Monthly Archives: September 2012

Want Motivated Employees? Get Creative with Incentive Travel!

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Every company wants happy and productive employees. But that can be a difficult balancing act, to say the least.

If you push your employees to put in extra hours and effort, they might produce more, but their morale could very well suffer. If you lavish them with benefits and extra paid time off, they will probably feel increased job satisfaction, but they could get lethargic.

The key to uniting both happiness and productivity? Motivation.

And the old ways of motivation aren’t working like they used to. The carrot-and-stick approach, with salary raises and threats of termination as the only tools in the manager’s toolbox, is no longer effective.

There is mounting evidence for this phenomenon, much of which can be found in Malcom Gladwell’s best-selling book The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference. And, according to Incentive Magazine, a recent study by Galaxy Research has “found that while 20 percent of workers are motivated by money and bonuses, 26 percent are motivated by the support of their colleagues and the culture of their workplace.”

Managers need to get creative if they want a healthy culture of driven employees. One great way to achieve this goal is through incentive travel.

With an incentive travel program, employers can integrate destination travel rewards within the company culture to simultaneously boost productivity and enhance employee satisfaction. It is a terrific way to show employees that they are valuable to the success of the company, and that their contributions are appreciated.

Plus, there are so many unique travel destinations to offer, that an incentive program can remain a vital component of a company’s management strategy without ever growing stale and ineffective.

If you think your company could benefit from a motivational incentive travel program, feel free to reach out to us. We can answer any questions you may have about logistics, pricing, travel ideas, and more.

Heights and History in Hong Kong

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There is no city in the world like Hong Kong. Perhaps that is because Hong Kong is not technically a city; rather, it is a special administrative region (SAR) of China. Now a dazzling tourist destination with soaring modern skyscrapers and a booming economy, the slick surface of the “Pearl of the Orient” belies a turbulent and fascinating history.

It’s no doubt that the city’s recent ascendance from territorial battleground to bastion of prosperity has drastically improved its allure as a travel destination. Today, Hong Kong is in high demand with our clients who are looking for culture, history, and the metropolis with the most skyscrapers in the world (1,223, to be exact).

For a recent client, we booked an incentive travel group at the Ritz-Carlton, the tallest hotel in the world. The Ritz occupies the 102nd – 118th floors of the International Commerce Centre. The hotel features sleek, modern rooms with breathtaking views of the cityscape, looming mountains, and the famous Victoria Harbor.

The beautiful vistas aren’t only available from the confines of the hotel, however. We took our clients on a tram ride up The Peak, the tallest mountain in Hong Kong. The trip allowed everyone to take in the natural wonder of Hong Kong before arriving at the summit, where even more majestic views of the city, land, and sea awaited. It’s hard to believe that the first Peak Tram was running in 1888.

Hong Kong is famous for its shopping. Particularly, faux-shopping. Visitors who are both brand- and bargain-conscious enjoy the best of both worlds here, where imitation Rolex watches, Luis Vuitton handbags, and more designer duplicates can be procured with ease.

The self-described “Must-Go Attraction” really is one. That’s Jumbo Kingdom, a combination of restaurant and water vessel. Actually, it’s two restaurants: the Jumbo Floating Restaurant and the connected Tai Pak Floating Restaurant. The two eateries-on-water cast off from Aberdeen Harbour every day except Sundays and holidays.

And no trip to Hong Kong is complete without a little good old-fashioned enlightenment. So we climbed the 240 steps to the Tian Tan Buddha in Lantau Island of Hong Kong. Also known as “The Big Buddha,” the statue is 112 ft tall and weighs 250 metric tons. Visiting the temple within this giant structure is a humbling experience and a relieving respite from the hustle and bustle of downtown Hong Kong.

To cap off the trip, we chartered a traditional junk ship from Queens Pier for a cocktail cruise. The ship featured three red sails that mimicked those of ancient junk ships. While the ship was actually powered by motor, it was a nice touch, and just another example of how history and modernity achieve harmony in the unique destination of Hong Kong.

Fashion and Falls in Toronto

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Whether your employees enjoy the outdoors or city life, Toronto is the perfect destination.

On our most recent incentive trip to Toronto, the urbanites had a special reason to get excited: It was Toronto Fashion Week.

In anticipation of the fashion shows, the first two days in the city were spent on a tour with a private shopper. It was a great way for our clients to get their bearings in the largest city in Canada. At one point, the men and women parted ways so that the women could explore the many boutique stores and jewelers while the men got the full cut-and-shave treatment at a traditional barbershop.

As our visit to Fashion Week was around the corner, the women visited a store that rents out designer dresses for the evening. Trying on the gorgeous dresses was an experience to be relished, and our clients did just that. Everyone tried on multiple dresses as they put on a fashion show of their own while the others cheered and whistled between sips of champagne.

Once dresses had been selected and fitted, the ladies were ready for the big show, where more primping awaited. They congregated at a tent replete with appetizers and cocktails before getting to peak backstage. More than just observers, the women had their own makeup done among the professional models and makeup artists.

Toronto Fashion Week was really a sight to behold. Multiple catwalks streaked through David Pecaut Square as celebrities, industry executives, and the fashion media not only observed, but also took part in the glamour themselves.

The next day was spent at the historic city of Niagara-on-the-Lake. Founded over 200 years ago, the city offers a glimpse into Canada’s British history. Our group took carriage rides along the cobblestone streets of the Old Town. The tree-lined streets and beautiful homes seemed to transport us back in time as our carriages clopped along.

Our next destination is a can’t-miss: Niagara Falls. We chartered a helicopter to get the best view of the famous natural wonder as possible. But first, we needed some sustenance. So we made a quick pit-stop at Peller Estates, one of Southern Ontario’s many sensational vineyards, for some wine-tasting and lunch. Peller is especially well-known for its ice wine, which is produced from frozen grapes. It’s a delicate process, and the wine is very sweet, making it a perfect dessert.

There’s not much to say about Niagara Falls that hasn’t already been said. It’s breathtaking, and you need to see it for yourself.

The final gala dinner took place at the CN Tower, one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. We dined at 360, the revolving restaurant at the top of the tower, which is also the highest wine cellar in the world. The views were absolutely amazing, and it was a nice reminder of everything we had experienced and explored since arriving in Toronto.

Our time spent in Ontario’s capital and its southwestern region struck the perfect balance of urban spectacle and natural wonder. As more of our clients in America and abroad look for destinations that are exotic but not disorienting, we expect to make many more trips to Toronto in the future.

Incentive Travel is Good for Business, Play, and Life

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It is a fact that people connect with experiences on a much deeper level than they do with material items or cash. But why is this true?

First, we relish the mystery of what a week in a new environment has in store for us. Then, as adventures unfold, we learn about different cultures, our travel companions, and ourselves. And the memories never leave us—they only fuel the desire to set off once more.

This desire is natural, and it can be profoundly motivational.

An exciting incentive trip also continues to pay dividends well after the trip is over. As people share new experiences with their colleagues, they strengthen important relationships, improve their teamwork, and live more fulfilling lives.

An incentive travel program can have a number of benefits for your company:

• Drive sales

• Boost morale

• Increase productivity

• Improve teamwork

• Retain happy employees

Given those benefits, incentive travel generates far more new revenue than the cost of the event. Incentive travel is motivational for employees, profitable for organizations, and fun for everyone!

We’d be happy to consult with you about your company’s incentive travel program. Call us at (312) 332-1919 to begin crafting a custom travel experience for your most valuable employees that they will never forget.