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5 Ways To Elevate Your Next Incentive Trip

When you find just the right way to motivate your team members, it’s a little bit like magic. Your employees are more than willing to put in the work required to earn the reward – which means that you’re more likely to crush your business objectives. Everyone wins!

If your formerly hardworking employees are starting to appear stagnant, it might be time to change things up a little bit. And one of the best ways to boost employee engagement is an incentive trip. At 360DG, we’ve had the pleasure of organizing many of these trips, including a wine-filled, relaxing trip to Napa that was packed with enticing tastings, unique group activities, and a whole lot of fun. Want to plan a retreat they’ll clamor to be a part of? Here are a few ways to create a simply irresistible reward.

Here are Some Ways to Level-Up Your Incentive Trip


Incentive trips can be highly beneficial for not only your employees as individuals but for your company as a whole. From a productivity perspective, a business term known as the “value-to-effort ratio” means that the greater the reward, the more work someone is willing to do to get it. (Would you be more motivated to reach a stretch goal for a gift card or an all-inclusive beach getaway?)

When it comes to loyalty, it’s well known that employees who feel truly valued are more likely to stay in their current roles – and it won’t just be your current workforce who feels the love. Highlighting incentive trips as part of your recruitment strategy can also help you attract and retain top talent. From the company’s viewpoint, every achieved goal means revenue growth. And when your top employees are out on their trips, posting to social media and wearing the company logo, it can also mean a huge boost for your brand recognition.


Announcing an incentive trip is only the beginning. As your employees work hard to earn their spot on the flight out, your team should be working to create a well-thought-out agenda, that isn’t overpacked or micromanaged, and that allows guests to spend time with each other exploring the destination. The first step is to research the location’s local culture and cuisine so that you can plan events that make your guests feel like locals.

Next, choose smart moments to celebrate not only the incentive winners, but also the person they brought with them. (It can be unnerving for a spouse or partner to travel with a group of coworkers who already know each other well – a little inclusion can go a long way to make them feel comfortable.) 360DG experts recommend keeping night one low-key to accommodate weary travelers: an early reception, delicious food and drinks, and a relaxed setting where people can chat without having to shout. It’s the perfect opportunity for employees to meet new colleagues or catch up with long-lost ones, and it sets the rest of the trip up for success.


Here, success is in the details. A few key enhancements can take your trip to the next level, including local gifts, top-talent musicians, a drone show, or activities your guests wouldn’t otherwise have access to, like VIP behind-the-scenes tours. All of that can sound expensive, but high-touch luxury doesn’t have to be a budget buster if you’re thoughtful about how to get the biggest impact for the investment. Even little touches can make a big difference – like chilled towels waiting for your guests when they arrive at baggage claim, an amenity package filled with necessities waiting for them in their hotel rooms, or personalized gifts like a monogrammed pillowcase or professional photos they can take home.

Regardless of your individualized gifts, however, there’s one must for a wow-worthy trip: clear and concise communication. An app that includes information, itineraries, and a place to connect with other travelers is the best way to accomplish this task, and your guests will appreciate having everything they need to know in one place. (For bonus points, set up a hospitality desk on-site to help with extra guidance.) 360DG’s list of ideas is long. If you’d like our help with finding the perfect ideas for your trip, we’re just an email away.


Turning this idea into reality will take a little bit of homework. It’s time to ask your guests about their preferences. Where would they want to go? What would they love to do while they’re on-site? What makes them most excited to be traveling there? Questions like these and more can help you create a profile of the type(s) of guests who will be joining you. And, if you notice that you have some high-energy adventures and some low-key travelers, you can offer different options, such as canoeing or touring a museum.

You can get as specific on the questions that you want (red or white?), but it’s important to always plan a food and beverage menu that’s inclusive of dietary restrictions and clearly labels all ingredients. Post-trip, be sure to collect feedback as well. What did they love the most? What could they have lived without? Over time, this data will help you refine and cater to your group’s preferences, no matter how diverse they might be.


The key to planning meaningful team bonding is to set up an activity that doesn’t include significant others. Hear us out: Most attendees won’t be fully engaged with their colleagues because they feel like they need to tend to their guests. To encourage full attention between team members, create one activity for them and a separate, thoughtful activity for all of the plus-ones on the trip – a spa day or cooking class, for example – so they are able to have a fun experience, too.

For your team-building activity, plan something unexpected (like canned food towers, dog house building, or tricycle racing, for example) that will get them out of their comfort zone. It’s a bit of a fine line, but asking your guests to take a small risk in front of their work peers will help them all bond and support each other. Another option, if many of your guests spoke about giving back in their initial surveys, is to arrange an activity where they can help leave a place better than they found it, such as a beach cleanup.

A Few Examples of Incentive Trips To Get You Started

Over the years, 360DG has planned and hosted many incentive trips. These are some of our favorites.


This is an incredible example of the power of hiring a DMC. 360DG took a completely blank concrete exhibit hall and transformed it into a multi-roomed, full-immersion experience. As a partner, we can use our industry connections to offer perks like cost-effective and unique venues.


On the fullest day of programming for this trip celebrating financial professionals, 360DG built and managed seven full location buildouts, including two oceanside breakfasts – one for team members and one for guests – a general team-meeting session, a community giveback team-building exercise, awards brunch, pool party, and a formal evening reception and dinner.

For added touches, the team ensured that the entertainment was unique for every event, a shopping shuttle for guests while the employees were in session, and a special, custom space that was perfect for couple photos. To create efficiencies in cost and time, 360DG was able to flip some of the locations quickly and give them completely new looks for their second function.

Ready to give your team the incentive trip they deserve? With over 40 years of event planning and event management experience, the 360DG team is ready to create a memorable program for your next incentive trip.

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