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by Roy Saunderson | April 11, 2016
Meeting and incentive planners have a difficult balancing act each time they design incentive travel campaigns for organizations. They must engage the potential employees who will earn the travel reward and help organizations reach their goals in a fiscally responsible manner. When planning such a program, consider the following value-adding actions.

1. Create clear and achievable goals. Set the expectations for the desired measurable outcomes in easy-to-understand, actionable terms that everyone can comprehend. Provide education, direction, and available resources on how to achieve the goals.

2. Give ongoing feedback. Employees sometimes fall off track during a campaign. Make incentive travel more motivational with results scorecards. Give regular personal feedback from managers on how employees are doing and what it will take for them to win.

3. Be ever communicating.
 You can never communicate enough with incentive travel awards. Provide build up towards the event with movie-trailer-style updates of what to expect. Give every leader and manager their cue cards, promotional materials, and every step required to educate, promote, and encourage all employees.

4. Show how anyone can win.
 Be armed with the stories of previous recipients and what it took for them to win. Provide employees with all the tools, steps, and access to motivational encouragement they need to earn the win.

5. Promote the whole experience.
 An incentive travel experience is more than just the destination selected. It's the opportunity to take a significant other or family member, meet with senior leaders, and connect with peers outside of regular work demands. Continually allude to this bigger picture.

6. Facilitate relationship building.
 Winners of incentive travel awards often speak of the time they have to connect more personally with their executive leaders during a trip. Make these encounters special ones. Orchestrate experiences that winning peers find unique and memorable.

7. Offer memory keepers.
 Make the event into a motivation to win again by generating ways to recall the experiences winners have had. Provide copies of photos from the trip and create videos of fun times had. Have memorabilia available with year and event location. Use social media to share the memories.

8. Making business meaningful.
 There are often expectations to have some business-meeting component during an incentive trip. Keep it short and sweet. Give this select group of winners the inside scoop on what is coming. Excite them with new products, services, and tools to help them succeed. Motivate them to come back!

9. Provide choice and time.
 Present destination site options ahead of time to employees as well as executives. Add an array of selected options for activities to choose from to meet all needs. Celebrate in style with a gala awards ceremony. Plan in sufficient free time to relax, explore, and enjoy the whole experience.


10. Reinforce the purpose.
 Earning motivational travel experiences makes employees feel recognized and valued by the company. Encourage them to participate in the next campaign. Leaders should show employees how their contributions help the company achieve the strategic business goals.

Incentive columnist Roy Saunderson is author of Giving the Real Recognition Way and is the Chief Learning Officer of Rideau's Recognition Management Institute, a consulting and training company which helps leaders and managers get recognition right. He can be reached at RoySaunderson@Rideau.com. Also, check out the library of Real Recognition Radio shows.