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12 Tips to Recharge Your Incentive Trips


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Fun, electrifying incentive trips are integral for many company gameplans. How does yours stack up?

If your annual incentive trip needs a little spicing up, look no further for some hot tips from industry insiders. Your program will be kicked into high gear in no time!

Published in: Travel
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12 Tips to Recharge Your Incentive Trips

  1. 1. Tia Benjamins | Senior Account Executive | Opus Agency Tiffany Cohen | Director of Client Services | Opus Agency 12 Tips to Recharge Your Incentive Trips
  2. 2. OPUS AGENCY 2 You’re putting together an incentive program for your team. Awesome! First and foremost, you must determine a framework of rules that will enable participants in your program to win. This framework should reflect your company’s values, culture, and accountability. Once that’s defined, the big question remains: How do you create an incredible incentive trip? Read on!
  3. 3. OPUS AGENCY 3 SKIP THE BLINDFOLD AND DARTS: Picking a Destination Choose your destination wisely—it will have huge implications for the tone and cost of your program.
  4. 4. OPUS AGENCY 4 PICKING A DESTINATION Jet off to foreign excitement or keep it close to home— it’s up to you. A COHESIVE TEAM fosters sound strategy and enables flawless execution. International destinations come with a sense of importance, and can be an exotic source of excitement. They also represent a significant increase in complexity and program cost. There’s still plenty of fun to be had without traveling long distances—domestic trips are often excellent options, especially for programs with limited budgets. If you can swing an international trip… 1
  5. 5. OPUS AGENCY 5 PICKING A DESTINATION Pick an amazing destination. Eschew the ordinary! EMPLOYEES LOVE bucket list destinations. Higher-than-normal travel costs will be outweighed by elevated results. Popular destinations that create buzz and excitement include Australia, New Zealand, Iceland, and African safaris. No matter where you end up, when you’re picking a destination you should… 2 “Employees love bucket list destinations”—plan your next #incentive trip to Iceland? @OpusAgency #eBook says yes:”
  6. 6. OPUS AGENCY 6 PICKING A DESTINATION Choose a location and venue that fits your team culture. ONCE YOU’VE ESTABLISHED the objectives you’re hoping to accomplish onsite, keep the specifics in mind when considering your venue. Does the resort layout help facilitate team togetherness, or are things a little more private? Are there outdoor and indoor options for planned activities? Will your employees feel comfortable in this environment? These are all important questions to ask. 3
  7. 7. OPUS AGENCY 7 DON’T FORGET TO WRITE: Communication Campaigns Once you’ve got your destination nailed down, it’s time to design and launch your communication plan.
  8. 8. OPUS AGENCY 8 COMMUNICATION CAMPAIGNS Build your incentive program around a fun, sophisticated communication campaign. YOUR COMMUNICATION CAMPAIGN is much more than a “know before you go” reminder to participants. It consists of a year-long series of internal communications that ignite excitement, drive interest and motivation, and provide regular updates on goal progress. At the same time, it can be a great avenue with which to reinforce the objectives and cultural touchstones you’re looking to highlight with your program. As for the design and style of your own campaign, you should… 4
  9. 9. OPUS AGENCY 9 COMMUNICATION CAMPAIGNS Build something modern and beautiful. CREATE A GORGEOUS, engaging communication platform that builds excitement among your employees and helps drive buy-in across your teams. With something as important as a communication campaign, it’s worth the extra time (and effort) to create something unique and memorable. Your attendees expect attention to detail and a sense of welcome from the program itself. These expectations should be mirrored in the thoughtfulness of your design and the warmth of your copy. And when thinking about your audience, don’t forget to… 5
  10. 10. OPUS AGENCY 10 COMMUNICATION CAMPAIGNS Talk to the home team—include spouses or significant others in your communications. CREATE A MAILER that speaks to the spouse or significant other—it can do wonders to build excitement and drive engagement among your employees. The level of dedication you’re asking of your employees has a direct effect on the home front. Engage and embrace this relationship and use it to expand and increase the efficacy of your communications campaign. 6 “Talk to the home team”—@OpusAgency #eBook says speak to spouses/partners for #incentive comms programs:”
  11. 11. OPUS AGENCY 11 PULLING IT OFF: Event Management Your communication program all leads up to the big event— which should go off without a hitch. Keep these top tips in mind when managing the event itself.
  12. 12. OPUS AGENCY 12 EVENT MANAGEMENT Avoid over-scheduling your attendees. SOMETIMES, freedom is the best reward. Fight the instinct to account for every minute of your attendees’ stay—be sure to include blocks of time to decompress, network, and recharge. They worked hard to get here, and some of the best teambuilding happens during the downtime, so let them choose how to unwind! When planning the schedule, it’s important to… 7 “Avoid over-scheduling your attendees” on #incentive trips. Top tips from the latest @OpusAgency #eBook:”
