micePLACES.com The Magazine
NOV/DEC 2012
Incentive magazine, adds that “corporate sales leaders are starting to
ask whether younger top performers [are thinking], ‘Give me my five
nights so I can go where I want, when I want, and with whom I want.’”
Aside from workplace demographics, people’s travel preferences
have also changed. Years ago, a large percentage of Americans used
to travel in group tours. Today more and more prefer to travel on their
own. And with the increase of two-income families, people have less
flexibility in their schedules, so they can’t always travel when the group
is supposed to go. Finally, some award recipients have indicated in
follow-up surveys that they would like their award to be a trip “away
from the workplace.”
Given this new reality – and coupled with the emergence of
employee engagement as a bonafide human capital initiative – program
planners are reexamining their incentive programs from top to bottom,
including when, where and how travel rewards are being selected
and incorporated.
What Are They Fanatical About?
Here’s an example of how travel incentives have changed in recent
years: Traditionally, a top performer considering a travel reward might
have been able to select (with enough rewards points) a pre-packaged
resort vacation in the Bahamas, Dominican Republic, or Virgin Islands
from the program catalog. Airfare/hotel, but that’s pretty much it. A
choice” of one airline and one hotel chain. Maybe it included a
spouse; maybe that involved an additional surcharge. Perhaps an
all-inclusive” resort, or a gift card to cover meals and incidentals.
The employee did a lot of the packaging and detail work to get things
squared away, usually working with an outside provider to book flights
and room nights.
That’s the old model. Today employers are increasingly going for
a more personal touch. Let’s say your top performer is an art lover or a
wine connoisseur. How do you know this? “What motivates employees
today does vary somewhat from person to person,” says motivation
guru Bob Nelson. “You can take some of the mystery out of your
search for a worthwhile employee incentive program by discussing the
topic with your employees and asking them individually what motivates
them – either one on one by having them list items on an index card
or by completing a simple questionnaire. This will help you learn more
about those things they value.” In other words, find out what they’re
fanatical about and build a program just for them.
Personalization. That’s what it’s all about. How much more
motivated do you think that person would be to achieve their program
goals if, instead of handing them a catalog full of merchandise and
vacation packages to places they’ve already been, you told them “Hey,
I know you’re really into viticulture. How about if you meet your targets
this quarter we send you and your spouse to Burgundy to spend a
week touring six different French vineyards? Something we designed
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Individualized Travel Incentives Gain Favor
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