Has your incentive trip gone up in smoke? Could you rise from the ashes with a reward re-think?

I was talking to some clients the other day who were boiling over at the cancellation of their Top Performer Incentive Trips, caused of course, by the Icelandic eruption. A year of detailed logistical planning, an exhaustive consideration of the programme options, a well developed communication programme to help individuals achieve culminating in an announcement in February of the winners who would travel in April. And then, everything went up in smoke!

So what are your alternatives?

Obviously the best course of action is to re-organise the event for another date. An incentive trip has a much wider impact than just reward and getting your top performers together on a balloon ride over the Zambezi river has a tremendous impact on their likelihood to co-operate during their normal business lives. However, re-organising the event does throw up a whole series of headaches. What’s the availability of the hotel, the CEO / Presidents, your participants and what impact will that have on your budget? How much will you incur through cancellation fees?

Sometimes, it’s best to draw a line under it all and offer your participants a one-off alternative by converting to a more flexible reward – for example an Individual Travel Incentive delivered through a personal travel cheque. You still provide a travel award, the budget can be minimised and the recipient is then able to choose a personal holiday of their choice at the best time or them. The winners were still able to network through a congratulatory one-off event at a UK venue such as the Cirques de Soleil, powerboating in the Solent or a private room at the Ivy. Still memorable, but with less impact on your budget.

A number of our clients took this approach  during the financial crisis in 2008 / 2009. It was so effective that they have since re-structured their incentives to incorporate both personal and group travel. So talk to your Agency about the options they can provide and your incentive might just erupt with success in 2011!

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