by Deanna Ting | March 30, 2016

3. Know your group
While this is true of any incentive travel program, and every group is different, non-sales incentive program groups are generally smaller in size and may have more winners who are not as well traveled.

To get to know your group better, Boisner suggests conducting pre-event surveys to assist with site selection and identifying activities that will appeal to the most winners. And as with any incentive trip, weaving in experiences that recipients would otherwise not be able to obtain on their own and offering a variety of activities and experiences are a must, no matter where they go.


Scott Siewert

Siewert says he has had success with conducting non-sales incentives at all-inclusive properties, especially in Mexico, as well as on cruise ships. A recent group of call center reps from a West Coast-based entertainment company traveled to Atlantis, Paradise Island resort, in the Bahamas in March, he says.

A multinational manufacturer and marketer of high-quality, brand-name food and meat products worked with CWT Meetings & Events to conduct a four-night Chairman's Club program in Costa Rica for 100 non-sales employees from across the company. That same group is headed to Grand Cayman in 2016.

Another activity to keep in mind for any group is some sort of corporate social responsibility activity to build camaraderie and give back to local communities. "In 2014, during one non-sales program, achievers constructed 60 wheelchairs for a local school and United Way," says Boisner. "This was extremely well received by all participants, and they loved making a difference in the local host community."

4. Include the top brass
Just as you would invite top executives to attend your sales incentives, you should do the same for non-sales incentive programs. "Participants, especially non-sales, appreciate exclusive opportunities to network with company leaders," says Boisner. "Including executives on the trip has been proven to be a very motivating factor for achievers. They enjoy the face time, and receiving gratitude from leaders makes them feel appreciated on an entirely different level."

5. Pay attention to the details
Leave a lasting impression on recipients by paying attention to the littlest of details, says Siewert. "It's the little things that make a program special," he says. "When you hand each guest a pair of Maui Jim sunglasses at check-in, for example, they will be thinking more about those, and about the trip, a year or more afterward."

Siewert, Boisner, Ryan, and Wagner all noted that merchandise bars, where a winner chooses an award from a selection, are a particularly effective way to add to the motivational impact of an incentive travel program.

Even after the trip ends, it remains important to keep reminding winners of their achievement, and to extend the motivational impact of their travel reward.

"After the trip, you can do anything -- from videos to testimonials from other members -- to reinforce, from a cultural perspective, the types of behaviors that the organization wants to sustain," says Ryan.