How a Theme Adds Value to Your Incentive Travel Program

ITA Group
ITA Group

Your incentive travel program keeps participants going throughout the year. Even when things are rocky, they always have the promise of an amazing getaway guiding them through it.

So how you can you make your program even more motivating? Brand the program with a custom logo, engaging content and beautiful visuals.

Here’s how a theme will add even more value to your travel incentive program.

Differentiate Each Year

Many of your team members earn a trip every year. Make the experience unique by branding each trip with a new theme.

This theme could be aligned with the destination (for example, we recently themed a trip to Italy “Salute to Italia”) or the goals you set for this audience at the beginning of the year.

Our most recent incentive trip to Colombia was themed “Find Your Sabrosura.” The team’s focus for the year was all about optimism, and sabrosura describes the Colombian way of life, centered around joy and—you guessed it—optimism.

Appeal to Your Target Audience

Theming your incentive travel program allows you to speak to a specific group of people—their interests, their goals and their motivations.

A younger audience might be more enticed by the promise of thrilling adventures. For this group, you’ll want to highlight all the activities they can do in your chosen destination. We had a younger audience venture to Maui, Hawaii recently. Content included headlines such as “Push the Limits,” “Take a Walk on the Wild Side” and “All Out on the Oceanfront.”

Related: Keep these four things in mind when designing your exclusive incentive travel experiences.

Another program took an older, well-traveled group on a cruise through the Adriatic Sea. Appealing to the audience’s interest in history and culture, headlines included “Gems of the Adriatic,” History at Every Turn” and “Champion of the Sea.”

By personalizing your theme and content, your participants will feel like your incentive travel program was truly designed with them in mind—and it will inspire even more discretionary effort to earn their spot.

Leave a Lasting Impression

When you use one consistent theme with a cohesive look and feel for all incentive program communications, you’re building a brand your audience will easily recognize.

Picture it: They’ve been getting emails and mailings motivating them to reach their greatest goals all year. When they earn the incentive trip, they’re greeted at their destination with signage, amenities and more branded with that same theme. It creates a full-circle effect, making every touch point more meaningful; more significant.

Related: Incentive travel program can increase sales productivity and ROI—but only if it’s properly designed and executed.

Plus, participants will look forward to the big unveiling of a new theme each year. It’s a fun and exciting way to keep your target audience engaged throughout the year—even during the most high stress times.

Avoid Common Pitfalls for Stronger Communications

As you set out to choose a theme for your next incentive program, there are some pitfalls you can easily avoid that will make your communications stronger:

  • Being too gimmicky. Some themes are tasteful, while others are pure cheesiness. There’s no need to go overboard in either content or visuals. A little goes a long way!
  • Not tying your theme to your destination. That’s not to say that your theme name must have the destination in it or allude to any specifics of the location. Destination particulars could come through in the visuals instead. For one of our programs going to Playa Mujeres, we’re using muted tones such as tan and blue with patterns inspired by Mayan culture to give our materials a laidback island vibe.
  • Throwing everything plus the kitchen sink into your theme. Your theme should be focused and succinct. A theme name should be no more than five words long in most cases. So, don’t try to combine both your goals for the year with the destination theme unless it’s something nice and snappy, like Find Your Sabrosura. Participants should be able to get a distinct feel from your theme just by glancing at your materials. Don’t make them work too hard to find the hidden meaning in your theme.

We know a little bit about what to avoid because we've been helping clients for over 55 years, inspiring and motivating employees and customers through award-winning creative communications strategies

Interested in more tips about incentive travel communications? Follow the link to learn how you can take your participants’ incentive travel experience up a notch with effective, engaging communications.