  13. 13. OPUS AGENCY 13 EVENT MANAGEMENT Take a considered approach to inviting children. IT IS ENTICING to offer a fun trip for the whole family, but the logistical implications are immense. Incentive trips should be considered business travel. You are bringing the best of the best together to meet, discuss, and bond with senior management—adding children to the mix can distract from these objectives. (If you do choose to include children, make sure to design a kid-specific track of activities.) There’s another possible source of complication to keep in mind… 8
  14. 14. OPUS AGENCY Having contingency plans in place is certainly best practice, but even the best laid plans can go awry. If things really go south, embrace the madness! Rain on your event can turn into memories you couldn’t possibly have planned. 14 EVENT MANAGEMENT Never trust the weather forecast—it can and will betray you. NO METEOROLOGIST is ever 100% certain. It’s absolutely mandatory to have a backup plan in place for all outdoor activities. Contingencies for rain are common, but don’t forget about the opposite problem— sometimes you’ll need snow but the ground is dry! Come prepared with alternatives for venues, activities, and even entire locations. 9
  15. 15. OPUS AGENCY 15 BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE: Effective Follow-up Beyond the successful execution of your program, it’s important to maintain momentum at the home office. Here are some fun ways to keep your incentive program running once the final flights home are wheels-up.
  16. 16. OPUS AGENCY 16 EFFECTIVE FOLLOW-UP Don’t let motivational campaigns end with the event. SENDING EMPLOYEES a trip-related gift and commemorative photograph after the fact is an easy way to cap off the incentive experience. It’s also an inexpensive way to extend your employees’ feelings of appreciation, and start building excitement for next year’s campaign. When you’re choosing gifts, it’s a good idea to… 10
  17. 17. OPUS AGENCY 17 EFFECTIVE FOLLOW-UP Mix it up with both high-quality take-home items and novelties to use right away. A GREAT WAY to build a long-lasting memory of your event is to give attendees something they’ll use for years to come. At the same time, providing something fun and simple, like branded sunglasses and flip-flops for a tropical trip, sets the tone of appreciation and encourages feelings of camaraderie and togetherness right from the get-go. Finally, the wrap-up of your event is a great time to… 11
  18. 18. OPUS AGENCY 18 EFFECTIVE FOLLOW-UP Kick-start the communication platform for next year’s program. THE BEST TIME to kick off next year’s incentive program is when the current one is closing. Spirits are high, happy memories are fresh, and people are feeling rejuvenated, recharged, and ready to take on a new challenge. Whether it’s during closing remarks onsite, or as part of a follow-up communication campaign, seize the opportunity—before the tans have faded! 12 “Best time to kick off next year’s #incentive program: while this year’s is closing. #toptips in @OpusAgency #eBook:”
  19. 19. OPUS AGENCY 19OPUS AGENCY Tiffany works as Director of Client Services at Opus. A highly detailed, solutions-oriented individual who is thorough in everything she touches, Tiffany makes an excellent addition to any event. Her work ethic and attention to detail have led her to work successfully with a number of our clients including Brocade, Charles Schwab, Good Technology, Intel, NetApp, VCE, and Salesforce. Tiffany joined Opus in 2011, bringing over 17 years of event management experience. Tiffany has a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Vanguard University, and a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) certification. An active member of the event industry, she served on the board of directors for Meeting Professionals International Orange County Chapter from 2009-2011, as well as the 2015 Advisory Board for Collaborate Marketplace. Her event background includes incentive programs, trade show management, user conferences, executive summits, fundraising events, and more. As Senior Account Executive for Opus, Tia manages key accounts, partnering with her clients to provide top-tier global event marketing services. Known for visualizing new ideas to help keep projects fresh and exciting, she prides herself on adding value while remaining steadfastly focused on the bottom line. Tia joined Opus at the beginning of 2015, bringing more than 20 years of event marketing experience, particularly in key positions at Northern California-based event management companies. She approaches each new client initiative with a clear perspective and open mind, and loves using her passion, experience and drive to accomplish her clients’ goals. Tia resides in the San Francisco Bay Area. When not flying for business, Tia can often be found in the blue skies over San Francisco Bay in a Royal Air Force British Bulldog Trainer.
  20. 20. OPUS AGENCYis a brand events and marketing agency. We create and manage hundreds of events and campaigns every year, all over the world, including things like strategic executive-level summits, immersive brand experiences, and conferences with 20,000 attendees. We have amazing people that share strong values, and a specific methodology that ties everything we do to customer success. We call it TeamCS. Interested in partnering with Opus to pull off your next killer incentive trip? Contact Kristin Waters.