Amidst soaring inflation and economic uncertainty, meaningful incentive rewards have become more important than ever. Rather than having their successes recognized with merchandise, today’s employees want out-of-the-box experiences they can’t find anywhere else. That’s especially the case for travel, as high prices have prevented many from visiting new destinations.
Like employees, organizations also want to get more from their incentive programs. Although budgets are expected to rise (according to the Incentive Research Foundation), companies are continuing to prioritize incentives that deliver the greatest value. Ultimately, this means trips that motivate teams all year long — along with unique experiences that leave them feeling inspired and energized.
Sound like a tall order? It’s not. To help, we’ve rounded up three unique incentive possibilities across Canada. Along with offering unparalleled accommodation and activities, these rewards are also easily accessible and, thanks to a favourable exchange rate, deliver exceptional value.
1. European charm, right in the heart of North America
A trip to Québec City gives high performers the chance to experience French culture, without the price tag (not to mention jetlag) of leaving the continent. Upon landing in this UNESCO World Heritage city, top performers will be inspired as they explore its cobblestone streets and hidden courtyards, popping into charming bistros, shops and galleries along the way. There are also plenty of opportunities to take in the city’s storied architecture — with some heritage buildings dating back 400 years. Finish the day with a private mixology class that teaches your team how to make an assortment of flavourful cocktails.
Consider hosting your incentive during the winter months to reward your team with truly memorable experiences. They’ll re-connect and create lasting memories at a one-of-a-kind reception featuring champagne and hot fondue at the extraordinary Hôtel de Glace, North America’s only ice hotel. Better yet: spend a night in this magical hotel, which is made of 30,000 tons of snow and ice, to experience true Québec City hospitality. Another way to take your incentive to the next level is to time it with the Québec Winter Carnival, a lively festival held each February dedicated entirely to winter (think canoe races, night parades and snow sculpture competitions).
When it comes to accommodation, it’s hard to beat a stay at one of the most luxurious and iconic castles: the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac. The hotel, which claims to be one of the most photographed in the world, overlooks the picturesque St. Lawrence River. No matter what they do or where they stay, you can feel confident knowing that your high achievers will be in for an unforgettable experience, at a reasonable price for your organization.
St. Lawrence River, Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, Quebec City, Quebec
2. A corporate and incentive playground
For another option, reward your team at North America’s largest ski resort: Whistler. After departing from the world-class city of Vancouver, your top performers will be in awe as they travel less than two hours on one of the world’s most scenic drives, the Sea to Sky highway, which winds its way alongside soaring mountains and glistening waters.
Image Credit: Grant Gunderson
Whistler, British Columbia
Whistler is an exhilarating destination any time of the year, but it truly comes alive during the winter. Wow your high achievers with a day spent skiing or snowboarding on the fresh powder with an instructor. Or, have them venture off the beaten path by snowmobiling through the pristine forests of the Callaghan Valley. Be sure to add a stop for an exclusive gourmet lunch at The Barn, a cozy and rustic space in the middle of the wilderness that serves hot chocolate and delicious home-cooked dishes.
With an array of luxury hotels, there are many accommodations to choose from in Whistler. Take the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, for example — which is located at the base of Blackcomb Mountain. With its jaw-dropping mountain views and luxurious rooms, your team will return home feeling more rejuvenated than ever.
3. Invigorating activities and enriching cultural experiences
Ottawa is another Canadian city that makes a great place to host incentives. It’s home to a range of team-building attractions — including the Rideau Canal, which is Ontario’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site. At 7.8 km long (4.8 miles), it freezes into the world’s longest outdoor skating rink in the winter. Have your stars don a pair of skates, a warm drink and glide their way through the city for an exhilarating activity. It’s usually open from December through to February, and access is free.
Ottawa and Countryside. Rideau Canal, Ottawa, Ontario
During the summer months, celebrate your team with a private sunset tiki boat tour. As they sit around the 12-seat wooden bar covered by a straw roof, they’ll sip refreshing tropical drinks like sangria while floating along the scenic Ottawa River and admiring the sky’s brilliant colours.
As Canada’s capital, Ottawa is home to the nation’s central bank, the Bank of Canada, which is responsible for its monetary policy, financial system, bank notes and funds management. There's also a strong presence of disruptive fintech companies in the city, making it a great destination to inspire your team. Ottawa is also easy to reach, with direct connections to major hubs across the US. Once you land, the airport is only 15-minutes to the highly compact and walkable downtown.
The ultimate reward
With its diverse destinations, incentive trips in Canada deliver a high return on investment. When organizations host their events in the country, top performers can enjoy experiences that invigorate and inspire them — leaving an indelible mark that lingers long after they’ve returned home.
Destination Canada Business Events can help planners personalize incentives, provide insight and introductions, and more. For impartial insights, inspiration and introductions, planners can contact the Destination Canada Business Events team. Or, contact Jennifer Attersall, Director of Incentive Travel, Destination Canada Business Events at firstname.lastname@example.org or +1 403-923-5972.