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incentive travel program destination in the Mediterranean
Katie MoserFeb 14, 2023 11:31:42 AM8 min read

How to Choose the Right Destination for Your Incentive Travel Program

Why Location Matters

Incentive trips offer a unique chance to connect and inspire your top performing employees. You've spent a lot of time planning out the details of the program, but have you given enough thought to the location?

What goes into choosing the destination for an incentive travel program is more than just a "cool" or pretty location. Travel times, budgets, access to activities and cultural connection are all important factors to consider.

Choosing the right location will help ensure your incentive trip is not only fun but also stays within budget, matches your company goals, and ultimately incentivizes your team to continue to perform. 

This article will cover the key things you should consider when choosing your next incentive travel destination, including:

  • Understanding your audience
  • Defining your budget and goals
  • Researching and selecting a destination based on your goals
  • Creating tailored itineraries
  • Seeking local partnerships and resources


selecting incentive travel destination step one: know your audience

Understand Your Audience

Who is attending your incentive trip? What are their motivations, interests and goals?

It's important to deeply understand WHO is coming on your incentive trip before you decide the where. It's more than just choosing from a list of top incentive travel destinations.

  • If your team likes getting outside and participating in activities, a luxury spa escape will hardly suffice.
  • Or if most of them are used to temperate climates, sending them to a hot and humid climate in the middle of summer may not be ideal.
  • If they want to relax, bustling cities might not be the right fit, but if they want to explore the history of a location, a capital city might be best.
  • Or maybe they like unique trips that take them to places like a UNESCO World Heritage site.

If most of your attendees work remotely and will be meeting for the first time in person, it is also important to consider what kinds of activities and venue layouts will help them connect.

If you're not sure what your audience likes to do, survey them before you select a location. Ask questions around how much time they want to relax, what kinds of activities they like, how often they want to network with their colleagues, dietary restrictions, and more.

Lastly, it's important to consider where your team is mainly located. Are they open to long flights or travel days to get to experience a new place, or would they prefer something a little closer to home?

By better understanding what your team prefers, you can narrow down your initial destination options.

Understand the benefits of incentive travel for your team.

selecting incentive travel destination step two: define your budget

Define Your Budget and Goals

Now that you have an idea of what your team likes, you can start to map out your budget and goals for the incentive travel program.

Your goals should include things like:

  • What impression do we want this trip to leave with our team?
  • How do we want our team to connect with executives or senior leadership?
  • What ROI do we want to see from this trip? 
    • This can include things like employee retention, YoY sales, etc.
  • What survey results do we want to receive after the trip?
  • How do we want this trip to create excitement for trips in years to come?


Plan Your Incentive Trip with GoGather


Things to consider while planning your budget include:

  • How many days will your program last?
    • Consider how much travel time and timezone adjustment is needed for each attendee. The program needs to be long enough to make that worth it.
  • Will each person be allotted a plus one?
  • Will you cover travel expenses, including flights, meals en route, etc.?
  • How many activities do you need to include? 
    • Give enough variety that your attendees don't feel stuck choosing something they don't want to do - or worse, just skip out to tan at the pool.
  • Will you need transportation to take guests to different locations throughout the trip or will everything be kept on-property?
  • What types of gifts will you be providing throughout the trip?
  • What kinds of awards will you be giving out?

Your budget and goals should guide everything that comes after (with your audience in mind at all times, of course). 

selecting incentive travel destination step three: research your destination options

Research and Select Your Destination

Now comes the fun part: finding a location.

Your incentive travel program should feature a location that teams want to travel to - ideally somewhere they haven't been before or wouldn't easily book a trip to. If your team lives in San Diego, a trip to Orange County may not exactly motivate them. But a trip to the Bahamas? Now we're talking.

