Do You Know the ROI of Your Incentive Travel Program?

Incentive travel is big business, and not just for destination management companies such as Dolce Vita Incentives. Fully 38% of all U.S. firms with revenue over $1 million use incentive travel programs as a motivator, according to the Incentive Federation. In July 2016, the Incentive Federation published a study that found an annual incentive travel budget of over $14 billion by U.S. firms alone.

With all this money spent, you’d expect these programs to be tightly monitored and measured to ensure the worth of such a spend. That’s not the case, however. A recent study by SITE (Society for Incentive Travel Excellence) found only 23% of corporate buyers “always” or “almost always” track the ROI of their incentive travel programs. Why? Because management doesn’t require it.

If you aren’t going to track ROI, that’s up to you, but I submit that you should at least track ROO, or Return on Objective. It matters to me, because I want you to know that your event with us was successful, instead of just guessing whether it was or not. It should matter to you, because you want to make sure it has the intended effect on your employees and partners.

Do you find that the same group of high achievers end up going on the incentive trips, or enjoying the program to the fullest? If so, you’re missing some vital parts and you need to reassess.

Getting Down to the Return on Objective of Your Incentive Travel Program

How do you successfully create an incentive program? Here are the basic steps:

  1. Choose the goals of the program. What do you hope to achieve, and what is your talent pool expected to do for the incentives?
  2. Set up a plan to measure the success of the program. If it matters, measure it. What data points are you going to use? How will you gather this data? Who will manage it?
  3. Set your baseline. How did the targeted team perform before the program began? What were their performance scores, or the company output?
  4. Monitor the program. Gather additional data during the time of the program. You’ll need to know how much of a difference it made to your bottom line.
  5. Survey the participants. Did their stress levels go up? Remember, happy employees are productive employees, and stress does not do well for happiness. Are there areas where they suggest improvements?
  6. Review the program. At the end of it all, you want to find out if the program was successful all the way around. Did your company reach its goals – the main reason for the program?
  7. Give the entire team an “exit survey.” How was the entire experience for your employees? Are there any negatives that stand out across the participants? Are there positives that stood out to everyone?
  8. Evaluate the program with all the data. Was it successful?

There is always room for improvement, no matter how good your incentive travel program is. Pay attention to your employees and the results. If you’re just guessing how well it went, your program isn’t at its best.