise for incentive travel. It‘s got beautiful beaches and surfing spots, but don’t forget to visit Bali’s temples and art scene for a glimpse of Balinese culture.

    You can do everything from whitewater rafting and jungle hiking to yoga retreats and traditional cooking classes on the island. That includes:

    • Hands-on Balinese cooking lessons.
    • Serene yoga classes by the Ayung River.
    • Workshops with local artisans on traditional Balinese art forms.

    Best for: Bali is famous for wellness retreats and spirituality. If your business is in the wellness space, offering an incentive trip to Bali may be a natural fit.

    8. Disneyland or Disney World

    International travel may not appeal to all of your employees. Some may prefer a trip to Disney. After all, it’s the happiest place on earth for a reason. If you go for this option, your team should provide hotel accommodations, park admission, and an amount dedicated to dining and entertainment.

    Pro tip: Consider adding a companion pass as a part of the reward. Your top performers will likely want to bring loved ones along with them — whether that be a spouse or one of their kids.

    9. Queenstown, New Zealand

    Queenstown is a paradise for adventurers with breathtaking views. Experience Maori culture with traditional dance, music, and food.

    With its natural beauty and first-class restaurants, this city has it all. Take scenic wine tastings, art classes influenced by local culture, or outdoor yoga sessions.

    Explore nearby majestic fjords, immerse yourself in Maori culture, and take in the Queenstown skyline with panoramic views. You can reward good teamwork in Queenstown thanks to its natural splendor and cultural diversity.

    Best for: Providing a wide range of experiences in one location, Queenstown is an excellent choice for group incentive travel.

    10. Bora Bora, French Polynesia

    Famous for crystal-clear water, sunny beaches, and coral reefs, groups will love the natural beauty, high-end resorts, and activities this island has to offer. Learn about Polynesian culture through guided tours, dances, and crafts.

    You can snorkel in vibrant lagoons, scuba dive, and relax on the beach.

    Pro tip: The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort epitomizes this paradise with overwater bungalows and beachfront villas, offering a secluded retreat for incentive groups.

    Inspiring Corporate Achievements with Incentive Journeys

    Sales incentive travel is a powerful motivator to ignite a collective drive for success. They create unforgettable experiences that connect teams and strengthen company values. Instead of strengthening crew cohesion, this method increases productivity. This is funding in crew spirit that results in measurable enterprise success.

    Editor's note: This article was originally published in July 2014 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.


    Topics: Sales Contest

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