Maintain Momentum with Your Incentive Program
During times of sudden change, how well you maintain the momentum created by your incentive program depends on how quickly you can adapt and respond. It’s no secret that many clients with planned incentive trips originally scheduled for 2020 have been significantly impacted by travel restrictions, resulting in little time to explore options before decisions must be made. You may consider canceling the trip altogether, especially when many participants are involved and timelines of the travel restrictions are so open-ended. Managing through a crisis always depends on having a strong “plan B” to lean on when things go awry. Regarding incentive travel, when group travel is removed, where do you go? Does your Plan B mean Bust or Bonanza?
Clients have told us that an alternative to incentive travel is needed NOW in order to avoid losing the momentum generated by the travel offer and award. So much work goes into driving engagement in an incentive through extensive and varying communications throughout the months leading up to the trip, and should not go wasted. Talk about deflation! Effective communication drives people throughout the year to qualify for top awards. Thankfully, individual incentives have proven to be an effective solution to keep the momentum when travel plans are interrupted.
Pivoting from Your Group Incentive Travel Program – A Checklist of What Works.
We believe there are five primary aspects every individual incentive program should contain – your checklist. Don’t just take our word for it – these principles are backed by research by the Incentive Research Foundation and others. To be most effective, noncash awards must have several dimensions included. In summary, your solution should be:
1. Positive and personalized for the audience
- The Attractiveness, Personalization and the PIC principle explains how a curated catalog with a combination of experiences, merchandise, and travel can influence your audience’s behaviors and actions.
2. As immediate and as certain as possible
- Loss Aversion proves that “most people would rather lose the opportunity for gain than suffer a loss.” Your participants are more likely to strive towards smaller, attainable goals for less-expensive rewards than have even an 80% chance at joining a group top-performer trip. Even at 80%, the chances of getting no trip are viewed as too great, and that reward presents as a less desirable goal.
- Hyperbolic discounting, in a similar fashion, shows the “human tendency to prefer smaller payoffs now over larger payoffs later…” and non-cash rewards available through a catalog is the perfect example.
3. Easy to receive and user-friendly
- Choice Architecture and hassle in a platform that can adapt to multiple device types and contain an engagement layer that is easy to grasp, with a clean, crisp design.
4. Socially reinforcing with their peers
- Sociability and bonding happen when winners in a program share what they earn and post their experiences to social platforms and through word-of-mouth – it’s social proof.
5. Evidencing the organization cares about them
- Both the halo effect and defense drive can be achieved when a creative team works with you to craft impactful, consistent messaging both digitally and physically across multiple platforms. Keep your messaging simple and clear with timely-placed nudges.
As you deal with extreme shifts in your personal and professional life, let us take the stress out of determining an alternative solution for your group incentive travel program. We will partner with you to select an alternate incentive that maintains momentum and ensures your team stays motivated throughout the pandemic. For proven results on a travel program transition in action, read our case study A Rapid Response to COVID-19.