The 20 Best Incentive Travel Destinations for 2024
If your sales incentive trip or president’s club trip seeks fresh ideas, it may be time to consider new incentive travel locations. Our globetrotting experts put their heads together and selected their 20 favorite ideas for incentive trips, offering something popular for 2024 and beyond.
This mix of beaches, mountains, cities, and countries was chosen based on their incentive-quality hotels, authentic activities, cuisine, and bucket-list appeal.
The results are in, the latest reports from The Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) and Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE) conclude international travel is booming; hotel availability remains tight in popular resort locations; and trip winners crave more downtime and less programming. Start daydreaming about your next incentive destination today!
1. Florence – Vineyards, Vespas, and Da Vinci
Belmond Villa San Michele, courtesy of the hotel
Most well-traveled individuals find themselves in Rome, but Florence is the true gem, offering as little or as much adventure and relaxation as needed. Named the Jewel of the Renaissance for good reason, Florence is an open-air museum that wows at every turn and is an enchanting destination for your next incentive program. The city bustles with craft, culture, cuisine, architecture, and some of the most iconic art in the world. Participants can immerse themselves in the area’s cultural heritage by exploring iconic sites, sampling delicious cuisine and unparalleled wine, and leather shopping fit for queens and kings.
Pairing Florence with the rolling hills of nearby Tuscany allows you the opportunity to offer the best of both worlds, just 40 minutes apart. Guests can explore Tuscany on Vespas, e-bikes, or classic cars; enjoy the breathtaking ancient cities of the region; jump in a 4×4 and explore the countryside; or indulge in some Chianti, which makes these hills famous.
Plenty of incentive quality properties offer 5-star service to your top performers. The Four Seasons Hotel Firenze is in the northern stretch with gardens galore and the Michelin-starred Il Palagio restaurant. On the South end of Santa Maria Novella stands The St. Regis Florence, which has welcomed travelers since the 18th century. Also not to be missed, and once a Franciscan Monastery with a terrace said to have been sculpted by Michaelangelo himself, is the Belmond Villa San Michele.Carved into the Florence hilltop, the villa is a work of art, inside and out.
2. Ireland – Castles & Green Countryside
Adare Manor, courtesy of the hotel
The West of Ireland is framed by a rugged coastlineand peppered with peninsulas, ports, pubs, and people (how about that alliteration?). The countryside is home to some of Ireland’s finest evening entertainment and folk sessions, and it plays a little more authentic than the more tourist-friendly Dublin and Killarney.
Travel trivia: What is the difference between a castle and a manor? A castle is a fort for fighting, and a manor is for country living!
3. Portugal – Good Value for Your Euro
Recent incentive trips to Portugal focused on Lisbon, Cascais, and Sintra; attendees considered it one of their all-time favorites! Take your group on a historical tour to Penha Palace in the Sintra Mountains and Quinta de Regaleira, or bike the Cascais (pronounced Kash-Ki-sssh) coastline, which offers a string of charming wineries. There are countless ways to “wow” participants with everything in reach. We recommend a minimum of four nights to make the most of your time in this dream destination.
The Penha Longa Resort(a Ritz-Carlton) is built on the site of a former monastery and offers a wonderful mix of culture and5-star elegance, or consider the Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon as a home base close to the Lisbon city center.You can see a full program guide for Portugal in our blog post outlining this bucket list trip, complete with event ideas and activities.
4. Switzerland – Small Footprint, Endless Opportunities
The Reuss River in Lucerne, Switzerland
A popular destination on everyone’s bucket list! Switzerland is a diversified country with so much to offer in a small footprint: from its majestic mountains and incredible villages of Zermatt, Gstaad, and Bürgenstock, to the scenic lake regions in Geneva, Lausanne, Montreux, or Lugano, or the bustling cities of Zurich and Bern – there’s truly a destination fit for any type of incentive. No matter which region you choose, they each offer visitors a variety of hotel options, including the ultra-luxuryBürgenstock Resort, Fairmont Le Montreux Palace, or Grand Hotel Zermatterhof.
