When you decide to implement an incentive travel program into your business, you are not merely adding an item to your budget, you are re-shaping your entire company’s vision. If that seems a little overly-dramatic, just think about this: what makes your company successful? Whose effort does your productivity depend on? That’s right: your employees. Your team. Your executive branch. Whatever the structure and hierarchy of your firm, by throwing incentive travel into the mix, you are acknowledging just how important they are to you and you are telling them that they deserve the best. It’s not just about coming up with fancy rewards for those who hit certain sales target: it’s about showing just how much you care. At Smart Eventi, we help our clients plan incentive travel programs in every season and we strive to find destinations that will surprise, amaze and delight their teams. And we do this for a variety of clients, on a variety of budgets. Are you planning your next incentive travel program? Then we think you should consider Italy as your destination for this summer. Check out our top incentive travel programs for the coming season!
Case study 1: luxury incentive travel on a budget
When you plan incentive travel, you just know that low-budget accommodation and activities are not going to cut it. What you are after, with this kind of program, is luxury. You need to create memorable experiences for your employees to treasure, that will encourage them to build an emotional bond with the company, to increase their investment in its success and to associate it with amazing memories. How do you achieve that on a budget? That’s easy: the first thing you do is save on transfers by selecting a destination that is close enough to be accessible at a low price, without compromising on travel comfort. This is particularly easy if you are based in or near Italy: wherever you go, you will never be longer than an hour’s drive away from a beautiful city or a natural wonder. Moreover, there is plenty to discover beyond the most popular tourist destinations. For instance, when contracted to plan a luxury incentive travel program for a Swiss firm, we selected Milan. Not exactly a hidden gem, we know, and also not a destination that most business-men and -women associate with holidays, but a surprising one nonetheless. Milan, as you probably know, is one of the world’s capitals of fashion and one of the most popular shopping destinations for fashionistas around the world. This is how we incorporated a luxury element into our incentive travel plan: we assigned personal shoppers to the client’s team and sent them on a dizzying trip through the Milan fashion district. After that, we just let the group settle into the chill Milan vibe, choosing the best restaurants and booking VIP floors in the most exclusive clubs. And, because a trip to Italy almost always has a cultural element to it, we also took our guests on a boat trip on the Navigli, the canals that used to be a vital part of Milan’s trade in the olden days before the industrial revolution. Finally, we organised a team cooking experience for the whole group, in a famous restaurant in the city centre. Because the only thing that tastes better than authentic Italian food is authentic Italian food that you cooked yourself.
Case study 2: James Bonding with your team
Did that terrible pun catch your attention? Good, sorry about that but, as you are about to see, it is pretty fitting. A significant percentage of the clients that ask us to plan their incentive travel programs also want to include elements of team building in them. This kind of combination requires versatility and no team building activity is more versatile than a scavenger’s hunt. And, for that matter, no location is more versatile than Rome. The Italian capital has everything you can ask of an incentive destination: art, culture, beauty, luxury, entertainment, fantastic food and photo opportunities that no other city in the world can presume to rival. One thing you might not know is that the eternal city was also the film-set for one of the most popular Bond movies of all time: 007 – Spectre. Hence our main team building activity for this particular project: a James-Bond-themed treasure hunt, designed to engage the client’s team and send them on an adventure, chasing after a set of cryptic, Bond-related clues that we had carefully disseminated through the city. The “incentive” part of the trip left us spoilt with choice. This happens every time we plan an event in Rome: we would just love to book all the best restaurants in the city for our clients, but that’s not possible, so we have to select a few among a wealth of excellent options. In this instance, we went for the best view in Rome and chose a famous restaurant whose terrace overlooks the Colosseum and the Forum. And that taught us one very important lesson: when your team is truly delighted with your incentive travel program, it will show on their Instagram feed…