Location, location, location. Selecting the right destinations for incentive trips or executive retreats is one of the most important aspects of event planning.
While selecting a destination is more of an art than a science, there are a number of practical considerations.
- Budget. If budgets are tight, it's best to select destinations close to home. A luxury resort in your state or province will be more satisfying to guests than travelling for hours to stay at a 3 Star property.
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- Currency Fluctuations. This year, there has been a severe decline in the value of some currencies against the US dollar. Under this scenario, it's prudent to select destinations where you can get more bang for your buck. By contrast, U.S. companies will find that destinations that were previously out of reach are now affordable.
- Travel Time. Depending on the needs of the business, travel time may be a constraint. Some clients put a cap on the travel time of 4 or 5 hours. Others can plan events for slower times of the year and venture further afield.
- Season. Often, companies like to tie incentive trips to their business cycle. Selecting a destination that is experiencing shoulder season a few months after the end of the fiscal year is one strategy for stretching a budget.
- Demographics. If families will be included you will want to keep travel time short if there are a number of families with young children in your party. If a number of your guests have physical challenges, it's also best to opt for shorter flights.
- Perception. Let's face it. With the talk of recession in some areas, perception comes into play for some industries. If your industry is in turmoil, if the company is in trouble, or if it has recently gone through lay-offs, again, it is better to select a destination closer to home.
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- Interests. Assess the group carefully. Delivering an experience that is laser beam focused on the interests of the group is a sure way to "hit it out of the park.
Are there a lot of art lovers in your party? Opt for a destination with many art galleries, museums, and art classes.
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Photo Credit: Executive Oasis International