For years, incentive travel would conjure up images of a week spent celebrating extraordinary results at an exclusive resort overlooking the ocean. But nowadays, it encompasses so much more than that. Top performers are increasingly seeking authentic, transformational experiences when they travel, along with the opportunity to gain new skills and knowledge.
As a result, beyond motivating and rewarding employees, incentives have also become a vehicle for promoting professional development. Across Canada, there are an array of experiences that deliver just that. We’ve rounded up three ways to embrace professional development in your incentive program.
1. Be Immersed in Local Cultures
A host of benefits come when incentive winners are rewarded with authentic cultural experiences. From introducing teams to new languages and enhancing how they communicate with people of diverse backgrounds, to offering a deeper understanding of how locals live, eat and work, culture-focused incentives help teams grow in countless ways.
As one option, consider rewarding your high achievers with an exclusive evening at the Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre in Whistler, British Columbia — which celebrates the unique heritage and cultures of the Squamish and Lil’wat First Nations. Here, incentive groups can enjoy a ceremonial feast inspired by First Nations culinary tradition, including dishes like mouthwatering wild salmon cooked on traditional cedar planks, freshly baked Bannock bread and steamed clams. After, they will watch memorable performances of dance and music, as well as listen to captivating stories from local cultural ambassadors.
Image Cred: Logan Swayze
Location: Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre, Whistler, British Columbia
2. Learn a New Skill
The best incentives also give high achievers the chance to hone an entirely new skill as they celebrate their successes. Along with gaining new knowledge, they’ll bond and forge stronger connections with their colleagues as they step outside of their comfort zones together.
In Canada, incentive groups can discover the age-old method of collecting maple sap at a sugar shack in Québec, which is the world’s largest producer of maple syrup. In the Rocky Mountains, they can take part in a workshop with a knowledgeable Indigenous guide that teaches them how to make traditional medicines and salves using plants. Or they can learn the secrets to salmon fishing in one of the world’s best fishing spots: Western Canada, which is home to several secluded luxury wilderness resorts that are accessible only by floatplane, helicopter or sea. The possibilities are endless when it comes to gaining new knowledge in destinations across the country.
La Sucrerie de la Montagne, Rigaud, Quebec La Sucrerie de la Montagne, Rigaud, Québec
3. Recharge in Natural Settings
More than ever, top performers want to travel to pristine natural settings that allow them to recharge and re-energize. By taking the time to promote their well-being, they’ll return home with increased focus, productivity and creativity — all of which contribute to their professional development in the workplace.
Fortunately, Canada is home to an abundance of natural assets. Consider Lake Louise in Alberta, as an example. Home to mountains that soar to jagged peaks, glaciers that cling to granite rock faces, and lakes that shimmer in the most vivid shades of blue, it’s the ultimate place to embrace the country’s natural beauty.
Days can be spent taking part in a range of rejuvenating incentive activities. Your stars can paddle on a glimmering emerald lake during an invigorating sunrise canoe, without any crowds in sight. They can take part in a private yoga class, looking up at snow-capped mountains. Or they can take a scenic helicopter flight to a remote glacier, where they’ll enjoy a guided hike as they marvel at some of the most unbelievable views. Whatever they choose, they’ll return home ready to reach entirely new heights.
Lake Louise, Lake Louise, Alberta
The Reward of a Lifetime
Incentive travel has evolved immensely in recent years. The most transformative rewards have the power to change outlooks, broaden horizons and leave an indelible mark on the heart of an organization. In Canada, there are countless ways to deliver rich rewards that will promote your team’s professional development and encourage them to achieve more than they dreamed possible.
The Destination Canada Business Events team assists planners in bringing corporate, association and incentive events to Canada. Contact our team for itinerary suggestions or learn more about Canada’s incentive programs here.