Incentive Tourism is a branch of the well-known MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions) industry. It is a form of business travel used most often by large companies or corporations to reward or motivate staff, and to cultivate informal relationships with important clientele. Incentive tourism differs from other forms of MICE travel because its primary purpose and focus is leisure and entertainment, and not professional or educational development. Incentive travel has been recognized to further motivate individuals to feel involved and interested in their company's success. As a result, in the past decade, companies worldwide have begun to realize the benefit offering incentive travel can have on their business, thus making it an increasingly large market in the world of MICE tourism.
Incentive travel is particularly beneficial to companies wanting to improve relationships between employees and management, motivate sales departments to increase their transaction numbers, foster client relationships, reward staff for excellent on the job performance, boost staff loyalty and build team dynamics among important employee groups. For this reason, the programming for an organized incentive tour will generally include team building activities, exciting events and parties, and unique dining experiences, in addition to regular historical and cultural tours around the travel destination. Incentive tours must be exciting, unforgettable and unique. The company's objective in organizing the tour is for its participants to return home with fantastic memories of the trip abroad. If the objective is achieved, those staff members or clients will have enticing stories to share with co-workers and will foster an interest for others to excel so that they will be able to join the next program.
Overall, the goal of incentive tourism is to inspire appreciation and gratification in the participants toward the sponsoring company. Rewarding success with money has proven a long-term failure to excite or motivate; it becomes dull and repetitive for staff after a certain point. Incentive travel, however, is never boring and a destination need never be repeated. Therefore, by utilizing incentive trips, rather than cash bonuses or other more standard employee incentive techniques, companies are better able to motivate staff and clients to succeed. It acts as an enticing and unique benefit that no employee will want to miss out on.
Given the exceptional objectives of an incentive travel tour, the professional tour operators planning these trips take great care in understanding the company's motivation for funding the incentive tour. Accommodations, sightseeing, gala dinners, themed events, transportation and all other aspects of the trip's program must fit into the budget outlined by the company. Branding opportunities must be found to remind guests of the company's tour sponsorship and highlight positive feelings created while abroad so that staff will return motivated to work and/or clients will return interested in expanding business relationships. Staff in incentive tour companies work to create flawless tours and events so that those travelling can focus on their task at hand: leisure, entertainment and relationship building with clients, employees or colleagues.