Creative incentive travel ideas

Rewarding top performers and motivating staff are key tactics for ensuring company success, and it turns out leveraging creative incentive trip ideas may be the key. Many companies are so busy today and do not have the time to come up with creative travel incentive ideas—so here are a few from our meetings and incentives experts to get you started.

Whether you’re looking for a quick weekend getaway to motivate staff or a travel incentive idea that raises the bar, check out these incentive trip ideas to reward and motivate your employees.

Incentive trip ideas to motivate and reward staff

Here’s a look at some truly awesome, creative incentive travel ideas to consider.

The rest and relaxation incentive trip

“People are working very hard these days. And a relaxed employee comes back ready to produce and be the best they can be,” explains James Keller, Vice President, Meetings and Incentives at Fox World Travel.

For that reason, rest and relaxation incentives are a popular choice. When your organization wants to reenergize and inspire staff, you may want to consider including creative travel incentive ideas such as:

Spa Escapes

For total rest and relaxation, consider sending staff on a spa escape, where they can be pampered and cared for around the clock. They’ll return to work refreshed and ready.

Quick Getaways

Incentive travel doesn’t have to mean a long getaway. Why not plan three nights in New York for staff, with show tickets and dinner at a famous destination restaurant? Long weekend escapes or quick getaways are growing in popularity, Keller says.

Local or Regional Getaways

Think you need to send staff cross country or internationally? Think again. Local and regional getaways can also do the trick, enabling your staff to get back to the office in short order.

“We’re seeing more and more of those trips that aren’t too far from home, so they can get away for the weekend, and still be back on Monday.”

Keller says for Midwestern companies, for example, a getaway to Chicago, with a pass to top attractions and a stay at a lovely hotel would be a welcomed incentive travel gift for employees.

Unique incentive travel destinations

When you want something truly unique and special, perhaps to reward a top performer, think outside the box. There are many unique incentive travel destination, but consider once-in-a-lifetime, unforgettable experiences as:


Spectacular sight-seeing. Phenomenal countryside. Delectable food and wines. Italy brings so much to the incentive travel table. Keller says they’ve coordinated incentive trips to Italy, with an unexpected twist, such as a cooking class.

“There’s nothing better than being in a little kitchen in Italy, making pasta and drinking chianti and just enjoying the smells and sights and sounds of the country.”

Galapagos Islands

“The Galapagos Islands is a place people would seldom go on their own,” Keller says. A company offering incentive travel to a place like the Galapagos Islands is providing truly a once-in-a-lifetime getaway, not to mention an unforgettable encounter with giant tortoises.

Napa wine country

Napa is a great destination for groups, who can take a wine train through Napa Valley, stopping at little vineyards throughout the region. But if you’re coordinating incentive travel for a smaller group, you may want to consider something even more personal. “A top experience is a vintage car tour, where you ride in a vintage convertible to the vineyards,” Keller says. Visitors get to meet winemakers and their families, for a truly memorable experience.

A trip to the desert

A trip to the desert can be an eye-opening and truly unique experience. Keller says one group wanted to do some desert hiking near Santa Fe, New Mexico. They got that, and more. “We arranged a tour where you brought your own llama with you, called, ‘Lunch with a Llama.’” He explains. “It was kind of a surprise. They thought they were just going on a hike. They had a beautiful lunch and they thought it was a hoot.” And of course, they captured the experience by taking photos with their llamas.

Second-tier Cities

Second-tier cities are also growing in popularity for incentive travel destinations. These cities often have charming downtowns, great hotels and wonderful dining experiences.

“We see more and more companies going this direction. They have good airfare and great hotels and a lot to choose from. So, when we price those they come in priced very competitively.” Keller explains.

While being gentle on the budget, second-tier cities often fly under the radar, which is just one reason to work with a reputable organization to help you arrange creative incentive trip ideas for your staff.

Cities like St. Louis, Indianapolis and Birmingham are all great places to consider.

Travel: an amazing teacher and motivator

Employees appreciate bonuses and other financial rewards, but incentive travel gives something much more. Rather than just paying the bills, travel can relax and rejuvenate, motivate staff and expand their horizons. Keller says travel is also a great teacher.

“I’ve been on many of these incentives with groups. The memories and experiences inspired them to travel, learn and see the world,” he says.

Incentive travel has even inspired Keller to continually see the magic of travel, even when he’s experienced a destination many times. When he traveled with a group on an incentive trip to Disney World, he will never forget a traveler’s reaction when she walked into the Animal Kingdom Lodge.

“She had never been to Disney World, and she came in, stopped in her tracks and cried. She said, ‘This is the most beautiful place,’” Keller remembers. “I’ve been there probably 30to 40 times in my life, but I won’t ever take it for granted again.”

Incentive travel: a winning strategy for your winning team

Our Fox World Travel meetings and incentives experts believe travel gives your employees far more than a financial bonus ever could. It gives them the motivation to be the best employee they can be, it gives them reasons to be loyal to the company they work for and it gives them an experience they’ll treasure for a lifetime (or whenever they catch a glimpse of that photo of themselves with a llama).

When your company wants to give back to staff, consider partnering with a trusted travel partner for creative incentive ideas that will inspire, motivate and delight your employees.


  • Incentive trip is a nice idea to motivate and reward the best performers for their performance in grabbing the business for their company. It motivates other to the same thing which creates the healthy competition between employees which is good for any company.

  • Thanks for these ideas about incentive travel. I just had this program in my company, cause I think employees deserve this kind of getaway. Great blog though.

    • We couldn’t agree more! Everyone deserves to get away and enjoy a nice vacation and experience something new.

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