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How do you Pick the Perfect Incentive Destination?

by Gemma | Aug 22, 2019 | Events |

It’s that time of year again – you’re starting to plan the company incentive. Enquiries are last minute because it’s taken a while to get sign-off, and you’re now racking your brains to think of the best destination to take the final lucky group to. It’s over a year out because you want to do a fantastic communication campaign. That means you can’t be sure of the “must-go” destination for the year of the incentive, so you’ve got to rely on research and opinions. Although you’ve got time, you’re releasing your first teaser for the trip is next week, so it would probably be best to know where you’re heading to! 

You’ll be googling best incentive destinations, or – if you’re really organised – you’ll have a list somewhere that you add to throughout the year as and when you see a destination you like. You’ve probably also had some “helpful” suggestions from stakeholders, which have you scratching your head as to how you’re going to make this one work.

We know how you feel – we’ve been there, bought the t-shirt and taken it back to the shop because we didn’t like how it fitted. 

Then, in the murky distance, a mirage appears and that light bulb, why-didn’t-we-think-of-this-before? moment occurs, and you’ve got your destination! Hurdle one complete – now to start organising communication, travel, accommodation, programme, onsite logistics, the list goes on! But, of course, the best part of all (well, our favourite), you’ll be asked a thousand times when you get back how your holiday was – negating any hard work – and you’ll just smile and say, “Great, thank you,” as you’re sick of explaining it! 


So why is finding the perfect destination so difficult? 

Incentive events are considered the most personal, being the target that many work towards all year, not to mention that they’re host to some or all of the most important stakeholders of a company. For this reason, there’s a very delicate balancing act involved to ensure you keep everyone happy. Here are some of the most common challenges we have faced with our clients: 

  • You’re into your tenth, twentieth or even thirtieth year of running an incentive – you’ve seen it all and done it all – how can you make it different and interesting?
  • You’ve only got a couple of days to allocate for the incentive but want somewhere exotic – where do you go?
  • You want somewhere with the wow-factor name for people to aim towards, but don’t have the budget to stretch to it.
  • You want something different from the standard beach destination, but you’re not sure how to do it and keep people happy.
  • You’re worried about taking the leap to travel after previously doing UK incentives.

As well as this, there are so many variables and a whole world of countries to choose from! The options can sometimes become overwhelming while you’re considering things like number of attendees, trip length, time of year, activities, safety of a location and dietary requirements – to name but a few!

If you seem to find yourself in the funk of futile destination options, here are our tips to avoid this and re-ignite your love with your incentive: 


Identify your priorities 

We understand there are so many things to consider, but when you’re really struggling, take a step back to decide which elements are absolutely crucial to ensure that the incentive is a success. It might be that you cannot stretch the budget but maybe you can reduce the trip by one night? Or it might be that you have to do the trip in April, and it has to be hot, but you are open to upping your maximum flight time to allow for more options. 

Work with a great partner agency

Use an agent’s experience as your own – that’s what we’re here for! An agency worth its weight will be able to look at your priorities and give you a comprehensive solution. 

Be flexible 

Be open minded and happy to look into options that you might not have considered previously. Trust that when your agency says that a destination would be perfect for your requirements that they are just as keen as you are to ensure this event is a success, and so what they are suggesting will work. It’s fine to not like ideas, but if that’s the case, make sure you can articulate why. This will help your agent find an option that works for you and avoids you having the same experience more than once. 

Remember that one of the best ways to get new ideas is to look to others for advice. Not everyone can know everything – so be open to trusting fresh faces and their ideas too. 

Don’t discount the “done” 

Just because you visited a destination 20 years ago doesn’t mean it should be discounted. Remember that a location might have changed dramatically over the time period you have not visited – with a new infrastructure of hotels and restaurants, along with new activities!

If you have visited a destination more recently – why not try it in a different season to flip it on its head? Go to a destination known for its winter activities in summer. 


Make sure you remember that you can’t please everyone, although you can get pretty close. Once you’ve picked a location, it’s vitally important that you do a site visit to make sure you’re as happy with it in reality as in theory. 


If you’re looking for that extra bit of support with your incentive, or just some fresh ideas, get in touch today and we’ll be happy to help. hello@sledge.co.uk