• Incentive Travel and Motivational Trips: Their Effects and Case Studies

Incentive Travel and Motivational Trips: Their Effects and Case Studies


One of the events within internal corporate activities that directly contributes to performance is Incentive Travel and Motivational Trips. Especially in industries where sales prowess is crucial, Incentive Travel plays a significant role in shaping employees’ motivation. However, it’s important to note that simply lavishing luxury doesn’t guarantee success. In this context, we will provide information about Incentive Travel and Motivational Trips, including their purposes, benefits, and examples that are better received.

What are Incentive Travel and Motivational Trips?

Incentive Travel refers to company-sponsored trips given as rewards to high-performing individuals. This benefit is extended to a selected group of employees based on exceptional performance, rather than being offered to the entire workforce. It’s treated as part of salaries or bonuses rather than traditional benefits. Furthermore, all expenses related to the trip (excluding souvenir costs) are covered by the company. You can think of it as a special bonus offered in the form of a trip. The frequency of these trips can vary, ranging from annually for top performers to occasions like new product launches, services, or anniversaries when campaigns are run and special trips are arranged for exceptional performers.

Corporate Objectives of Incentive Travel and Motivational Trips

Why do companies organize Incentive Travel and Motivational Trips? While there are several reasons, let’s focus on three main ones.

Improvement of Motivation

The primary purpose of Incentive Travel and Motivational Trips is to enhance motivation. These trips often involve high-quality experiences, and the idea of “achieving special experiences through hard work” directly impacts motivation. Unlike regular company trips, the exclusivity of being selected boosts competitive spirit among employees, ultimately leading to improved performance.

Enhancement of Employee Engagement

Incentive and Motivational Trips also contribute to enhancing employee engagement. These events are unique initiatives that showcase how much the company values its employees. By providing experiences as rewards, employees perceive that the company is investing time and money in their well-being. This realization heightens engagement and commitment.

Encouragement of Communication

Incentive Travel provides an opportunity for top-tier employees to enjoy an extraordinary experience and receive recognition. These high-performing individuals often have busy schedules, leaving limited room for meaningful interactions. However, during these award trips, participants can engage in relaxed conversations and valuable information exchange. Consequently, these events facilitate meaningful interactions that benefit the company as well.

Benefits of Incentive Travel and Motivational Trips

The corporate perspective on Incentive Travel’s objectives and benefits has been outlined above. Now, let’s explore the advantages from the participants’ (employees’) point of view.

Boost in Motivation 

Incentive Travel and Motivational Trips tend to offer enticing experiences, significantly increasing participants’ motivation to attend. These events not only have short-term effects but also lead to long-term skill development. Employees might adjust their work methods, devise efficient sales strategies, and undergo skill-enhancing experiences.

Enhancement of Creativity Through Unique Experiences 

These trips provide participants with exclusive experiences that might include visits to luxurious resorts, unexplored tourist destinations, and group activities that are otherwise inaccessible. The opportunity to interact with other top performers and share high-level insights further nurtures creativity. The uniqueness of the event and its experiences can lead to innovative ideas.

Opportunity to Refresh and Relax 

High-performing individuals often have demanding schedules, making it challenging to find moments of relaxation. While Incentive Travel and Motivational Trips are corporate-sponsored events, they also offer participants a chance to unwind in resort-like destinations. Without using paid leave, employees can relax in a work-oriented yet refreshing environment, adding to the benefits.

Drawbacks of Incentive Travel and Motivational Trips

Although Incentive and Motivational Trips offer benefits to both companies and participants, haphazard planning can lead to drawbacks. Here are some aspects to consider:

Perceived Inequity 

These trips are exclusively for top performers, which can lead to feelings of inequality among other employees. If the criteria for performance evaluation are unclear or the selection process raises doubts, it might foster a sense of unfairness.

High Company Costs 

The expenses related to these trips are borne by the company. However, these costs are treated as bonuses rather than investments, making it challenging to calculate cost-effectiveness. Accurate cost estimation during the planning phase is crucial to avoid unexpected financial burdens.

Pressure and Expectations 

The grandeur associated with Incentive and Motivational Trips can inadvertently create pressure on participants. Overshooting expectations might lead to added stress, while underwhelming experiences could result in decreased motivation. Balancing the rewards to ensure participants’ satisfaction and motivation is a delicate task.

Examples of Incentive Travel and Motivational Trips

Incentive and Motivational Trips primarily involve trips, but the focus should be on more than just the destination. Defining the experience and concept, and then selecting a suitable destination based on these, often results in smoother planning. Here are some examples categorized by concept:

Resort and Hot Spring Incentive Travel

Focused on relaxation, these trips take participants to resorts or often hot spring destinations if within Japan. These options cater to a wide age range, offering beach resorts for younger crowds and famous hot springs for older participants. Participants can easily envision the experience, making it a reliable choice.

World Heritage and Cultural Exploration

Exploring UNESCO World Heritage sites and cultural landmarks is a popular concept. The allure of visiting dream-worthy sites adds to the attractiveness. These trips can provide access to exclusive locations and even incorporate award ceremonies, resulting in unique and rewarding experiences.

Outdoor (Camping) Incentive Tours 

For a unique twist, consider outdoor adventures like camping trips. Nowadays, glamping facilities and services are available, allowing participants to enjoy the outdoors and nature comfortably. These experiences encourage relaxation and offer a different kind of refreshment compared to traditional resort trips.


Incentive Travel and Motivational Trips are highly appealing events limited to selected employees. Apart from boosting employee engagement and motivation, these events can enhance creativity. However, since the company selects participants, achieving a balance in selection criteria, event scale, and costs is crucial. Particularly in sales-driven companies, these events can yield exceptional results. Consider integrating them into your corporate initiatives.