GROUP incentive travel comes with numerous challenges, ranging from budget constraints to unrealistic expectations and availability issues.
Industry professionals point out some things travel buyers need to keep in mind when organising incentive travel for large groups and offer tips on how to overcome them.
1. Start with the strategy Start with the strategy behind the trip. “Incentive programmes are put in place to achieve particular business objectives and the design of the incentive project must tie in with this strategy.” says Stephanie Moss, director Stephanie Moss Solutions.
2. Get creative with budget Budgets play a big role when organising incentives so it’s important to find ways of working around them. “We advise clients to be creative with their budgets,” says Joanne Visagie, marketing manager for Beachcomber. “For example, we suggest dinners that are possible within the half-board package but are still private, or suggest activities at the hotel that are not charged as a supplement, such as a mini Olympics.” Moss believes the way to overcome the budget is to plan properly and do detailed research and, of course, to be knowledgeable about destinations and the facilities, services and possibilities for add-ons available. She says it’s always crucial to select an appropriate destination for the budget. “The world offers fantastic business combined with leisure options. It requires knowledge of key destinations and a keen eye for costs to make the correct choice to recommend to a client,” she says. Visagie says all-inclusive deals can be an attractive option when working within a restrained budget. “Fully inclusive packages work extremely well, especially for the South African market. The packages are easier for the client to budget on as it leaves very little to settle at the hotel direct.”
3. Offer something unique Porsche Dumagude, sales and marketing manager of the Emerald Collection in Zanzibar, says travellers are increasingly looking for something truly unique and it is important that the incentive organiser and product supplier offer this. “I believe the process of creating an ‘experience’ deserves the most attention. Hand in hand with that you have to take into account the budget, logistically feasible programme delivery and attention to detail,” agrees Anton van den Heever, founder of Delivering the Dream Incentive Management Services.
4. Consider the group size Devising a sound incentive plan depends greatly on the size of the group. Moss says destination selection can be a challenge for large groups, as certain destinations might not have capacity. “The popular tourist cities all have large hotels, and options such as cruising work for large groups but the off-the-beaten-track, more tips for compiling a 7 great incentiveJanuary 2015 • TRAVEL BUYER 21 Groups & incentives TB1892SD exotic destinations cannot accept large numbers.” According to Visagie, flight availability can be a problem with large groups. “We try and work with the airlines and accommodate the groups on dates that they have larger aircraft. This is obviously only possible if the client is flexible with dates.”
5. Arrange activities for varying interests Incentive organisers might have to deal …read more