Your group will have no shortage ofactivities and experiences from a visit to the Olympic Museum in Lausanne to the wine region recognized by UNESCO as the Vineyard Terraces in Lavaux, or a visit to the Freddie Mercury statue on the shores of Montreux, or the Luzern Chapel Bridge. There are countless options for your incentive travelprograms – but one thing is for sure: everyone will be surprised and delighted at every turn of their Swiss adventure. Still not convinced to give Switzerland a try? Our incentive experts have shared their Swiss learnings in our blogs: from the array of destinations to choose from to the adventurer’s paradise of Zermatt.
5. Prague – Preserved Old-World Culture
Old Town Prague
Nicknamed the city of a hundred spires, Prague tops the list as one of the most unique cities in the world. The capital city of the Czech Republic offers your attendees one of the best-preserved countries on the planet. During World War II, Prague wasn’t as affected by bombings as many other European cities, as planes didn’t have the range to reach Prague. What’s left today are the gothic and medieval influences that make Prague a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
On the older side of the famous Charles Bridge is the Mandarin Oriental, a luxury hotel steeped in history. Today, it’s a modern retreat built on a 14th-century monastery, offering sweeping city views, spacious rooms, and a luxury spa. On the “younger” side of the Charles Bridge,Four Seasons Hotel Prague interweaves centuries of remarkable history with elegant accommodations, fine dining, and more in the middle of Old Town Square – not to mention the view of Prague Castle. Opening in 2024, Fairmont Golden Prague Hotel is sure to make its mark.The magic of Prague can be experienced on foot, by vintage car, boat, helicopter, or bike. The city’s culture is vibrant, emphasized by music and the arts – offering something for everyone. Minutes away from the city center, groups can experience a private evening fit for royalty at the Lobkowicz Palace. Prince Lobkowicz provides a personalized welcome experience, including a tour of the family’s private art collection.
6. Dubrovnik – Second-Tier, But Not for Long
Hotel Excelsior Dubrovnik, courtesy of the hotel
Second-tier destinations offer great value and greater ‘podium power’ the moment it’s announced as next year’s destination! Usually ‘off the beaten path’ and someplace even well-traveled salespeople haven’t explored yet where there is delight and surprise at every turn. Dubrovnik, Croatia sits atop that list with its historic walls offering a glimpse of an immaculately preserved Renaissance city.
Hotel Excelsior is one of our favorites, just a short walk into the old city and surrounding neighborhoods. Take a day trip to Ston an hour south and experience their preserved town walls, salt works, and mussels! The Peljasac Peninsula is unique and allows locals to harvest the best in the world. Simply WOW, if you like the shellfish—paired with an indigenous grape variety of white wine, of course!
For those looking to experience the perfect blend of history and modernity, the Hilton Imperial Dubrovnikseamlessly fuses period charm with contemporary elegance.This captivating historic structure dates back to 1897 and is located on the outskirts of Dubrovnik’s Old Town, offering breathtaking views of the iconic red roofs and the mesmerizing Adriatic Sea. The hotel isalso within walking distance of key attractions such as Pile Gate, Lovrijenac Fort, and Šulić Beach.
Croatia and the surrounding Balkans offer an interesting mix of coastal activities with the Adriatic Sea and immaculate lakes scattered far and wide. It won’t be difficult to capture the attention of the well-traveled in the group with these hidden gems.
7. Anguilla – Secluded Island Luxury
Belmond Hotel Cap Juluca, courtesy of the hotel
The current hot spot in the West Indies is undeniably the secluded island of Anguilla. Compared to many other Caribbean islands that host the masses, incentive groups will find something a little more authentic in Anguilla. What they won’t find are large cruise ship crowds, casinos, or high-rise hotels. Those are replaced by a surplus of clear, coral-filled waters, unpaved roads, and beachfront villa accommodations. The 5-star resorts offer varied experiences from Caribbean authenticity to modern luxury and have earned every star including Four Seasons Resort Anguilla, Belmond Cap Juluca, Malliouhana Resort, and Aurora Resort & Golf Club.
