Why give top performers cash when a memorable adventure away can deliver twice the benefit for half the cost? Little wonder corporate experiential travel is on the rise, writes Joanna Tovia.
Experiences are the best reward, for employees as well as mployers
Rewarding top-performing employees with a cash bonus is an expensive way to do business, with the latest research revealing that it’s not nearly as effective as a non-monetary reward such as a great getaway. An unforgettable trip that delivers a novel or meaningful experience is where it really pays off, for both the team participating and the company footing the bill.
Director of Travel & Sports Australia, Paul Ramsay, says incentive travel is increasing year on year as companies seek to take staff away from their normal day-to-day environment to a destination that rewards their performance.
“They are focused on doing more experiential activities on trips because they tend to get more value out of them; they find people are more engaged,” Ramsay explains. “It’s not just taking a heap of people away and getting on the booze anymore.”
Travel & Sports Australia focuses on end-to-end experiential sporting events 01 The popular F1 Grand Prix 02 An all-American baseball game 03 A festive football match in Spain 04 Who doesn’t love watching Federer? and sets up an online registration and social platform for participants six months ahead of departure. Sporting events are as popular as ever, but other activities are now being woven in. A trip to the Australian Open doesn’t just involve watching the tennis, for example, but also activities before and during the event ranging from cooking lessons to handball competitions. “Tennis Australia now has a great precinct around the stadium so it’s a destination that’s not just about the tennis,” Ramsay explains.
Corporate cruising is less in demand than it was, Ramsay says, but “personal development travel” is on the rise. “We’re seeing companies focus more on the individual, in that they want to see them grow as people and they’re more conscious of their wellbeing.”
Companies are also seeking to give valuable employees once-in-a-lifetime experiences that encourage ongoing loyalty. Corporate trips to the Singapore Formula One Grand Prix are “through the roof”, Ramsay says, but recent trips have also included taking a group to Paris and then Monte Carlo to play golf and taking 180 people to Barcelona to watch a soccer game before flying to New York to experience the baseball.