While change has been constant over the past year and a half, what has remained the same is the demand for incentive travel programs that celebrate top performers with unforgettable experiences. But not just any experience. Several microtrends have emerged that are shaping the future of incentive travel program design and destination selection. Here, we’ve unpacked three of them and shared tips to inspire you as you deliver rewards that your high achievers truly want.
1. Building a sustainable future.
Today’s employees care deeply about sustainability. Not wanting to celebrate their success at the cost of the planet, they are searching for experiences that have a positive impact on communities and the environment.
When selecting destinations and accommodations, organizations should look to places that share these values. Fogo Island Inn, located on Newfoundland’s Atlantic coast, is one of them. Built entirely on principles of sustainability, the inn respects local culture and nature in a variety of ways. Its partnership with Carbonzero gives guests the option to achieve carbon neutrality during their stay by purchasing carbon offsets. The building itself has also been designed to support the environment: it uses stilts to minimize its impact on the coastline’s rocks and plants. Additionally, 100% of operating surpluses are reinvested into the community to help secure a sustainable future for Fogo Island.
“Today’s travellers are looking for ways to make a meaningful difference in the world,” says Jennifer Attersall, director of incentive travel at Destination Canada. “Canada has taken significant steps to help them in their quest to protect the environment, communities and cultures. When groups have the chance to give back and create positive change, they feel proud, energized and inspired, making their experience even more transformative.”
2. Wellness becomes a top priority.
Your top achievers work relentlessly to make it to the winner’s circle — but over the past year, they have also faced profound uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, mental health and wellbeing have become top priorities, which is why we’re seeing a surge in popularity for incentive experiences that give employees a chance to relax and recharge. As Jennifer Attersall explains, Canada is the perfect backdrop for retreats centred around wellness.
“With its wide-open spaces, pristine natural surroundings and breathtaking beauty, there are countless experiences in Canada that can help nourish the soul and calm the mind,” she explains.
On Canada’s west coast, many eco resorts integrate wellness experiences into itineraries, such as the Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku. Also known as “forest bathing,” the form of therapy involves taking a leisurely stroll through nature to reduce stress and improve health. At Nimmo Bay, in the middle of British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest, guest can go on journeys through nature, with time devoted to forest bathing, guided reflection, meditations and moments of connection.
3. A focus on authenticity.
High performers want to connect with places in more meaningful ways. When visiting new destinations, they crave real, authentic experiences that provide a deeper understanding of a culture and how locals live.
A trip to Canada gives employees the chance to learn the stories and cultures of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples across the country. For instance, the secluded teepee camp of Aurora Village, located just outside of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, is owned by an Indigenous family from Fort Resolution who share their heritage and traditions with visitors. In particular, the ‘ViTeepee’ treatment gives teams the opportunity to re-connect over a traditional meal in a private teepee, while watching the northern lights dance across the night sky.
A changing word.
Incentive travel is continually evolving — and with its natural beauty and wide-open spaces, Canada delivers when it comes to providing the experiences that employees are now craving. What’s more, Canada is easy to reach from major destinations across the globe and is home to some of the most welcoming people you’ll meet, who are ready to share their glowing hearts with visitors and clients.
The Destination Canada Business Events team assists planners in bringing corporate, association and incentive events to Canada. Contact us for inspiration, impartial advice, ideas to inspire and excite attendees, itinerary suggestions or bid assistance with your next Canadian event. Learn more about Canada’s incentive programs here.
Jennifer Attersall, Director, Incentive Travel