Relaxation is the name of the game in Anguilla where your guests can experience many of the top-rated beaches in the world. Water activities are a must, and if you are looking to offer WOW, water transfer your guests to the private oasis of Sandy Island for an exclusive beach day they won’t soon forget.
Other West Indies options include the gorgeous Carlisle Bay in Antigua; with its all ocean-front rooms and 5-star experience, this has always been a strong contender amongst incentive travel destinations. Many St. Kitts & Nevis properties have all undergone recent renovations, and several recent programs to Four Seasons Nevis can attest to their commitment to the highest standard of quality.Park Hyatt St. Kitts is another excellent luxury option full of Caribbean charm.
8. BVI and USVI – Renovations and Relaxation
Westin Beach Resort & Spa, courtesy of the hotel
The U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) offer unique benefits for incentive travel—no passport, no currency exchange, and no additional mobile network roaming charges make it easier on attendees. With great airlift direct from many U.S. airports, St. Thomas is the way in and offers a few great hotel options. The newly renovated Westin Beach Resort & Spa at Frenchman’s Reef (an incredible $420M rebuild from the former Marriott on that property) offers stunning turquoise views of the Caribbean Sea, the quintessential Caribbean town of Charlotte Amalie, from atop a 30-story cliff. During your visit, make sure to explore their Morningstar Buoy Haus Beach Resort, a hotel-within-a-hotel that offers around 90 rooms to create a boutique atmosphere and a beachside ambiance.
USVI adventures are best explored on the water—sailing, snorkeling (the best outside of Hawaii), kayaking, and dinner cruises to neighboring St. John offers a great way to explore the nearby islands.
If you’re looking to elevate your Virgin Island experience, look no further than Rosewood’s Little Dix Bay, Virgin Gorda, in the British Virgin Islands (BVI). Sitting on a secluded half-mile crescent beach, with a world-class spa, Sense, set high up on a bluff with panoramic views, you’ll experience personal renewal at the highest level. BVI is made up of over 50 islands, islets, and cays, but make sure to get out on the water to experience snorkeling off the coast and into The Baths – gigantic boulders seemingly out of nowhere forming mini coves, hidden pools, and caves set this BVI beach apart from ALL others! Extra, extraordinary!
9. Grand Cayman – Pristine Caribbean
Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa, courtesy of the hotel
The long-awaited reopening of this tropical island post-Covid gave it the push needed to reach our list. Grand Cayman was cautious in its reopening approach compared to its neighboring Caribbean islands. In fact, they finally lifted the restrictions in August 2022 which had required unvaccinated travelers to quarantine for 14 days after arrival. Known for its beautiful, crystal-blue waters where scuba diving essentially originated, excellent 5-star resorts such as the Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa and Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman, as well as their pristine beaches, it’s no wonder this centrally-located island draws many visitors to its water’s edge each year. Brightspot is excited to take groups back again. Stingray City, here we come!
10. Costa Rica – Pura Vida Luxury
Four Seasons Resort, courtesy of the hotel
When you hear Costa Rica, you may think of the beautiful city of San Jose, but when incentive travel is the goal, the real reward is 130 miles northwest in the province of Guanacaste. Among the best properties in this area, you will find the Four Seasons Resort and the Andaz Costa Rica on the stunning Papagayo Peninsula. These two resorts offer all that is quintessentially Costa Rica, including amazing food, beautiful scenery, and monkeys on your balcony if you are lucky! From the peninsula, guests have access to the beach, water activities, zipline and jungle tours, white water tubing, National Parks full of local animals, and food and cocktail experiences that rival those in the cosmopolitan capital of San Jose.