Several things need to be considered when looking at properties and incentive travel destinations:

  • What is the level of luxury at which you're looking to host your incentive trip?
  • Are you looking for an all-inclusive stay or a la carte options?
  • How far is the venue from the airport?
    • And how far does each team member have to fly?
  • Do you need secure transportation to your site? Any other safety measures you need to consider?
  • What types of visas are required for travel into the countries you're considering?
  • What types of activities can the resort offer? What types of locations or activities are near the venue?
  • Can you easily communicate with the venue to negotiate and receive updates?
    • Things to consider here: language, communication style, currency, cultural norms, etc.
    • Will they allow you to conduct a site visit prior to the trip?
  • What time of year is best to visit?
    • "Best" can have a lot of meanings. Things to consider include: weather, prices, holidays (local to the country and your team), company deadlines, etc.
    • Does the venue have availability for the timeframe you're looking at?
    • What kinds of rooms and how many rooms are available?
  • What branding are you allowed to have at the venue? 
  • Can you bring entertainment onsite?
  • What types of dietary or other accommodations are needed for your guests? Can the venue accommodate those requests?

Laying out a list of your top priorities will be key here. Weigh all these points against one another to help you select not only the location but the right venue.

Wondering where to start looking? Our recommendations for top incentive trip destinations include

Overwhelmed with the possibilities? GoGather can help you research and select the perfect venue for your trip. Inquire with us here.

selecting incentive travel destination step four: tailor your itinerary

Tailor Your Itinerary

Once you've narrowed down your venue options, it's time to craft your itinerary.

We recommend selecting 3 venue options to create mock itineraries around. 

Remember how we said a week at the spa probably wasn't ideal for an outdoorsy team? This exercise gives you the opportunity to really hone in on which venue will be best for your guests.

Tailored itineraries are important for multiple reasons. They offer a structure to your event to ensure your guests are getting the most out of their time. They also help you make sure you're hitting your goals with each aspect of your trip.

Things to consider as you create your itinerary:

  • When do guests need to arrive and depart? Do you need buffer days for guests traveling further? What transportation can the venue help you coordinate?
  • What small moments can you create to allow guests to connect?
  • How much downtime do your guests want or need?
  • What types of activities will your guests enjoy most?
    • And are those activities offered by the venues you selected?
  • How much time is needed to get between events?
  • Are there areas of the venue that guests can go to for downtime? How about central areas for them to congregate for smaller events or casual get-togethers?
  • What kinds of evening events and entertainment are best for your guests? What spaces are available for these events at each venue?
  • What local culture can you incorporate into your event? Can you provide day trips to areas around your venue? Or bring in cultural events to your venue?
  • Are there any educational, networking or volunteer moments you want to incorporate into your agenda?

Overall, it's important to keep your agenda interesting yet flexible so guests can enjoy some time to themselves to relax while still feeling like they're experiencing everything they want to. 

Some of our favorite activities we've hosted on incentive trips:

  • Sailing
  • Snorkeling
  • Wine tasting
  • Zip-lining
  • White water rafting
  • Fishing
  • Painting

Need help crafting the perfect itinerary for your incentive trip? GoGather can brainstorm with you on the best options for your team. Inquire with us here.

selecting incentive travel destination step five: find local partnerships

Find Local Partnerships and Resources

There's nothing like a local to help you discover the best hidden gems and rates for your trip. Try to leverage an events company with resources or connections in the area you're looking to host your incentive trip. 

These resources can help you source venues, find local gifts, discover exciting outings, partner with local charities, and more. Plus, they can help translate where needed.


Choose Your Incentive Trip Venue in Style

So much goes into the planning of an incentive trip that it can often get overwhelming. But making sure to select venues based on your overall goals and budget, while keeping your attendees' needs in mind, will help you narrow down options.

We recommend keeping a checklist of questions to compare venues, from their location to price to abundance of activities. This will help you stay focused and choose venues that actually make sense for your event.

If you're still overwhelmed by the prospect of choosing the right venue, reach out to our team to discuss your incentive trip and brainstorm potential properties. 

Your incentive trip, managed. From venue sourcing to every last detail, GoGather helps companies create memorable and effective incentive trips. Our team of event experts will help you identify your goals, craft your budget, source your venue, and plan all the details from agenda to gifting. We do all this so you can spend more time focusing on your attendees, and less time sweating the small stuff.


Katie Moser

Katie Moser is the Director of Marketing and Business Development at GoGather. She has an extensive background in creating content and branding for events, working with speakers, and managing agendas for conferences. When she's not updating blog posts and sending out social media posts, she helps clients identify areas of opportunity for their events from branding to communications. In her downtime, she enjoys spending time at one of the many beautiful San Diego beaches, exploring new breweries, or chilling at home with her cat.