Connemara-Ireland

World Class Travel Destinations: Ireland

The Ireland we know today started in the Bronze Age (1,300-700 BC), when Celts migrating from Europe’s mainland brought their culture to Ireland. Like many first-world countries, much of Ireland’s indigenous culture has become highly commercialized.

However, the culture that underpins the commercialization can still be found in its purest form in many common Irish activities, and tangible reminders of Ireland’s past are around every corner and bend.

If you’re considering making Ireland the destination for your company’s next incentive travel trip, below are some things you can do in the nation to form memories that last a lifetime.

  1. Do an Evening Pub Crawl

Pub crawling in Ireland offers a different experience than bar hopping in the U.S. The pub lies at the heart of Irish cultural, social, and musical life. Traditional Irish beer and liquor, literary readings, dancing, serious and light-hearted philosophizing, and comforting pub cuisine are all a part of the pub going experience.

With a group travel vehicle to transport you from pub to pub, you can enjoy the delicious drinks without worrying about the drive back to the hotel.

  1. Go Sightseeing for Castles

To many, Ireland is known as a land of castles, with some in great condition and others in ruin, with only crumbling stone walls remaining. Touring Irish castles is like taking a time machine into the country’s past.

Some of the well-preserved properties have interiors that are faithful to the period when the properties were built, right down to furniture, rugs, and window treatments. You also have the option of lodging in a castle, as some have been turned into luxury hotels.

  1. Put on Your Dancing Shoes

If there’s one thing Irelanders love as much as the tradition having a stiff drink while conversing, it’s the tradition of having a good dance. In Northern Ireland especially, sessions of Highland Dancing, Scottish Country Dancing, Ulster-Scots Square and Country Dancing are commonly held.

You don’t need to have the best dance moves to participate. The Irish do hold traditional dance competitions, but main aim of Irish dance is to move merrily like there’s no tomorrow.

  1. Dine at Fine Restaurants

Ireland doesn’t receiving its fair billing for fine cuisine, but eating at some of the country’s best restaurants will take you on an Irish culinary adventure that shows the country’s good taste.

Traditional Irish eats include: ham steaks with whisky sauce, crusty roast lamb, Irish roast pork with potato stuffing, and cod cobbler. In short, the Irish really know how to do comfort food. Arrive hungry, and taste great dishes that let you savor the culinary flavor or Ireland.

Make Your Plans a Reality

It’s great fun to list the things you’d like to do on a trip to Ireland, but making the journey a reality — especially in terms of creating a highly unique travel experience — can require lots of detail work and planning.

This is where Incentive Travel Solutions enters the picture. We help you plan a highly unique trip, make all of your trip arrangements, and send a retinue of travel staff with your group to ensure your travel itinerary is executed perfectly to the smallest detail.

To learn more about our services, call us today at (704) 540-1482, or use our contact form. Ireland is a world class destination; we help incentive travel groups enjoy it to the fullest!

 

 

 

 

 

incentivetravel

The Top Ten Restaurants in the World

Everyone enjoys a good meal at a nice restaurant, but there are “nice” restaurants, and then there are the best of the best. If you’re planning an incentive travel trip for your company’s top performers, and you want culinary thrills to be a part of the adventure, consider booking a reservation at one of the eateries below. As reported on theworlds50best.com, panels of gastronomic experts around the globe agree these are the top ten restaurants in the world.

  1. Asador Etxebarri

Practicing his specialty in Axpe, Spain, chef Victor Arguinzoniz is a master of the barbecue cooking method. As destiny would have it, the experienced tastemaker was born just minutes from the restaurant’s location. Today, he sends the establishment’s enticing aromas wafting into the sleepy village of his boyhood, using fresh ingredients straight from his garden.

Style of cuisine: Spanish wood-fired barbecue

Acclaimed food: crunchy corn and sea urchin, grilled eel, Palamós prawns

  1. Steirereck

Located in historic Vienna, Austria, Steirereck boasts a modern atmosphere, and chef Heinz Reitbauer serves cuisine that’s modern in both preparation and presentation. The meals often look too pretty to eat, but you’ll be glad you let hunger take over. Some of Reitbauer’s entrees are quite unlike anything else, featuring eccentric combinations that are somehow perfect.

