Hosting a travel incentive event comes with a lot of high expectations. Your winners have dedicated themselves to earning a highly coveted spot on your trip, and they (and their guest) are eager to experience the reward of their hard work.
As incentive planners, it is now up to us to lead events with two lenses: designing memorable – and often extravagant – experiences AND ensuring safety throughout the entire travel and event journey. Fortunately, those opulent, luxurious components quite seamlessly translate to safer, more streamlined services.
In this Safe Travels Blog, we highlight ten ways you can infuse luxury and safety into your award winners’ experiences:
Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. It allows approved travelers to enter a private, expedited line at the airport, eliminating the need to remove belts or shoes, laptops, and other large electronics from their bags.
The fee is $100.00 and requires the individual to fill out an extensive questionnaire, agree to a background check, and attend an interview.
If you are hosting an event where attendees are invited to bring a guest, offer to cover the cost for both individuals.
- Luxury & Safe: Shorter lines, smaller groups in security area
Airport boarding areas are usually bursting at the seams with people with standing room only. The experience can often be loud, crowded and overwhelming.
If you really want your attendees to enjoy elevated service at the airport, gift them private airport lounge passes. Private lounges typically have fewer people, complimentary food and beverages, and in certain destinations, amenities such as showers and napping rooms.
Some airports, like the Punta Cana International Airport in the Dominican Republic, even boast an outdoor swimming pool in their VIP Lounge.
- Luxury & Safe: Nicer, cleaner accommodations, food at their fingertips, beverage service, private bathrooms, smaller groups in lounge
Landing in a beautiful place and having to wait in long customs lines is not the best first impression for a destination. As a way to expedite VIP airport arrivals, some destinations have added a “Fast Pass” service. Once the VIP lands, they are typically greeted right at the gate and are taken swiftly to customs and immigration with no lines. Some airports also have lounges with food and beverages for guests to enjoy while they await their transportation.
Passes can range from $60.00 – $150.00 per person and need to be coordinated in advance.
A few destinations that offer this include Montego Bay, Jamaica, Panama City, Panama, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, Cartagena, Colombia, and Aruba.
- Luxury & Safe: Whisk through customs and immigration, smaller groups congregating
Looking for a way to give your winners the rock star treatment when it comes to ground transportation? Coordinate private vehicles for each of your guests.
Curious how you can do this on a conservative budget? Scope out hotel partners who provide this service. Specific Sandals properties include a Rolls Royce airport transfer in their highest room categories.
- Luxury & Safe: Guests in private, high-end vehicles away from crowded motorcoaches, no waiting for other guests to arrive for a group transfer
Do you want your guests to easily be able to book restaurant reservations, spa and gym appointments (something many hotels are now requiring for safety protocols), and taxi services? Or even have their bags unpacked and return to their room with a bubble bath drawn? Many high-end hotels are including (or offering at an extra expense) butler service. The butler can support many of your guests’ needs with a quick text request, and voila – their preferences are accommodated. As you’re selecting your next hotel partner, consider focusing your search on resorts that have butler service available.
- Luxury & Safe: All guest needs met with white-glove service
The travel day is filled with a lot of anxiety, and let’s be honest – a lot more germs. When your guests enter their room, leave a note and a laundry bag and offer to launder 4 pieces of clothing free of charge for each guest.
- Luxury & Safe: Guests feel cared for, clean, and refreshed
Nothing is quite as enchanting and comforting as having your favorite drink at your fingertips when you’re traveling. Ask your guests what their preferred drinks and snacks are during the registration sign-ups so you know exactly what they love and can make those items available in their guest room.
- Luxury & Safe: Surprise them with their favorite snacks and drinks, potentially alleviating bar crowding
A Hospitality Desk is typically set up in the hotel lobby and staffed by your event team or third-party planning partner. The staff serve as your event attendees’ private concierge and support them with anything they may need during the program: guidance about events, program inclusions, medical needs, departure information, and even last-minute requests such as marriage proposal set ups or anniversary celebrations.
- Luxury & Safe: Reduces guest anxieties and caters to your group’s needs
You’re bringing together your group because you want to celebrate their achievements and invite them to build new memories together. Make sure to give them easy ways to connect. Privatize a pool, cabana, bar, or a restaurant for certain times and days. You could even host pop-up restaurants that are just for your group. Depending on the size of your group, certain destinations have smaller boutique properties that can exclusively host your group and meet its specific needs.
- Luxury & Safe: Provide custom branded experiences on your trip, control your event environment by keeping your attendees together, and mingling less with outside guests
The Center for Disease Control requires that international arrivals to the United States provide a negative COVID-19 test result prior to boarding. While many hotels have set aside meeting rooms for mass testing, rethink how you want to design the testing experience. Consider coordinating tests for guests in the privacy of their own room. Or plan a private event just for your guests and create an ambiance with live music.
- Luxury & Safe: Make testing more enjoyable, less stressful, and more accessible
These are just a few ideas our planning team came up with to elevate the attendee experience. Are you looking for guidance on incorporating these luxury services into your next event? Or support with defining creative ways your budget can accommodate some of these additions? Schedule a call with our team today.
Interested in understanding all the ways a planning agency can support you and your next event? Read our blog Press the Easy Button on Planning to learn more.