Group incentive trips are the perfect opportunity to express appreciation to top producers. Building in enough flexibility for guests to customize their experience is a welcome bonus.
The opportunity to bring children and spouses increases the value of incentive trips. After all, a supportive family can help team members to generate results. However, when guests pick up the cost of bringing spouses and children, it does present some challenges.
Some of the challenges that can present themselves revolve around incidentals and attrition.
Some guests don't understand that when a meal plan begins with lunch, it ends with breakfast. If flight departure times are late afternoon or early evening, guests will still be at the resort during the lunch hour. There is a need to provide a lunch. Guests can experience sticker shock when they see the cost of lunch or even departure lunch boxes for family members. When some families opt out of these charges, it can lead to misunderstandings. By the time the group is on-property, guests are likely to forget that they have opted out of some charges. They may not realize that their guests are not covered for the beach dinner or box lunches and embarrassing situations can arise.
The best approach is to bundle all pricing into a simple package covering accommodation, meals, transfers, private event fees, set-up fees, and resort fees. If a package approach is not used and separate charges are itemized, some guests "opt out" of charges they perceive as unreasonable. Under this scenario, it is important to clearly list what is and is not included on the confirmations as well as a personalized itinerary. While it does involve extra work to create them, it's the best way to minimize surprises. Upon arrival, guests should be presented with a copy of the confirmation and a personalized itinerary. Once they have the opportunity to review these documents, they may elect to cover incidentals at that time.
It is best to work out a plan with the airline and hotel and build it into the contract. Clearly spelling out attrition policies is a given. If rooms are dropped by the deadline, perhaps the employee can be given a pre-paid credit card that they can use when they are in a position to travel.
It's also important to come to an understanding about special circumstances that may arise after the attrition period has expired. For example, if situations arise after the deadline for releasing rooms, it may be possible to have a credit with the hotel and airline that the guest can use at a later date. Some properties will build into the attrition clause provisions to drop one room without penalty at the last minute if there is a medical emergency.
For more tips for managing room blocks, also consul Win-Win Room Block Strategies, 6 Tips for Managing Upgrades and Extensions, Pay Attention to the Basics to Minimize Surprises for Meeting Participants
Photo Credit: Bill David Brooks