Incentive travel is coming back. Not that it ever really went away, but the global crisis has impacted this extremely useful business tool more than it has other aspects of corporate life. Often perceived as a luxury, incentive travel tends to be on the line as soon as a company decides to cut back on unnecessary expenses. Many firms, however, have started to realise that, unless a company is at the MVP stage, incentive travel is neither unnecessary nor a luxury, but a vital sales support instrument and a game-changer in human resources management. If you have come to this conclusion too and are looking for viable incentive travel options for the coming year, then you should definitely consider Italy. Whether you are planning to reward your team for their hard work and outstanding results or treating an important client to a unique experience to share your brand values, Italy has what you are looking for.
How to plan the perfect Incentive Travel event: Taste of Italy
The first question that needs to be addressed, when buying incentive travel, is the balancing of budget and expectations. If your incentive travel plan is intended for a large group – be it your own team or a client’s – the cost per capita will need to be contained within certain limits. This does not mean that you have to settle for a sub-par experience, which would negate the very point of the whole project. One way of getting excellent value for money is planning the whole journey around a special experience: in Italy, it is almost too easy to choose a food-related one. Every region has its specialties and offers a wide range of options that will combine the perks of luxury travel (with 5-star resorts and restaurants) with the need for affordable prices. We have planned several such trips for our clients. Some of the most amazing locations we explored were the Langhe region of Piedmont and the Tuscan Countryside, as both allowed us to pair unique food experiences with local wine tastings.
Book your meeting rooms… on the beach!
When devising incentive travel plans for the fair season, many make the mistake of thinking that spring or summer trips are all about entertainment and relaxation. Which they can be, but definitely don’t need to be. Italy is the ideal destination for what the incentive travel industry calls bleisure, a combination of business and leisure. Yes, you can be focused enough to hold a business meeting, even if you are not in a corporate meeting room, but lying on a beach or lounging in a swimming pool. In fact, holding meetings in unusual places accomplishes two things: on one hand, it helps strengthen the bond between coworkers and team members, on the other it motivates everyone to keep it short and sweet, going straight to the point without being side-tracked. The first goal is achieved by removing the formal barriers that normally keep the participants of any meeting apart. It’s inarguably harder to be distrustful of someone if both parties are in swimming trunks. The second depends on the location itself: nobody wants to waste time on inessential details if they know a swim and a nice cocktail are waiting on the flip side of the meeting. We included a day at the beach in an incentive travel plan and it was an enormous success!
Experience Italy’s culture in Milan
Another successful trend, that is redefining the very concept of luxury incentive travel, is the incorporation of world-class cultural experiences into corporate trips. While all of Italy has something to offer to art and music lovers, if you want to treat your employees or clients to a truly unique experience you should your team to the opera in the most famous theatre in the world: La Scala. Here, you will be able to enjoy some of the most sublime music ever composed by mankind, and then dive into the fascinating Milanese nightlife, with dinner in one of the many prized restaurants of the Fashion District, followed by a night out on one of the city’s most exclusive clubs. Your team is not homogenous, and it comprises people of different ages and with different interests? Don’t worry: Milan has something for everyone. Your experienced art connoisseurs will enjoy its countless museums and landmarks (as well as the opera), fashionistas will dive right into the most satisfying shopping experience in the world, foodies will always find plenty to keep them occupied and happy (because, well… they are in Italy!) and nature lovers will only need to travel for half an hour, to find themselves in some of the most stunning natural reserves in the Country.