by Leo Jakobson | July 22, 2019
Planning an incentive trip used to be fairly straightforward: Pick a destination, organize a tour, arrange an afternoon of golf or spa, and cap it off with a fancy award dinner. Today, it's a different story: One-size-fits-all trips no longer cut it with participants; they expect choices in activities, menus, gifts and more.
"Personalization has become much more of a priority over the past five years," says Barbara Ward, vice president of travel and events for incentive and meeting firm One10. "People really are looking for more and more of a personalized experience when they're within the group. Companies like ours have to think about not only what does that mean to the client and to the message they want to send to their attendee group, but what does that mean to each specific attendee? That's a tough question to answer when you have hundreds of participants who all want different things."
The key to gearing a trip for an incentive winner is fairly obvious, according to Dan Tavrytzky, managing director of the DMC Network: Find out details about who each individual is and what they like. "We do a personal survey of the winners, their likes and dislikes," he says. "We find out about favorite foods, favorite hobbies and things like that, which we can incorporate into the experience when they get on-site. For example, we'll ask what their favorite drink is, and when they arrive at their hotel, it'll be waiting for them. It might be a gin and tonic or it might be a hot chocolate. They'll find their favorite food in their room instead of the standard fruit bowl. The welcoming experience is very bespoke to them."

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