Thirty minutes south of Papagayo Peninsula is Playa Conchal. This area is home to the All-Inclusive Westin Reserva Conchal and the newer W Costa Rica. Both have upscale beaches, great event spaces, and all you need to host an incredible incentive trip. Even further south is the beautiful JW Marriott, with an authentic casita feel, this property is full of charm and personality, and they offer a meal plan so you can create your own All-Inclusive experience if that’s what you are looking to provide.
11. Los Cabos – Mucho 5-Star Resorts
Las Ventanas al Paraiso, A Rosewood Resort, courtesy of the hotel
Susurros del Corazón, an Auberge Resorts Collection, courtesy of the hotel
Watch out Los Cabos; Punta Mita is fighting for its spot as Mexico’s latest in luxury and exclusivity. Nestled about 40 miles northwest of Puerto Vallarta, this secluded area of the peninsula is booming with the addition of many 5-star hotels like the newly opened Susurros del Corazón, an Auberge Resorts Collection, and Conrad Punta De Mita. Longtime favorites Four Seasons Punta Mita and St. Regis Punta Mita are still attracting the it-crowd, and don’t count out the Secrets & Dreams Bahia Mita Surf & Spa Resorts for all-inclusive groups. Not only does Punta Mita have accommodations to fit the needs of your next group, but the unique name of Punta Mita gives the destination an exotic feel as it’s less recognized among leisure travelers. To offer groups unique activities outside of the resort, consider a trip to the local village Sayulita for a taste of the local culture, artisan markets, surfing lessons, and some of the best tacos ever tasted!
13. Cusco – Machu Picchu and Beyond
The incomparable views of Machu Picchu
Found at the top of most people’s bucket list destinations, Machu Picchu within the destination of Peru is sure to wow even your most well-traveled achievers. Though this wonder of the world offers an amazing experience for groups, it’s worth noting that you will need to be prepared to embrace some of the logistical challenges of maneuvering this country. Upon arriving in Cusco, your group has the option of transferring to a lower altitude in the Sacred Valley for an easier adjustment before heading up to Machu Picchu either by the Vistadome train or the luxury Hiram Bingham Belmond train. Though there are a few properties up on Machu Picchu, a day trip will be plenty of time for most travelers to see and fully experience the historic area before returning back down that evening to the Sacred Valley host hotel.
Within the Sacred Valley, the standout accommodation option is the Tambo Del Inka Hotel which offers quick access to many of the best cultural and historic activities in the destination. Consider a split between a few nights in Sacred Valley focusing on history and culture, before heading back up to Cusco for a couple of nights to enjoy the livelier Peruvian city life. Cusco has a special charm with key sites such as The Plaza de Armas and Cusco Cathedral, both UNESCO Heritage sites, and the lively San Pedro Market which allows travelers to be immersed in the local scene with an opportunity to experience authentic Peruvian cuisine firsthand. The Belmond Hotel Monasterio, Belmond Palacio Nazarenas, and Palacio del Inka, a Luxury Collection Hotel, are all excellent hotel accommodations for this area of the country.
14. Dubai – Bigger, Better, and Always Evolving
Dubai Skyline from Cloud 22
The whole essence of Dubai is to make the impossible come to life. It’s no wonder that this destination is Cvent’s #1 sourced destination in the regions of the Middle East and all of Africa. With man-made islands in the shape of palm trees to an indoor ski resort that’s steps away from the desert sun to old city Dubai and its rich culture, and even the architectural feats and futuristic innovation of downtown, it’s no doubt this destination is a bucket list for many.
When it comes to hotels, the question really isn’t where to stay but how do you choose? The sheer quantity of high-end luxury hotels is impressive. From homegrown brands such as Jumeirah (13 amazing hotels in Dubai alone) to the internationally recognized 5-Star brands like St. Regis, Four Seasons, Fairmont, and multi-representation from the brands within the big players Hyatt, Hilton, and Marriott, each property seems even more grand than the last.
