Incentive travel planners now have a reason to celebrate in 2014: according to the Incentive Research Foundation the trend of budget growth for incentive trips is expected to continue this year.
But if you think that means more of the same type of incentive trips with more funding for extended stays and more food, think again.
The key to success in 2014 will be a focus on quality over quantity, and that means incorporating some of the top emerging trends into incentive travel, including authentic cultural experiences, wellness tourism and the combination of event apps, social media and game mechanics.
No matter where in the world you’re planning the next big one, here are four ways you can use event apps to rock your incentive trips:
1. Build excitement well in advance
Understanding your participants and getting them excited is the first step in building a foundation for success. Adding the right event app to the mix can help you trigger emotions and build excitement like you’ve never seen before. Here’s how:
- Personally greet participants with a welcome video that builds excitement about the conference and destination, including a welcome message from the general manager of the resort and leaders of your organization.
- Add destination teasers such as a photo gallery showing off the resort property, an activity feed that announces the latest updates and, of course, weather updates for tropical destinations.
- Send push messages to participants to start the countdown to the event and encourage them to browse through the list of activities, excursions and receptions.
- Provide a packing list and travel itinerary and allow participants to build their own personal itineraries in the app.
2. Personalize their arrival
If there’s one thing participants remember about a trip, it’s the arrival at the destination. Here’s how an event app can help make the airport and hotel arrival a memorable experience:
- Offer a virtual info booth in every mobile device with information on arrivals, local culture, currency and more.
- Deliver a completed personalized itinerary via in-app messaging along with a greeting to the conference and a link to the event blog for daily updates.
- Broadcast an invitation to the welcome reception using the event app live activity feed.
- Include maps of the resort and local area to help participants get acquainted in their new environment.
3. Engage and immerse
For a truly authentic experience, participants want to feel immersed in the local culture and engaged in meaningful interactions and activities. Here’s how the event app’s real-time response technology gets them engaged and shows that you are mindful of their total experience:
- Bring participants together with the ability to personalize their own profiles, get automatically matched to others who are like-minded, send messages and setup meetings with one another.
- Continue the event app game with session check-ins and fun and challenging activities that encourage participants to compete for top spot on the app leaderboard.
- Give everyone a voice with access to social media, a private event speak out room, user-contributed photo galleries, and surveys and polls.
- Encourage learning by offering document downloads, a video library and blog posts that not only help participants digest your key messages but help them get to know and understand the local culture.
4. Extend the life of the event
Sending participants off with a bang and extending the life of the event takes special consideration. Here are some things to think about:
- Keep the memories alive with a gallery of professional photos taken throughout the conference – and only make it available within the app after the conference is over.
- Keep all those great conversations going on social media and in the live speak out room well after the event.
- Crowd source your incentive trip plans for next year with input from all participants using in-app messaging and polls.
- Create a focal point for all information and dialog after the trip with relevant discussion topics, new documents, videos and blog posts.