Incentive travel is an important component of a company’s incentive and motivation program. The gift of a unique experience has an enduring impression, and remains as one of the top motivators for employees. Incentive Gifts on the trip are an important way to reinforce and remind the recipient’s of their trip and how they got there. “Awards add another dimension to the program,” says Bravo Gonzalez, business development manager with Impact Dimensions, a Maritz holding company and preferred supplier. She adds, “Merchandise helps complement the experience. Every time the attendees see or use the gift, they remember the incentive trip they got through their company.”1 Providing a gift that highlights the destination and reminds them of their experience is an excellent way to reinforce the program’s message. One of the best ways to do this is through a local souvenir , artwork, or item that brings the sights, taste, or sound of the destination to mind.
In years past, it was common to give a gift each night and to focus solely on branded promotional items. However, this trend has been changing over to one or two gifts of higher value that are more focused on the destination. “This addition of a high-end, branded merchandise product is becoming more common in incentive travel programs, says Scott Siewert, vice president of sales for USMotivation. The traditional T-shirts, caps, and small gifts with company logos have been phased out, allowing planners to spend their budgets on one high-end, branded item, he adds. If a gift is done well – it’s a quality product and it’s nicely presented – it really puts a smile on a participant’s face,” says Siewert. “What used to happen years ago was that companies would give room gifts every night. Now, it’s pretty much relegated to the first and final night, due to budgetary constraints.” 2 Based on the new model of gifting, the most common business travel gifts are a welcome night gift, often filled with items to be used on the trip and then a final night gift that reminds the recipient of their trip.
For that welcome gift on the first night, items that can be used during the trip to increase their comfort are ideal. Consider a beach bag (everyone forgets to pack one) filled with water, snacks, sun lotion, a local guide book, or other items that will match to their activities. “Gifts are often something that can be used on the trip itself, like the binoculars that one of Siewert’s clients gave out the night before a whale-watching cruise. Choosing something local to the destination is also common”3. There are many ways to tie into the destination for this gift. One way is to include local snacks and goodies along with traditional favorites like nuts, chocolates, and granola bars. Another is to logo your bag with the program’s logo rather than the company logo, thereby reminding your guests of their trip.
There has also been significant growth in the Gift Event format. In this style of gifting, the guests are given more of a gift experience where they are able to choose their gift. “Maritz,” Bravo Gonzalez says, “is also trying to move clients toward a pick-a-gift format. This can be something like a Maui Jim kiosk, or simply a choice of items such as jewelry, electronics, or luggage.”4 The most well-known of these is Maui Jim’s sunglass hut, but this can also be done with other items as well. For example, the Fashion Fiesta where clients get to choose and learn how to wear a sarong/pareo and the men choose a traditional sea grass hat for use on the trip. Or the Artisan Fiesta, where guests choose from a variety of local artist’s gifts like jewelry and artwork. Or the Flower Market, where they can create a bouquet of fresh tropical flowers to enjoy in their rooms throughout the program. (For more options, click here). The advantage to this style of gifting is that the guests’ get to choose something that fits their personal taste (thereby increasing the likelihood that it will be used and not re-gifted) and the experiential aspect of the event provides a level of entertainment and encourages conversation and mingling among the guests.
In our experience, we’ve found that incentive gifts for business travel do provide positive value and help to reinforce the message of the program. In these days of reduced budget, it may be hard to do, but definitely strive to keep at least one night’s gifts in the program – and make it thematic and memorable to the trip. With a little bit of planning and research, a unique gift can be found that doesn’t break the budget.
1Gifts On the Trip By Leo Jakobson – October 1, 2012 – Incentive Magazine – http://www.incentivemag.com/Corporate-Gifts/Apparel-Sporting-Goods/Articles/Gifts-On-the-Trip/?source=sharethis
2 Gifts On the Trip By Leo Jakobson – October 1, 2012 – Incentive Magazine – http://www.incentivemag.com/Corporate-Gifts/Apparel-Sporting-Goods/Articles/Gifts-On-the-Trip/?source=sharethis
3 Gifts On the Trip By Leo Jakobson – October 1, 2012 – Incentive Magazine – http://www.incentivemag.com/Corporate-Gifts/Apparel-Sporting-Goods/Articles/Gifts-On-the-Trip/?source=sharethis
4 Gifts On the Trip By Leo Jakobson – October 1, 2012 – Incentive Magazine – http://www.incentivemag.com/Corporate-Gifts/Apparel-Sporting-Goods/Articles/Gifts-On-the-Trip/?source=sharethis