Odds are if somebody is qualified for incentive travel, they’ve also overwhelmed themselves with work obligations. They could use a vacation to finally relax and recharge for even greater success! Companies can send their superstars on trips, and either have them coming home exhausted or revitalized.

 I know which trips I want my employees taking.

There are wonderful opportunities to provide incentive travel that nourishes the soul, calms the mind, and strengthens resolve. It’s needed too. Some 78% of workers feel their job is stressful and some 75% of all health care costs go to preventable chronic diseases like obesity, diabetes, and stroke.

”Work is an essential and rewarding part of all of our lives, but not the only part of it, and sometimes it’s hard to find the balance. Progressive companies are encouraging a healthy balance between work and personal responsibilities for their team, and seeing the benefit of it. In today’s competitive labor market, these work-life balance practices are truly essential for employee retention, and for us as DMC’s that want to stay thought leaders and innovators in the incentive industry space, our programs also need to reflect this progressive way of thinking.” says Aoife Delaney, Director of Marketing and Sales at the DMC Network. 

“Wellbeing is unfortunately still often an afterthought in our industry, when it should be the first thought, and the area that we need to focus on when developing as an incentive travel professional,” she adds. 

Stay Put

Planners can send their winners to a location that is more about staying put than traveling all over the place.  You can do this because many of today’s resorts have extensive wellness amenities. On the flip side, there are some participants that want to be active and are more interested in adventure travel, says Ira Ozer, founder of Innovation Meetings. “If possible, it’s a good idea to consider an active alternative, or at least survey participants about their interests.”

Healthy Food and Activities

These days more and more hotels and resorts are putting organically grown and locally sourced food on the menu and may even have a few classes on how to prepare and cook healthy food.  As far as healthy activities, resorts are offering sunset yoga and Pilates, tennis or golf. Not to mention resorts that are on the beach for swimming, paddle boarding and more. “Why not have a dance party every night, encouraging people to move and get involved?” says Ozer.

“Our clients aren’t asking for the mini Olympics anymore,” says Marilyn Marusa, DMCP, CIS, PRA Business Events. “But they do want wellness options incorporated in their programs like walking and running options, massage and even oxygen stations. We’ve even had breaks where we add a golf swing station or we bring in a stretching coach.”

Most resorts also offer spa services– whether it’s a massage, acupuncture, chiropractic adjustment, Reiki energy work, hot stones, salt scrubs, etc., there’s nothing like time at the spa to relax and nourish one’s self.  Ozer suggests the company pay for these services plus the tip so winners have one less thing to worry about.

Mental Health

You can no longer discuss wellness without approaching the subject of mental well being. Whether it’s how to manage relations, deal with addictions, or managing the inner dialogue,

many resorts have classes and coaches to help in this area.  “It’s important for the sponsoring company CEO or senior executive explain to everyone that the trip is intended to be relaxing and everyone should be themselves and not maintain any kind of corporate “armor.”  No one will be watching or evaluating them on the trip,” says Ozer.

No TV, WIFI, etc. – we are so uber-connected that sometimes the best thing is to unplug completely. Often, this is the reality of some resorts due to their unique locations. 

Finally, don’t forget loved ones left behind.

 ”When looking at incorporating more well being into our lives in this industry, why not look to the loved ones we are leaving at home while we travel?  How motivating to our mental well-being to hear that a partner or spouse receive a bouquet of flowers or a gift for their children and a note that reminds them that we know how hard it can be to have a partner that works in our industry and thanking them for ‘loaning’ their partner to us for the event?  How would gestures like these improve the engagement of our delegates when on site at an incentive event, trade show or sales mission,” asks Delaney.  

Don Phin is a recovering attorney, presenter on emotional intelligence in leadership and sales, and an executive coach. He lives in beautiful Coronado, CA. Visit his website www.donphin.com where you can find free books, reports, tools and more!