Pre-Trip Gifting for Incentive Travel Programs

Looking for opportunities to generate some buzz around your incentive trip? Consider adding pre-trip gifts or even a gifting experience! Even before your attendees arrive, there are so many great ways—big and small, branded or not—to add even more value to an incentive trip with carefully curated gifts. These are a few suggestions to consider when determining your selection.

Know your Audience

While this may seem obvious, it is crucial to know your target demographic. In the same way, we keep this in mind when choosing a destination, you must remember the needs and wants of your attendees. Are they well-traveled? If not, luggage might be the perfect gift. Are the winners primarily men or women? If they are mainly men, we may recommend looking for tech-inspired gifts such as headphones or a power bank. If primarily women, we may consider a travel jewelry case or a pashmina for the cold airplane. These thoughtful gestures show your attendees you know them and care.

pre-trip gifting incentive travelIncorporate your Destination

We love to incorporate the destination into gifting as yet another way to create some hype for your trip. If you are planning a cruise to the Italian Riviera, instead of sharing all the details upfront, send a small gift that will reveal each port. For example, a bottle of olive oil for Rome, a lemon-themed tea towel and limoncello for Sorrento, and a leather passport case for Livorno are all affordable yet extremely effective when it comes to building anticipation for your trip.

destination inspired pre-trip giftingOn the other hand, if you are headed to the beach, a little research on the area can go a long way. For instance, Aruba is known for being incredibly windy, and its “I Love Aruba” sign attracts tourists far and wide. Something as simple as hair ties branded with the logo lets your attendees know that you have thought of everything for them.

Create a Gifting Timeline

We encourage clients to work backwards from the program dates to develop a gifting timeline. The timeline, partnered with the budget, will ultimately determine the most effective and feasible gifts. For example, if a program is more than four to six months away, consider giving several smaller gifts over that course of time to build enthusiasm for the upcoming trip. Alternatively, if attendees will be traveling in less than one to two months, use this as an opportunity to send one larger gift to get the most bang for your buck. Lastly, keep in mind most branded gifts require a greater lead time than generic ones.

Consider a Virtual Gifting Experience

From our most popular webinar to date, the Next Normal for Incentive Travel, we explored flexible options for gifting in uncertain times. A virtual gifting experience enables you to cater to a wider audience and allows the attendees to choose their own gift. Some experiences can even include a customization element, which adds to the unique and special memory associated with the gift and, ultimately, the entire trip. We highly recommend building on the previous two steps by developing a virtual gifting experience that meets the needs of your attendees and embraces the destination.

Does your program include a lot of adventurous activities or walking tours? Allow your attendees to virtually customize their own shoes to have in time for their trip. Headed to Hawaii? Let your winners virtually select a new pair of sunglasses for their trip. As more and more shopping is done online, most attendees should be comfortable with this option, and many might even prefer it. Allowing them to customize their own virtual gifting experience personalizes the experience even more for that individual and leaves them feeling excited for their gift to arrive and to be able to use it on their trip!

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These suggestions only scratch the surface of what can be offered to your attendees before the program. There is a lot to evaluate when putting together a pre-trip gift. However, with careful thought and consideration, there is truly a wealth of value added to your attendees—oftentimes at a nominal expense to you.

As we know, research has proven the benefits of incentive trips versus a cash bonus, including but not limited to lifelong memories, bragging rights, and increased motivation to win again. In the same way, these extra gifts not only build excitement for the upcoming trip, but they will likely develop the same halo effect for winners (and even guests!) when they use it in the future. No matter your budget, there are so many ways to be creative with these rewards. Let Brightspot create a tailored pre-trip gift experience for you and your attendees!

Hope Duffie

Author Hope Duffie

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