The world of incentive travel is changing – it’s no longer just about the destination. It’s about an immersive, engaging experience. Incentive travel budgets are continuing to grow and optimism is high.

The challenge that companies are facing in their selection of incentive rewards, however, is that because the average employee travels in their private life, they expect more from incentive experiences. Why should companies be going all in for their employees who are reaching the appropriate goals?

“The positive return on investment from these experiences is priceless. Employees feel motivated, celebrated, and eager to continue rising to the top for their companies,” says Amy Manzanares, senior vice president at LEO Events. Employees want to see and explore the world around them, and by opening those doors, companies create tantalizing opportunities that make them want to stay on board and push forward to gain the rewards they crave.

Incorporating destination-specific elements helps your attendees truly experience a destination. If you want to really get to know a destination, you’ve got to ditch the guided tour and hit the backstreets like a local. Exploring a new place through the eyes of a local leaves an impact – and at the end of the trip, it’s all about the takeaway.

Incentive excursions leave a lasting impression on employee engagement, loyalty, and recognition. So, pack your bags and pick a location. Here are three incentive travel trends to apply to your next trip:

  1. Personal Culinary Experiences

Food is the universal language, so give your guests a culinary experience they can’t get in any other place. Attendees now expect a heightened focus on local food and wine or a craft beer. Since experience matters, consider offering attendees the chance to take a pasta-cooking class in Italy, for example. Afterall, there’s no better way to feel like a local than to eat like one.  

  1. Volunteering on Vacation

Companies strive to demonstrate Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) through worldwide community service projects – and what better way to do this than during an incentive trip? No matter where you go in the world, there’s a local cause that would appreciate the time and energy of your attendees. Guests will leave with a sense of gratitude towards being able to make a difference in that community.

  1. Authentic Activities

Incentive travelers desire new experiences, especially younger Millennials. Look to your location for inspiration – incentive travel is all about being experiential; creating immersive experiences your attendees they’ll remember for a lifetime. If you’re headed to Africa, try a luxury glamping or hot air ballooning experience. This offers something slightly different to the usual four-wheel drive safari, yet still brings guests close to wildlife in their natural habitat – and doesn’t compromise on comfort. Collaborating with destination partners to offer activities that are unique to the location can be the icing on the cake for an incentive trip.

LEO Events is an award-winning, Certified Woman-Owned Business based in Tennessee recognized by many of the industry’s premier publications — including BizBash, Event Marketer, and Special Events.