Incentive Travel: What You Need to Know

What is incentive travel?

Incentive travel is a corporate effort to motivate employees, or sometimes partners. Usually, employees must meet a pre-defined goal (sales targets, for example), or be a top performer to qualify for the incentive. The travel often consists of group activities and team building exercises, combined with free personal time and networking opportunities. 

Travel incentives are all-expenses paid vacations. The trip can range from a few days to a week or more. Some companies offer incentives for employees to take their whole family, but that is more rare. As it is a company incentive, there must be something in it for the employer as well.

Does it really work?

Incentive travel is a great way to show recognition for employees outside of a cash bonus. While everyone loves cash, incentive travel benefits both the employer AND the employee. 

Not only is it a chance for employees to connect and make memories, it also boosts engagement and productivity when returning to work. Employers can get to know their employees and provide mentorship outside of the regular workplace.

For employees who do not earn the incentive, the very existence of the program can boost their motivation and drive to achieve more. It may seem like a more involved effort than typical monetary rewards programs, but often the trip is planned thoroughly through an outside source, and does not require as much financial investment than you may think. 

Check out this list of corporate retreat event planners to get your program started.

Not sure where to go for your next company incentive trip? Here are our top picks:


Best Value

Secrets the Vine, Cancun

Keep it classy and play it safe at Secrets The Vine, Cancun. This resort is highly rated, yet offers the most bang-for-your-buck when it comes to corporate retreats. Sandy beaches, live entertainment, and endless food and drink are guaranteed to please you and your team. This resort is a corporate favourite, and has tons of experience in travel incentive trips and activities.

The Four Seasons, Portugal

The Four Seasons hotel in Lisbon has it all - water views, proximity to the beach, cities to explore, customized group activities, and of course the luxury hotel experience (on a budget!)

The special feeling of being at a resort, all the while exploring the city and local life is not easy to find. This location ensures that all of your travellers are satisfied.


Most Luxurious

Park Hyatt, St Kitts

This Caribbean getaway is everything you look forward to at a corporate retreat. Pools, beaches, group activities, fine dining, and luxurious rooms, to name a few. Make your employees feel like pure gold at this 5-star resort!

Sparkling Hill Resort, British Columbia

This resort is combined with a 40,000 sq ft spa, where you and your team can focus on both physical and mental wellness. Sparkling Hill will cater your trip to your specific needs, with a particular goal in mind. By the end of your stay, not only will you have experienced absolute luxury, but you will have a new perspective on workplace habits and teamwork as well.


Most Unique

The Blue Lagoon, Iceland

The Blue Lagoon retreat is one to remember for years to come. This hotel and spa duo has everything you need to make your employees happy and comfortable. A day in the blue lagoon waters and dining as a group are more than enough to motivate your top performers. Not all company retreats should be packed with team-building exercises. This one is packed with surreal views.

Esalen Retreat, California 

Unique may not be the first word that comes to mind when considering California, but this meditation retreat most certainly is. With options for 3 or 5 day long workshops, your employees will get a chance to de-stress and reconnect with themselves. Adventures are fun, but taxing, and this one provides the opportunity to relax in a new environment while bonding with yourself and your team.


Incentive travel not your thing? Here’s our post on how to make corporate gifting sustainable, no travel required!

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