To top it off, the overall level of service within the destination is sure to exceed your expectations. Luxury is simply the way of doing business here, meaning there is truly something extraordinary for groups of all shapes, sizes, and budget parameters. For groups looking to do offsite activities you can’t miss the opportunity to take a day trip out to the neighboring Emirate city of Abu Dhabi, known for the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, or load them up on off-road vehicles for a day of activities and campsite dinner in the desert complete with sand boarding, camel riding, and henna tattoos!
15. African Safari – Big Five Bucket List
Wilderness Linkwasha, courtesy of Exclusive Touch Africa
Looking for a true “trip of a lifetime”?African Safaris have long been on most “bucket lists” for good reason. Offering such a diverse variety of experiences within its 54 countries, there are clearly many ways to experience Africa.
The most familiar and reliable is the region of South Africa, building a split program between Cape Town and the nearby safari camps in Kruger National Park, one of the largest game reserves in Africa. We also recommend consideration of Zimbabwe which offers smaller, more intimate ultra-luxury camps such asLinkwasha paired with Victoria Falls, one of nature’s seven natural wonders of the world. When it comes to luxury accommodations, Victoria Falls has you covered with some fantastic options. Picture yourself at the elegant Victoria Falls Hotel, perched right by the falls, or the splendid Royal Livingstone on the Zambian side of the river.
Kenya and East Africa have gained quite a reputation for their top-notch lodgings and unforgettable camp experiences. And if you’re looking for a truly up-close and personal adventure, Uganda and Rwanda are the go-to destinations for immersive gorilla safaris. So, whether you’re mixing business with pleasure or simply seeking some well-deserved R&R, these destinations have got you covered!
16. Big Island – Say Aloha to Hawaiian Renovations
Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection, courtesy of the hotel
With significant updates to some of the finest resorts in Hawaii, the Big Island has fresh reasons to entice groups. Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection focuses on a luxurious, authentic Hawaiian experience with the spotlight on culture, cuisine, and experiences unique to the Big Island. With a $100 million investment by Auberge Resorts, Mauna Lani feels like a grand opening and consistently ranks in iconic lists by Travel + Leisure. The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort rises above a half-mile of golden crescent sand that always lands Hapuna Beach on “best beach” lists. Rosewood’s Kona Village added another 5-star jewel after a grand renovation to an iconic resort. The 2023 opening is right up the beach (or lava field) from the perennial-winning Four Seasons Hualalai. If you are thinking, “Our group already went to Hawaii,” Brightspot recommends visiting a different Hawaiian island every 3 years for varied experiences at top-ranked islands.
17. Santa Barbara – The American Riviera
Hotel Californian, courtesy of the hotel
Santa Barbara, often dubbed the American Riviera, is a charming gem nestled on the California coastline. It effortlessly blends sophistication with a laid-back vibe and has many exciting activities to keep guests entertained. Explore winery tours, downtown wine-tasting rooms, historic sites, a vibrant Theatre district, charming boutique shops, art galleries, diverse dining options, lively polo matches, and luxurious hotels.
The newly renovated catamaran tours at Stearns Wharf and the Harbor district are ideal for delightful cocktail cruises with breathtaking panoramas. Downtown Santa Barbara offers various hotel options including The Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort, which boasts spacious rooms and a versatile meeting venue. The Kimpton Canary Hotel, centrally located, offers 97 uniquely decorated guestrooms and exceptional farm-to-table dining. For a distinctive experience, Hotel Californian is within walking distance of the wharf and attracts Hollywood’s elite, international visitors, and locals alike. Designed by the renowned celebrity designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard, this iconoclastic enclave combines history, imagination, and the essence of California charm.
