Did you leave it until the last minute to decide whether or not to plan a Christmas incentive trip for your employees? Can you feel that rising panic, as you debate the pros and cons of booking your team on a flight to an exotic destination with hardly any time to prepare, or putting the next company incentive trip off until next spring? Then you are in luck, we have a smart checklist that will help you plan your Christmas incentive trip quickly and efficiently, surprising your team with a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Step 1: who’s on board?
The first thing you need to know is how many people you will be taking on your Christmas incentive trip. Chances are, if you left it to the very last minute, some of your employees will already have made plans which they will be unlikely to change. Have a quick round of phone calls and try to enthuse and motivate your team: ask who is up for an adventure and don’t forget to have each employee set down a list of available dates. This first step will allow you to identify the timeframe for your trip and to gage the approximate number of participants.
Step 2: Manage your budget and pick a destination.
How do you pick a destination for a last-minute Christmas incentive trip? Easy: you start by booking flights. At this point, talking to an experienced incentive travel planner might be a good idea. The kind of information you need is very specific. You need to know which companies offer affordable flights for the required number of people on the dates you chose. Based on that, you will get a list of possible destinations. Most of the popular destinations will be either gone or ridiculously overpriced by this time, therefore your options might be limited, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. After all, working within a set of limiting rules is the best way to boost creativity. And there’s one fundamental truth you should remember about Christmas: this is the one time of the year when you are sure to find something special to do and see, wherever you go.
Our favourite destinations for a Christmas incentive trip
Christmas markets are one of the most fascinating traditions in most of Europe. In some parts of Italy, they have evolved through the centuries, developing into opportunities to showcase the unique work of local craftsmen and, more often than not, creating a charming syncretism of religious and secular customs, that differ from region to region and, often, from city to city. Visiting the Christmas Markets in Trentino-Alto Adige, for instance, will transport you into a middle-European winter-wonderland of mulled wine and exquisitely carved wooden artefacts, whereas in Naples you will discover the multi-coloured and imaginative universe of the traditional nativity scenes, which every year get richer and wilder, with the addition of contemporary figures that create a lively depiction of modern society.
Looking for last-minute accommodation over Christmas is always going to be tricky, regardless of how unusual your destination is. This might be the time to resort to slightly less “corporate” solutions than usual, such as renting a whole apartment or even a villa, or, even better, let someone else do the job for you. Agencies often have special group discounts in local hotels and resorts that you might not be able to access otherwise. Investing a bit of your overall budget in a good travel-planning service might end up saving you a considerable sum when it comes to booking accommodation, excursions, restaurants, and activities.