Style of cuisine: Modern Austrian

Acclaimed food: char with beeswax, yellow carrot, “pollen” and sour cream

  1. Narisawa

Chefs Yoshihiro Narisawa and Takahisa Yuyama are the culinary brains behind Japan’s top restaurant. Located in Tokyo, in the non-touristy district of Minami Aoyama, Narisawa is known for two things above all: creating seasonal dishes based on the availability of homegrown ingredients, and fine Japanese wine. Combine them, and you have an unforgettable meal.

Style of cuisine: innovative Satoyama cuisine

Acclaimed food: Satoyama scenery, pinot noir from Nagano, riesling lion from Iwate

  1. Mugaritz

Located in San Sebastian, Spain, is Mugaritz, a restaurant that takes its cue from Basque cuisine, which combines ingredients from mountain and sea. The result is mouthwatering, gorgeously presented fusion food by chefs Andoni Luis Aduriz and Juan Vargas. Served in the restaurant’s scenic garden seating, a meal can include as many as 20 fabulous courses.

Style of cuisine: techno-emotional Spanish

Acclaimed food: bitter ideas of velvet, chocolate petit fours, oyster and young garlic omelette

  1. Mirazur

We often see a French restaurant higher on the list than this, but Mauro Colagreco may take his establishment all the way to the top. Mediterranean cuisine is popular worldwide, and Colagreco and his team prepare it amazingly well in Menton, on the French side of the Riviera, using just picked heirloom vegetables and fresh seafood found from an acclaimed food market nearby.

Style of cuisine: Mediterranean

Acclaimed food: oyster and pears, fried anchovy fillets, green

  1. Noma

Chefs René Redzepi and Benjamin Paul Ing reenvision traditional Nordic cuisine through a contemporary, eco-friendly lens. In a nod to the hunting and gathering tradition, They like to “forage” for ingredients instead of buying farm-raised. The food is fantastic, and the atmosphere is remarkably laid back. The chefs even leave the kitchen to bring food to your table.

Style of cuisine: seasonal, terroir-led Scandinavian

Acclaimed food: sweet shrimps wrapped in ramson leaves, apples and lemon thyme

  1. Central

Chef Virgílio Martínez and his world-renowned team source their menu’s ingredients from the local area to create the latest, greatest Peruvian cuisine. If any of the places on the list emphasize the eco-friendly, health conscious approach to creating cuisine, it’s Central. They even serve you water that they purif on-site with a multi-step reverse osmosis process.

Style of cuisine: Contemporary Peruvian

Acclaimed fare: Cosecha y recolección (harvest and gathering)

  1. Eleven Madison Park

It’s only fitting that the world’s most cosmopolitan city would have a top ten restaurant. Chefs Daniel Humm, Chris Flint, and Mary Welker team up to serve up some of the best contemporary style European cuisine the Big Apple has to offer. The team also likes to personalize dishes for individuals, so feel free to order like you own the place.

Style of cuisine: Modern European influenced by New York

Acclaimed food: Honey lavender roasted duck, Mast Brothers chocolate

  1. El Celler de Can Roca

Located in the provincial city of Girona, Spain,  El Celler de Can Roca previously held the #1 spot. The trio of brothers who run the establishment are world renowned in their respective specialties. Joan is a chef, Josep is a sommelier, and Jordi is a patissier. When it comes to fine food, the brothers don’t the “best of both worlds”, but the best of three.

Style of cuisine: modern freestyle

Acclaimed food: vegetable stock, Iberian suckling pig, multi-layered prawn compositions

  1. Osteria Francescana

Located in scenic Modena, Italy, this restaurant reclaims the #1 spot after spending two years waiting at #2. Owner and chef Massimo Bottura opened Osteria Francescana in 1995. Since then, he’s showcased the art of blending Italy’s traditional, most revered recipes with fine trends in contemporary cuisine. Dining here is a new experience in Italian culinary arts.

Style of cuisine: contemporary Italian

Acclaimed food: mallard, partridge, and bollito

Feeling Hungry Yet?

Everyone needs to eat, and when you’re dining on an incentive travel trip, it’s a great time to fare on the best. This is what you find at the world class restaurants above. Incentive travel trips are designed to be unforgettable, which makes dining at unforgettable restaurants a perfect option.

To learn more about our services and how we help you plan a truly unique trip, call us today at (704) 540-1482, or use our contact form. The trip of a lifetime awaits!

sales-success

3 Ways Incentive Trip Offers can Improve Morale

We often associate low morale in the workplace with low paying jobs that don’t offer advancement, but we also find poor morale in places we’d least expect: among executives and managers that are well-compensated and seem to have an endless horizon of opportunities.

