Top Tips for Planning Successful Incentive Programs

Incentive programs are a fantastic way to drive performance and motivation within your business, by rewarding your employees for their hard work, commitment and results. Whatever your objective, from meeting national, regional or individual sales targets, to driving service excellence or living your corporate values, incentive programs work by recognising and rewarding individuals for their performance.

It can be a challenging task to develop and deliver a successful and suitable incentive program. To help you make the most of your business goals, Event Travel Management (ETM) share their top 5 tips for planning your next incentive program.


Ultimately, running an incentive program is about driving results for your company, and rewarding your employees for their efforts in meeting those goals. Make sure you have clearly defined objectives from the outset, and ways to track and monitor your progress throughout the incentive period. Are you setting national, regional, locational and individual sales targets? Are you improving customer service or creating brand ambassadors across stores or divisions? If so, does each manager or employee have easy access to monitor and track their performance against their individual and group goals, to ensure ongoing motivation and complete performance transparency? ETM provides our clients with sophisticated incentive tracking technology which enables you to set goals, track performance and keep your workforce informed of their performance throughout the entire incentive program.

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Knowing and understanding your attendee’s demographics is key to planning a successful incentive trip. Ask yourself questions that will help you develop an idea of what the majority of the group would find a worthwhile reward for their hard work – what will motivate them to meet your business’s goals? Questions to think about might include:

  • Are the majority of your participants male or female?
  • What is the age range of the attendees?
  • Are they relaxed or adventurous?
  • Are the group familiar with one another?

Everybody is different, knowing your demographic will ensure you plan an appropriate reward experience for your audience – whether that be an international adventure-filled experience with cultural encounters, or a relaxing one-day getaway.



While a typical meeting can take six months to plan, an incentive program requires extra time and can require a 12-18 month lead time. Adequate planning time enables ETM to work with you to ensure all the details are correct; from planning your business goals and how to track performance, picking the right incentive experience, to the trip’s teaser campaign. Part of the planning process includes researching destination trends, ensuring availability for your group and finding some key wow-factor experiences to include on the trip. From team-building surf-lessons to a company branded cultural dinner hosted at an international landmark, planning becomes imperative with large group bookings. Some homework for you would be to check school holidays or major events, not just from your port of origin but also the destination you are heading to. If travelling internationally, keep in mind travel insurance, vaccinations and the effect that exchange rates might have to the final cost of your event.

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A question we always get asked is: “Should our event have its own logo and branding, or should we use our company look and feel?” The simple answer is: a company has a brand, while an event has a theme or sub-brand. The event’s theme should be reflected in every touchpoint of the event – from the incentive tracking software to the online registration forms and information website/app, to the collateral that your attendees receive throughout the experience. It’s important to ensure the event’s theme compliments and aligns with your company’s primary brand, and doesn’t compete or cause confusion.

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Remember that your incentive experience is a reward for your top performers, but for large organisations can often be an experience enjoyed with relative strangers. Your delegates should be your brand’s biggest ambassadors, so make sure they are having a great time from the outset and that they share their great experiences with the rest of your workforce – no-one will want to miss out on your next incentive! Be sure to create a warm and interactive ‘Welcome function’ which enables delegates to mingle and get to know each other. Or ask ETM to build your very own incentive program mobile app, enabling delegates to virtually meet prior to travel, and share their experiences with colleagues and family throughout the journey.


Incentive programs offer companies an opportunity to recognise top performers, and to motivate employees and resellers to reach their targets. Ensure your investment is worthwhile by planning the right incentive trip or program to suit both your company’s and attendees’ needs.


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