Incentive Travel Cruising Benefits

A functional alternative to the normal fly and stay incentive travel program, cruising to a desired destination can be very beneficial. As the incentive travel industry makes a big comeback post-recession, new and creative itineraries are being utilized. The option of a cruise is becoming more and more appealing. Cruising provides many unusual travel opportunities that incentive travel providers and clients find value in. The top ten beneficial reasons to plan an incentive travel program aboard a cruise ship are provided below, in no particular order (that’s for you to decide!)

1.   Unpack once, and done!   Many incentive travel programs consist of dual (or more) itineraries to different destinations. It can often be stressful to unpack, re-pack, and unpack once again after traveling to yet another destination. Once settled on a cruise ship, your vacation can start and end worry-free.

2.   Island hopping.   A cruise enables passengers to visit and explore multiple islands, without boarding a plane (or packing).

3.   Inexpensive cruise packages.   The majority of cruise lines offer incredible cruise deals, especially for groups. Considering that many incentive travel programs are held in the summer, this is the best time for cruise package specials. Beating the summer heat is also an added bonus. Why stay in a scorching hot city when you can sail the high seas and feel the breeze of the ocean!

4.   Private cruise sailings.   In the instance that a large incentive travel group plans to take a cruise, it is a good idea to sail the ship privately. The entire ship and its crew are then able to devote all of their expertise solely to the group which enhances the level of service provided.

5.   Something for everyone.   No matter the age, cruise ships have activities for everyone on board.  From rock climbing to water slides, golf lessons to a regulation sized basketball court, there is no shortage of exciting adventures to experience.

6.   Less expensive airfare.    Airfares to U.S. ports of call are much more affordable than to international destinations. Airlines often offer special rates to cities which are cruise ship ports of call. Also, there are now numerous ports of call along the coasts of the United States to choose from.

7.   An abundance of food options.   Cruise ships offer multiple dining options aboard, which are included in the fare. From buffets to formal dining, and sushi bars to pizza joints, there are always fresh and delicious options to choose from. Furthermore, dining is available at all hours. There are midnight buffets and around-the-clock room service, free of charge. For special occasions, many cruise lines have a steak house or similar restaurant aboard, for a nominal charge.

8.   Remarkable views and sunsets.   While sailing the seas there is no shortage of amazing views. Whether it be passing by an island and enjoying the view from afar, looking over the ships’ rails into the deep blue ocean and seeing an abundance of marine life, or basking in the glow of some of the world’s best sunsets, when the sun is descending upon the horizon, the views a cruise ship offers are hard to come by elsewhere.

9.   Meeting and event spaces are free to utilize.   Hotels and resorts often charge a hefty fee for using their event venues and function spaces.

10.   A vast array of entertainment options.   Enjoy a show in the theater, a movie on the top deck, dance the night away in one of the many clubs, play bingo in your down time, or laugh out loud in a comedy show.

Incentive Travel Destination Trends

Domestic Incentive Travel Trends

When choosing a domestic incentive destination, big name places are continually the desired choice for most incentive groups. Perpetual preferences include Hawaii, New York City, Florida, Las Vegas and Arizona. These destinations are enticing as they offer a variety of attractive features ranging from an ample supply of hotel choices, excellent air support, and an exceeding amount of activities. Each of these destinations also has positive name recognition which is exceedingly important to sparking the interest of participants.

Before choosing a destination it is important to do some research. While many consumers consider first-rate big name places an expensive option, this is often a misconception. The high number of hotels and discounted airfare from major competing airlines allows for attractive deals.

However, “off the beaten path” destinations do have their advantages. Depending on the city, hotel and airline rates are often inexpensive. If the chosen hotel/resort’s marketing scheme is specifically geared towards meeting and incentives, the place may be particularly enthralling and even exotic. Although less-known places are harder to attract incentive groups, when chosen they are the perfect opportunity to create one-of-a-kind incentive programs. The trick to this is developing a theme which is specific to the destination as well as the participants. Something participants can relate the destination to, which will create everlasting memories. The unique and distinctive qualities of the destination must be very well represented. Many incentive travel partners specialize in creating such themes, which are destination-specific.

International Incentive Travel Trends

When an international destination is desirable, big names such as Paris, Rome and London arise. Although brilliant locations, they can often be very pricey due to currency issues. More and more incentive groups are choosing to execute programs closer to home. Canada, Mexico and certain areas of the Caribbean have seemingly become more popular in recent years. This is due in part to being more easily accessible than destinations in Europe or Asia.

The itinerary should also be planned to involve a great deal of variety, in order to suit the diverse interests of your group. There should be enough variety to satisfy every particular traveler.

Convenience is a word which needs to be catered to during any incentive program. Transportation is always an issue of convenience. When planning an incentive program, the logistics should be designed in a way which ensures optimum convenience. A back-up plan for getting participants home in the case of an emergency must be put into place prior to the trip. After all, a major component of incentive travel planning is logistics.

Kevin Devanney, President and Founder of Incentive Travel Solutions, believes that clients rely on their travel partners to consistently raise the bar and present destinations that will motivate their sales force. Devanney states, “International destinations always have an appeal to potential attendees. Once an attendee wins a trip to Paris or Vienna, he or she will always strive harder to reach the highest levels of success for future trips around the world. It is imperative that our clients announce destinations that are unique and inspiring year after year.”

Devanney believes clients choose Incentive Travel Solutions for many reasons. However, there is no question that clients stay with Incentive Travel Solutions for many years because of our dedication to memorable incentive itineraries. In a 2005 article, Corporate Travel & Incentives Magazine profiled Incentive Travel Solutions as one of the few “wow factor companies” in the incentive group travel business with our unique approach to planning programs for our clients.  ITS created its “wow factor” approach in 2002 as a strategic effort to separate and distinguish us from other travel companies purveying mundane trips that lack creatively unique destinations and/or program itinerary elements.  With each of our proposals, the ITS Team creates and highlights each wow event.  These are special, once-in-a-lifetime itinerary elements that trip attendees cannot experience on their own.  They are distinctively unique and exclusive only to our clients’ group travel programs.  These “wows”, as creative travel program enhancements, become a distinct difference between Incentive Travel Solutions and other travel companies in our clients’ perspectives.