However, whether low morale strikes at entry-level or among executives, the result is often the same: high employee turnover, which can cause morale to plummet further.

According to Barrett, Rose & Lee Inc. — a Toronto-based recruiter for management positions — “A costly indicator of low morale is high turnover; when employees leave because they are not happy with their jobs and have few external reasons to stay. The negative impact of employee turnover is disconcerting because of its tremendous impact both financially and on productivity levels.”

Fair enough, but what medicine should you use to cure a bad case of low morale? There are plenty of choices, but one of the most effective ones is also one of the least considered: incentive trip offers.

Employee Morale and Incentive Travel

Unique incentive trip offers that promise the travel experience of a lifetime help sustain high morale in at least three ways. Let’s look at what they are and why they matter.

  1. Shows Employee Appreciation

Salary, bonuses, stock options, etc., are how high-level employees are compensated for hard work. These rewards are expected, not viewed as novelties that go above and beyond normal compensation to show employee appreciation.

Incentive trip offers, on the other hand, can be highly novel. More importantly, they are optional. They aren’t a part of normal compensation, and a company isn’t bound to offer them. Therefore, when a company makes incentive trip offers, it sends a direct message of appreciation.

  1. Provides Daily Motivation

Most executives and managers earn a salary and not a wage. If they put in an 80-hour workweek, they’re paid the same as if they put in 40 hours. What’s to keep a salaried employee motivated to put in long hours? Bonuses, for one. But even the monetary value of bonuses can become predictable after a few years.

What isn’t as predictable is how much relaxation and excitement can be enjoyed through qualifying for incentive trip offers, and then embarking on the trips. For many upper level employees, the promise of a unique travel experience provides motivation where direct financial compensation falls short.

  1. Brings Colleagues Closer Together

Working at the same company and pursuing the same professional goals are important things to have in common. But they don’t guarantee colleagues will feel highly comfortable or connected with each other beyond the pale of emulating professionalism.

One thing that does bring colleagues closer together is sharing a unique travel experience that’s unforgettable for all the right reasons. Shared experience makes us feel like we have something in common. When the experience is positive, a deep level of bonding can occur. Within the context of the workplace, this bonding can reduce nonconstructive criticism and improve morale.

About Our Company

Incentive Travel Solutions specializes in planning unique incentive travel trips to wonderful destinations around the globe. We facilitate the entire trip, from airline and hotel arrangements to event planning and travel itineraries. Many companies have used our services to promote high morale in the workplace, and your company can, too.

To get started on planning a trip for top performers, call us today at (704) 540-1482, or send us an email through our contact form. We look forward to helping you plan the journey of a lifetime!

Incentive-Travel-Getaway

Creating a Once in a Lifetime Incentive Trip in Cuba

For the first time in over five decades, North Americans can legally travel to Cuba without special permission from the U.S. Government. In the roughly 50 years that have passed since the travel ban was imposed, U.S. residents have been largely cut off from one of the Caribbean’s richest spots for natural beauty and culture.

However, the extended travel ban has a silver lining in hindsight: Compared to other nations that enjoy the warm shores of the Caribbean Sea, Cuba has remained mostly un-Americanized since the 1960s and still offers a remarkably authentic tourist experience.

This is one reason why an incentive trip to Cuba is becoming more popular among companies that reward top performers with travel trips. If your organization is considering planning an incentive trip to Cuba — and you want to make it the trip of a lifetime — below are four ways we can help you create a fantastic trip that will always be remembered.

  1. Great Hotel Accommodations

Cuba may not be as Americanized as some of its neighbors, but its cultural originality comes at a price for the average tourist: Because Cuba’s hospitality industry isn’t accustomed to accommodating a steady influx of U.S. travelers, it can be hard to find a good hotel.

Using our expertise and connections in the incentive travel industry, we’ll ensure your group has tastefully appointed, comfortable lodging that only adds to the unforgettable experience.

  1. Eating at Paladares Restaurants

Paladares are restaurants operated in residential dwellings by families that specialize in serving up Cuban cuisine. But travel experts predict paladares will become increasingly commercialized — with menus geared for American tastebuds — now that the U.S. to Cuba travel is reinstated.

