by Andrea Doyle & Deanna Ting | September 24, 2012
Individual travel offers a world of options

Individual incentives are all about flexibility. Winners can go where they want, when they want, with whom they want. 

This is a great feature, both for winners and incentive program planners, especially given the number of dual-income families in the world. Rewarding a member of the family with a group incentive trip may sound wonderful however, oftentimes, the scheduling and added responsibilities for the mate left at home lessens the ability of the award to motivate. 

“Individual incentive travel provides tremendous value when leveraged with the right audience and with the right strategy that best aligns with achieving organizational objectives,” explains Jim Ruszala, senior director of marketing for Maritz Travel. 

Many companies, he says, are taking the reward one step further and are finding ways to add extras, from meals to massages, as a way to enhance the on-site experience.
“Related merchandise, gift cards, retail discounts and other co-related incentive features help create continued engagement and experience for earners long after they return from their destination,” says Ruszala. 

Fairmont-Raffles-Swissotel’s Ovation Rewards program allows incentive program planners to easily scale individual travel awards, and is relatively worry-free. 

“We have different collections,” explains Robert Ward, Fairmont-Raffles-Swissotel Ovation Rewards director of sales. “It’s incredibly easy to make it scalable. We have four different collections with four different price points. There are 12 diff tiers using just our program alone. We see a lot of clients tier these individual travel awards so that they may send 200 people on a five-day trip somewhere and others on a three-day trip. It’s easy to modify.”

He adds, “Planners can package as many nights [into the individual travel award] as as they need and they get to hand it off to the client and walk away. We take care of everything as soon as everything passes hands.”

Growth in travel to international destinations, says Ruszala, is also coming back. 

“International destinations also seem to be opening back up after the slight retreat they’ve experienced over the past few years. It’s not enough to just have an incentive travel program anymore, it has to differentiate itself from others and connect in meaningful ways with your audience.”  

In short, the most important thing is to determine what will work best for the people a client is trying to motivate.