New Stats Show Incentive Travel’s Value Is Greater than Ever

December 4, 2018 aichotelgroup

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There have been many studies done over the years showing that the perceived value of incentive travel programs to eligible employees—not just the employees who earn the travel award—is noticeably greater than what the program actually costs per employee. In other words, if you simply gave each winner an amount of cash equal to the cost of sending him or her and a companion on an award trip, that cash would not bring them nearly the same enjoyment and satisfaction as the incentive experience. For companies, that satisfaction is the huge benefit of offering travel awards.

And in light of the most recent survey results from recruitment firm Glassdoor, those incentive travel programs are needed more than ever. Why? Because the average American worker uses only 54 percent of his or her eligible vacation days each year. In fact, only 23 percent of employees take all of the time they are entitled to — and nearly 10 percent take no paid time off at all! And when it comes to salespeople, we all know this: On the few vacation days they actually do take, those reps still respond to emails and calls for part of the day. In short, they don’t relax as much as they need to.

Too often, employees begin the year expecting to take the vacation time they’re entitled to, but then scramble to use just some of those days as year-end approaches. So here’s one thing your company can do to make employees more refreshed and happy all year long: At the start of each quarter, remind your people to treat their paid time off like any other work project, and plan ahead. Even encourage folks to plan a single “mental break” day every so often—a day that involves sleeping late, eating a leisurely meal, and not much else. Such a message from management would build trust and affinity among your people, and improve their performance too.

But seeing that so many folks leave lots of vacation time on the table every year, your company could use incentive travel to be a hero–for instance, by offering a few tiers of incentive travel awards across a wider percentage of employees. There could be a mix of weekend trips for smaller achievements (some of which might be aimed at non-sales employees) to go along with the traditional four-, five- or seven-day trips that reward a year’s worth of solid performance. Of course, those longer trips are the ones that we at AIC Hotel Group specialize in, working with companies to devise the perfect itinerary that relaxes, delights, and surprises attendees.

As far as the return on investment for incentive trips of any length, consider this: If your employees are even a little like the cross-section of employees who were surveyed by Glassdoor, then they are going to be extremely grateful and excited for the opportunity to go somewhere upscale and fun for a few days of doing whatever they desire—and not have to think about planning any of it.

The Glassdoor survey shows that in today’s work environment, incentive travel is even more valuable than we knew it was.


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