We can help you goup enjoy an amazing Cuban culinary experience by scheduling lunch and dinner dates at paladares that equate to five-star restaurants in terms of cuisine. Enjoy the originality of Cuba’s paladares while you can!

  1. City of Trinidad

Not to be confused with the Caribbean Island of Trinidad, the Cuban city of Trinidad is one of the nation’s most unchanged metropolises since the Elizabethan era (1558–1603). The exceptional preservation of the city’s surroundings and heritage means it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles you’d expect from a tourist spot, but many agree this is part of the city’s charm.

Huffington Post says this about Trinidad: “Don’t expect fancy accommodations — the sleepy B&Bs are family-run — but they all have rooftop seafood restaurants, local musicians playing the afternoon away, and a cool, laid-back vibe as you walk the cobblestone streets.” You may not wish to lodge in Trinidad, but the city is well worth a day trip.

  1. Top Coral Reefs

Oceanographers know Cuba as one of the world’s finest destinations for coral reef studies. Nearby Key West and Jamaica feature once impeccable reefs that have since damaged by the ravages of commercialism, but Cuba’s reefs remain comparatively unspoiled.

You can view reefs from several locations, but if it’s crystal clear water you’re after, it’s hard to beat the resort island of Cayo Coco. View a reef, snorkel and take in aquatic life, jump from low cliffs into warm water below, or just relax and enjoy the scenery. Whatever your vision of Caribbean island paradise, we’ll help make it a part of your incentive trip in Cuba.

Contact Us Today

If you’d like to reward your top performers with an incentive trip in Cuba, Incentive Travel Solutions is here to help. We’ll work with you to create unique travel experiences that aren’t a part of the average vacation or business trip — experiences that bring colleagues close together and motivate them to qualify for the next incentive trip.

To get started on planning an awesome journey, call us today at (704) 540-1482, or send us an email through our contact form. Beautiful Cuba awaits!

incentive-travel-getaway-trip

Refreshing your Sales Team with an Incentive Travel Getaway

America values hard work. In fact, our traditional five-day work week doesn’t have much tradition behind it. Until the late 1800s, we commonly worked seven days a week. And let’s be honest: some of us still do, and it isn’t always because we hold more than one job.

Sales reps often put in more than five days a week because business deals don’t conveniently stop on Friday afternoon and resume on Monday morning. Sure, most successful salespeople earn a nice salary and an annual bonus that justifies the hard work, but great financial incentives can’t cure mental exhaustion. Eventually, even the most dedicated team members need a break.

Refresh With Incentive Travel   

After putting in countless work weeks of well over 40 hours, simply relaxing at home for a few days can feel reinvigorating. But you want to reward your top sellers with more than just good pay and vacation days. You want to do something that quantifies the importance of their achievements and encourages them to keep up the great work. Taking an incentive travel getaway to an exciting destination is the perfect solution.

The Incentive Research Foundation defines incentive travel this way: “Incentive Travel Programs are a motivational tool to enhance productivity or achieve business objectives in which participants earn the reward based on a specific level of achievement set forth by management. Earners are rewarded with a trip and the program is designed to recognize earners for their achievements.”

It’s easy enough to see how an incentive travel getaway rewards great sales numbers and encourages them in the future. But what about the relaxation factor? As we all know, even leisure travel can be stressful when it comes to making travel arrangements and ensuring the trip goes off as planned.

Use an Incentive Travel Planner   

Aside of choosing relaxing activities for your trip, the key to filling an incentive travel getaway with relaxation is placing it in the hands of an experienced incentive travel planner, such as Incentive Travel Solutions.

When you use us as your incentive travel facilitator, we handle all travel arrangements, including scheduling for activities after you arrive at the destination. We even send a retinue of travel staff with you on the trip to handle anything that must be done to make the journey go as planned. The result is an incentive travel getaway that’s stress-free and mentally refreshing

Contact Incentive Travel Solutions

The seven-day work week can be traced back 4,000 years to ancient Babylon, but the five-day work week followed by a two-day “weekend” didn’t show up until the late 1800s, when Englanders started spending Saturday and Sunday visiting friends before their weekly work schedule resumed. This is the kind of work week most of us want, but holding a key position in sales often requires putting in more than five days a week.

If you’re ready to reward your top sales reps with an unforgettable travel trip for all of their hard work, call us today at (704) 540-1482, or send us an email through our contact form. We look forward to helping you plan the ultimate relaxing getaway!