A Step-By-Step Guide to Offering an Incentive Program

Your team works hard. You want to motivate and reward them for their dedication and their wins — because, ultimately, their success is your success. What better way to do that than by offering your top performers with an awesome travel incentive program and a side of VIP treatment? 

While a fully planned group trip is of course an incredible experience for your winners, it also comes with huge benefits for your company, including:

When thinking about launching a travel incentive program, it can seem a bit overwhelming. But that’s what we’re here for. We help walk you through every step, making sure details are taken care of, and your event will be one to remember. 

There are four basic steps to developing a successful travel incentive program: 

  1. Set your goals
  2. Define your travel experience
  3. Promote your program
  4. Determine your results

Let’s break it down a bit, shall we? 

Set Your Incentive Program Goals

Set Your Incentive Program Goals

As a leader, we are willing to bet you are already well-versed in setting lofty goals. In fact, if you are reading this, you likely already have some stretch goals in mind.

It is important to set yourself up for success when you’re building the foundation for your incentive travel program. But where do you start?

First, identify what you want your incentive program to accomplish. Is it to increase sales and profit margins? Reduce mistakes or accidents? Inspire a more motivated team? Provide team building experiences? Improve employee or customer retention? All of the above? 

Once you’ve chosen your goals to focus on, think about the people you need to motivate to reach these goals.

Who is your target audience? Many times, it’s a subset of your employees, like a sales team or a customer service department, or maybe it’s the full team to inspire reaching company-wide goals. Or perhaps it’s your customers you want to engage.

Whoever your target audience is, it is important to establish qualification guidelines that are clear and challenging, yet achievable. Include both qualitative and quantitative metrics that are required to win the trip. Then, project a conservative estimate for how many people you think will win the award.

Designate someone internally who can be responsible for administering, tracking and promoting the program. Maybe that’s you, or maybe it’s another team member. Either way, the Achieve team can offer support to this person every step of the way. 

Define Your Incentive Program Contest Details

Define Your Travel Experience

With travel incentives, you have the opportunity to give your most loyal stakeholders the trip of a lifetime. They deserve a luxurious experience for their hard work and dedication. And you deserve to have a little fun with it, too. 


First, set your budget. Everyone wants to shoot for the stars, but it’s most important to be realistic. The good news is, our team at Achieve excels at finding amazing deals with our network of destination vendors, so we can help you stretch those budget dollars. 

Next, outline your contest period. This is the specific timeframe your potential award winners have to aim towards reaching the contest goals. This could be the calendar year or even a six-month period. Once the promotion period is set, decide which month you would like to host your travel incentive. Best practices are to set the trip dates within a month or two of the promotion period ending. In doing so, your winners will feel their reward soon after they have reached their goals. 

And finally, come up with a name for your program. Whether it’s “President’s Club,” “Chairman’s Circle,” or “Apex Earners,” make sure it brings in an element of exclusivity and a VIP vibe, and consider spicing it up with some of your values.

Lastly, think about what type of trip experience will best motivate your target audience and their unique demographics. Does a domestic exploration or an international jaunt sound more appealing? Are they into food? History? Different cultures? Should it be relaxing or adventurous? 

Determine the length of your trip (4 – 5 nights is most common) and what kinds of authentic and memorable events and tours you want to incorporate for your attendees. Get creative, and have fun!

Incentive Program Pro Tip

Achieve’s team of destination and experience specialists can advise you on trending destinations, leading resorts, and unique experiences that will knock the socks off your award-winners. 

Promote Your Incentive Program

Promote Your Travel Incentive Program

When your goals and details are set, it’s time to coordinate an engaging launch event to introduce the incentive program to your audience and get them excited about earning the group trip. At the launch event, you’ll outline the rules and qualifications. Make it fun! Think of ways you can get your team hyped up and ready to start as soon as the program launches. 

This isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it kind of thing, though. Schedule monthly touch-points and hype-ups to keep the incentive top-of-mind year-round (or throughout the contest period). When the time is coming to close out the contest for the year, think about how you want to announce and notify winners. 

Determine Your Results

Determine Your Results & Host Your Trip

Now, plan how you’ll determine and document your program’s success. The investment you put into your incentive program should yield significant results far beyond your bottom line.

Once you know how many award winners reached your contest goals, you can calculate the ROI of your travel incentive program. Test out this formula:


Now it’s time to serve the host and welcome your most loyal, top performers to a trip of a lifetime. Following the experience, you will have another opportunity to evaluate your qualitative metrics in the post-trip surveys and messaging.

You’ll want to hear straight from your attendees about what worked, what didn’t, and how they felt about the program itself. Ask questions like, “What was the most memorable part of your trip?” and “If you win a future incentive trip, would you prefer it to be at the same destination or somewhere new?” You can ask attendees to provide candid feedback about the welcome experience, tours and events, location, program staff, hotel, and any other aspect of the trip. 

You can then use the results to inform any kinds of adjustments to your program. Because you documented everything, it should be simple to tweak the process, deliverables, and experiences to keep creating amazing incentive travel year after year for your top performers.

Incentive Program Pro Tip

The average ROI of a properly structured travel incentive program is 112%.

From concept through delivery (and beyond), the Achieve team serves as your strongest advocate and partner in creating a travel incentive program that will delight your top stakeholders.

Our services deliver professional, outstanding results at every step of your journey. We can help with program design, theme development, event logistics, marketing, and messaging with the added benefit of our international expertise and exceptional customer service. 

Ready to get started? Start dreaming up your trip by filling out our travel incentive first-timers survey. This will help you think through your goals and program preferences.

Want a sounding board today? Contact Team Achieve and we can help you start building out the blocks to your travel incentive program right away.

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