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The best incentive trip ideas effortlessly combine luxury and adventure. In order to motivate your employees to be their best, itineraries should offer unique, memorable experiences and high-end accommodations. The following guide includes the types of experiences a chosen incentive travel destination should offer, followed by a list of destinations that exemplify those characteristics.

What to Look for in an Incentive Travel Experience

To maximize the benefits of an incentive travel program, learn about the characteristics of—and the trends impacting—a great incentive travel experience.

Authenticity: Travel experiences must be authentic to be attractive to most employees. Authenticity is personal, both in terms of what people desire from a destination and their emotional connection to it. But many travelers appreciate the opportunity to immerse themselves in a single location and its culture, experiencing life as it is for those native to a region. For others, authenticity is a wide range of experiences and excursions, like a cruise or outdoor adventure, where they can truly be themselves less encumbered by the stresses of the modern world. The trend of slow travel is one way of bringing authenticity to travel.

Uniqueness: Many aspects of travel can make it unique. Maybe it’s a destination in a far-flung corner of the world or one-of-a-kind surroundings in an extreme (in a good way) or highly-varied climate. Perhaps it is an exceptional mix of ancient and modern, like a celebrated historic city. It could even involve a fun mode of transportation, like a cruise or passenger train. It could be something unusual to the traveler, like a fascinating cultural practice or a different way of life. The wellness travel trend is one way to bring uniqueness to the travel experience, taking indulgence in self-care to a whole new (healthy!) level.

Personalization: Many people desire an element of luxury in a vacation. But luxury is about more than comfort. It’s about exclusivity. It’s about something of quality that is uniquely yours. When selecting a destination or destinations for your travel incentive program, allow some control over the experience by those who you plan on rewarding with a trip. Don’t plan out the entire itinerary for them; instead, choose a destination with a wide range of experiences.

Novelty: A great vacation should offer novel experiences. People often want to push the boundaries of their comfort zone without completely leaving it. Maybe it’s a golfer playing a new course, or an outdoor enthusiast trying surfing for the first time. Or maybe it’s the opportunity to explore a new city, with all of its unique activities and attractions.

Sustainability: Sustainability often goes hand-in-hand with a great travel experience. Perhaps not yet a necessary characteristic of great travel for everyone, more travelers are buying into the trend of sustainable, eco-friendly travel. Travelers are often among those most acutely aware of the effect environmental degradation can have on a destination because it affects their experience firsthand. Sustainability can come in many forms and could be something simple like lowering one’s carbon footprint in a destination by only eating local foods.

Inspiring Incentive Travel Destinations

These three incentive destinations offer riveting travel experiences, from Danube River cruises in Budapest to eco-friendly beach retreats in Grand Cayman.

1. Auckland, New Zealand

New Zealand’s largest city welcomes incentive travelers with shimmering high rises and rugged beauty. Your best employees will love the cultural experiences this city offers, including museums, galleries, and restaurants. Dozens of boutique wineries dot Waiheke Island, just off the mainland in the Hauraki Gulf.

Auckland is known as a thriving coastal urban center, but it’s also a gateway to a vast and diverse wilderness topography. Its verdant countryside gives way to the tree-topped mountains of the Hunua Ranges where incentive travelers can witness stunning waterfalls while on forest hikes. For even more New Zealand adventure, add Piha Beach to your itinerary. It’s a haven for surfers, with near-perfect weather throughout most of the year. Beachgoers will be amazed by Piha’s mysterious black sands.

2. Budapest, Hungary

No matter what type of experiences your employees appreciate, they can find them in Budapest. Luxury accommodations are accented by historic neighborhoods, exciting nightlife, river cruises, beautiful wineries, and hot spring baths.

Budapest also offers an opportunity for historical immersion with a nighttime guided river tour for a thrilling and unique view of the Hungarian cityscape. Navigate the Danube River like those of medieval times and revere the gothic-era beauty of the historical masterpieces Buda Castle and Matthias Church.

3. Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

The largest of the Cayman Islands offers everything you need for an incentive trip, including year-round beach weather. Luxury beach resorts are an experience all their own. Your employees can also snorkel, sail, kayak, parasail, and more during their trip to the island.

Several Caribbean destinations, including the Cayman Islands, have made a commitment to sustainable and eco-friendly travel experiences with local carbon offset programs supporting renewable energy and conservation areas protecting precious coral reefs.

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