by Alex Palmer | July 21, 2014
Group incentive travel offers a wealth of benefits, but for incentive planners seeking a reward that allows for greater flexibility across a number of award levels and destinations, an individual travel award can provide just the right fit. 

Last year’s IncentiveTravel IQ” study found that almost a quarter of respondents had offered individual travel awards in order to accommodate a diverse group of participants. Additionally, nearly half of respondents said they were using “a few more,” “some more,” or “a lot more” individual incentive travel programs.

What’s helping to attract incentive managers to these awards is the fact that available options have only been growing. Just this year, Hyatt Incentive Rewards rolled out two significant new individual travel offerings. At the start of this year, it introduced Hyatt Nights Certificates, a rethinking of its Hyatt Stay Certificates products, which provide for overnight stays, including tax. But unlike their predecessors, Hyatt Nights Certificates offer last-room availability for standard rooms.

“It’s an attractive offer for buyers and end-users because when the recipient receives a certificate, they may have their mind set on a certain destination, and now they know they can access it,” says Lauren Hackett, associate manager for gift card and certificate sales for Hyatt Incentive Rewards. To ensure the awards offer maximum flexibility for planners, these certificates are available at seven different price points, from “classic” to “ultimate.”

Following Hyatt’s acquisition of two all-inclusive resorts in Mexico (Hyatt Zilara and Hyatt Ziva) in March, it also launched Hyatt Nights All-Inclusive. The highest level of the company’s offerings, these cover all drinks, meals, and accommodations. With the Hyatt Gift Card to cover basic dollar value, planners have a wide range of awards to consider for winners at any level.
Fairmont-Raffles-Swissôtel’s Ovation Rewards program has not introduced too many innovations recently — and if you ask them, that’s a good thing. 

“Frankly, part of our story is that we have been a really consistent product,” says Robert Ward, Ovation Rewards’ director of sales. “We’ve had a phenomenal response from our guests and clients on the product — it’s so simple to use and buy, and we haven’t seen the need to change that.”
Choice is central to the Ovation Rewards offering, which provides four collections of properties. Within each property collection, there are three room types. The cards offer last-room availability and have no blackout dates.

Ward also notes that Ovation Rewards are a budget-friendly option for corporate planners, and can be scaled to any level. “If a company has a points program, this is a phenomenal point burner; the perceived value versus the actual cost is astounding,” says Ward. “It’s also very family friendly — you can bring your kids and your other half, and you get to define what will make it your dream vacation. It might be a trip to Paris, or just to visit Aunt Martha; it’s up to you.”