Almost everyone knows the three R’s of education – reading, writing and ’rithmetic, but most travel professionals probably don’t know that the three R’s are also one of the best ways to start the process of selecting your next incentive travel destination.
As an incentive travel planner, the three R’s that you need to keep in mind when selecting a destination are:
Let’s start with Relevance. Your destination, the sites, activities and vibe on offer need to be relevant to your group. That may seem obvious, but it’s deceptively so, because Relevance operates on a number of levels. There’s the top level, where you think about things like the composition of the group in terms of age range, gender, personality (think introvert vs. extrovert!), interests and energy level, but the Relevance of your destination goes beyond that.
It encompasses your company’s or client company’s vision, mission and goals. For instance, if environmentalism or inclusiveness is a big part of the company’s vision, an exclusive golf resort that’s part of a members-only club might not be such a good choice.
Or if the company is focused on growing in emerging markets, an up-and-coming destination in South America, Africa or Asia should probably trump Paris.
On the other hand, if it’s a traditional luxury brand seeking to reinvent itself, maybe Paris IS the perfect destination, but you turn it on its head with activities like a Banksy street-art hunt, eat at pop-up restaurants and listen to Millennial speakers talk about why they prioritize experiences over ownership.
Recency, unlike Relevance, really is pretty straight forward. An incentive should never, ever be the same old same old. So, you definitely shouldn’t go to a city or country they’ve been to recently. But you also shouldn’t have them do their ninth cooking team activity.
When thinking about where to go, don’t just think in terms of countries. Also think continents… And take a new perspective – think about languages. Are you always going to English-speaking or largely English-speaking destinations? Exploration and discovery never happen when participants are in their comfort zone, so toss in some Spanish or Swahili, Thai or Turkish…
And, of course, what you need to make all of this happen is Responsiveness, a partner that spans the globe, is best-in-class in every market where they operate, listens, understands and has their fingers on the pulse of the best there is to be found, everywhere around the world. But we’ll sign off before this starts sounding like a sales pitch :)