For upscale properties outside downtown, consider The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, set on 78 acres overlooking the Pacific, offering tranquil beaches, infinity-edge pools, and a vast spa. El Encanto, A Belmond Hotel Santa Barbara, celebrates the city’s early architecture with a blend of California Craftsman and Spanish Colonial styles, and it’s a haven for culinary enthusiasts. Rosewood Miramar Beach Resortoffers a 5-star oceanfront experience in Montecito, renowned for its landscape and architecture, providing attentive yet unpretentious service to meet every guest’s needs.
18. Charleston – Lowcountry luxury
Downtown Charleston, South Carolina
A trip through South Carolina’s Lowcountry is often a head-tilting choice for the uninitiated, but if you’ve been once, you likely feel the longing to return. There is a reason that Charleston continues to be “named the best city in the U.S., by Travel + Leisure readers, for the 11th year in a row.” This city, as well as the region in general, epitomizes “Southern charm” in every way. The cuisine, the hospitality, and the accommodations are all a step above the norm when it comes to domestic incentive travel destinations. We recommend the centrally located Hotel Bennett for your stay in Charleston or The Charleston Place for its traditional 5-star excellence. Alternatively, consider an incentive trip an hour south to the inspiring Montage Palmetto Bluff. If the incentive group loves golf, consider a drive across the big bridge from Charleston to The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island. For those planning a few years out, Auberge Resorts Collection will be opening The Dunlin, a family-friendly resort located in the waterfront community of Kiawah River that blends peacefully within its surroundings to provide an unforgettable escape.
19. Québec City –European Charm Without Jetlag
Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, courtesy of the hotel
Best known as the most authentic European-style destination west of the Atlantic Ocean, Quebec City offers all the same quintessential charm without the jetlag. With the highly acclaimedFairmont Hotel Chateau Frontenac as its anchor, this 400-year-old walled city offers extraordinary experiences all around. From its gastronomy to museums and venues, think unique and memorable. For venue starters, check out the 19th-centuryParliament Building, which is home to the National Assembly and magnificent gardens. Perfect for your gala reception and awards dinner with local entertainment in the hallowed halls.
Our favorite time of year:Quebec Winter Carnival is one of the world’s largest and a perfect time (February/March) to show your winners why thousands flock to Quebec City to enjoy a host of activities including sledding, ice wall climbing, Nordic Spa, ice sculptures, night parades, ice canoe races (wait, what?), musical performances and Bonhomme’s famous Ice Palace. Put Quebec on your list and surprise your winners with an authentic European-like experience just north of the border! For an extraordinary group experience just outside the city introduce your guests to aSugar Shack!
Tip: Extend off-the-beaten path eastward 93 miles to the famousFairmont Le Manoir Richelieu. An exquisite journey back in time to a place where elite travel surely started. Built in 1899 on the St. Lawrence River—that was the only way to arrive, so the hotel front is facing the water. A unique, serene, and beautiful setting on manicured grounds (and a stellar golf course and spa) makes it a can’t-miss!
20. Cruising – sample multiple destinations
Royal Caribbean Wonder of the Seas, courtesy of the cruise line
A cruise is a fantastic way for your club trip winners to visit multiple countries while staying under one roof and only unpacking once. Plus, their WiFi, dining, and port excursions provide budget-friendly values. In today’s marketplace, ships, itineraries, and onboard experiences are competing aggressively for group trips, so you can find a ship that’s right for any group. The mega-ships, like Royal Caribbean Wonder of the Seas, include a multitude of onboard activities, “freestyle” dining options, entertainment, and numerous onshore activities and excursions. Their Mediterranean itinerary is a very attractive offering for North American clients. A Med cruise will entice guests with a full itinerary, ultimately checking off “must-see” places on their bucket list such as Barcelona, Provence, Monaco, Florence, Rome, and the Amalfi Coast.
River Cruising, with brands such as Avalon Waterways or AmaWaterways, offers stops at lesser-known wonders and the potential of full buyouts at a smaller group size of 50-60 cabins.
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