5 Reasons to Be Excited About Incentive Travel in 2022

Erica White
Erica White

couple taking a selfie on a European incentive travel trip

As soon as the new year started, I felt my adrenaline rising and my mind racing about what incentive travel adventures lay ahead of me. The thought of people bonding over shared experiences and learning about various countries and cultures brought a smile to my face.

Traveling is always a humbling experience as it lets us witness and experience all the world has to offer. It’s the reason I fell in love with incentive travel in the first place.

And something about traveling this year just feels different. In a good way. Everyone’s getting the itch to escape their usual day-to-day and ask themselves, “Where to next?!”

What’s different about 2022? Well, we have some thoughts. Here are 5 reasons everyone’s excited about incentive travel.

1. Travel Offers an Escape From Routine

People are craving connections. And craving a moment (or if you’re like me, days or weeks) to disconnect from work and life, and reconnect with themselves and other cultures.

Some want to see what the #vanlife rage is all about. Others want a slow and local travel escape to connect with communities and cultures. And others are ready to check off another country from their never-ending bucket list.

No matter the purpose, people are ready to pack their bags and set off for the next destination to escape their (maybe mundane) daily routine.

2. Novel Experiences Evoke Positive Emotions

You know that feeling when you get to experience something before anyone else?

Well, there’s a reason. The dopamine rush is great. But it’s more than a quick, good feeling.

Novel experiences capture our attention, meaning we’re more likely to put down our phones and be present in the moment. Evidence shows simply being more present can improve our mood and happiness. Just ask Dr. Laurie Santos, a cognitive scientist who teaches Yale’s wildly popular “Psychology and the Good Life” course.

“The experience of novelty, or going to places you had never been before, actually seemed to have an even larger association with positive emotion on that day.”—Dr. Santos

3. More Than Ever, Top Performers & Employees Deserve a Wow-Worthy Trip

“The Great Resignation” is real, but there’s a way you can sidestep it.

Everyone’s got this pent-up energy to travel, especially after events cancelled the last year or two.

Without incentive travel programs, people don’t always feel recognized for their hard work.

Incentive travel proves year after year that winners feel valued and more motivated following a trip. Intentionally reward top performers and create meaningful connections to keep them around your organization for the long term.

Related: Unsure if now’s the time to put on a corporate event? We’ve got your answer. Read about how corporate events can improve the employee experience.

4. Personalization Continues to Make Individuals Feel Valued

Personalization is more than putting an attendee’s name on every communication. Are you finding out what they like and dislike before the event?

Asking attendees questions pre-event opens the doors to personalize everything on the trip. And we mean everything. Tailored event gifting. Dietary preferences. Favorite drinks on arrival.

Listen closely to what attendees really want to make them feel included and welcomed at all points on the trip.

Related: How are you making attendee experiences matter? Download our white paper “Hyper-Personalizing Your Attendee Experience With Data.”

5. Creative Gifting Makes a Big Impact

I know, I know. You hear the word creative and automatically think cha-ching, cha-ching. But that’s not the case.

Event gifting and inclusions often go unappreciated. No, really.

Many incentive travel trip attendees can afford to buy gifts on their own. Usually, the trip gifts get tucked away in their bags, never to be thought of again.

However, in post-event surveys, attendees share it’s the thoughtful event gifting details that matter. Gifts tied to the destination and personal interests versus new, expensive electronics make experiences better.

Getting creative with gifting can be simple, yet meaningful.

  • Branded backpacks to those going on adventure activities
  • Relaxation products to encourage rejuvenation after a long day exploring the area
  • A thoughtful note from executives sharing the value each individual brings to the organization

Related: Ideas to rethink the approach to incentive travel is right at your fingertips. Literally. Read more about adding pizzazz to your next program.

Incentive Travel’s Purpose Remains Unchanged

Contributors want to feel awarded for their hard work—and connected with their organization. Incentive travel continues to do both. Not to mention, trips are proven to increase sales and profits year after year. It’s a win-win!

How can you go above and beyond on your next incentive travel trip? Read more about refreshing the incentive travel experience.     

Erica White

Erica White

With more than 15 years of planning and operating global travel and incentive experiences, Erica’s expertise helps clients produce awe-inspiring events. She excels in logistics and operations, and her attention to detail is second to none. Creating strong and trustworthy relationships is critical in this industry, and Erica works hard from day one to build relationships with new clients through an intentional onboarding process. She also ensures all ITA Group team members are set up to plan and execute client programs straight out of the gate. Erica holds a degree in journalism and mass communication from Drake University. Erica is a dog lover and enjoys experiences of all kinds, so she’s typically planning her next trip or excursion with friends and family.