Travel incentives inspire staff

Travel incentives can help staff engagement to really take off.


  • Travel incentives can help to engage and motivate employees.
  • There are incentives to fit motivation budgets of any size.
  • Rewards can range from cinema tickets to round-the-world trips for two.


Exotic holidays occupy many an employee’s daydreams during the dreary winter months, but for some employers they remain a lavish expense with which to motivate staff, particularly during an economic downturn.

Hannah Jeffryes, events manager at Red Letter Days, says some employers continue to use travel incentives to motivate staff, even if it is just a two-night stay somewhere in Europe.

“Budgets aren’t getting hugely better, but I think employers can be seen to be doing a little bit more, and are a bit more subtle about it,” she says. “You can really incentivise people at the top end, such as with trips to Las Vegas, but you can also incentivise people all the way down with cinema tickets. As long as you’ve got a range [of incentives], you’ve got people who are going to aspire and go for the top prizes.”

Red Letter Days offers full-on hedonism in the form of trips to destinations such as Las Vegas, extending to round-the-world trips.

For example, last year the provider ran a 10-day trip branded ‘The World’s Your Oyster’ for one employer’s top-performing employee, which saw the individual and a companion jet off to a number of European destinations, then on to Singapore, Australia, Auckland, Fiji and Los Angeles before returning to the UK.

Another organisation runs quarterly trips to four different destinations, with provider Red Letter Days organising flights, transfers and accommodation.

Travel voucher service

Edenred also offers a range of travel incentives, but its travel voucher service, Compliments Passport, was one of the most popular last year. The vouchers, which can specify the value or the destination of the incentive, can be used for trips ranging from UK hotel stays worth between £100 and £200 to overseas trips worth several thousand pounds.

Employers that want incentives in keeping with their corporate social responsibility (CSR) agenda could consider philanthropic travel incentive provider Hands Up Holidays, which arranges trips that combine sightseeing with community projects across the globe.

Chris Hill, founder of Hands Up Holidays, says popular destinations include Hawaii, Turkey and Cambodia, with employers’ average spend per employee totalling £4,000 to £5,000.

The trips combine luxury hotels, gala dinners, activities and one to two days of community development work, such as renovation work in an impoverished school.

But Hill says the success of any travel incentive in motivating staff depends on suitability. “Trips motivate only if staff are inspired to want to go there, so the trip needs to be compelling,” he says.

Low-cost incentives

Employers with smaller motivation budgets could consider low-cost incentives such as Servisair vouchers, which provide access to 21 Servisair lounges at airports throughout the UK, continental Europe and Canada, enabling staff to enjoy complimentary drinks and snacks, newspapers and magazines, flatscreen televisions and free Wi-Fi before jetting off on their self-funded holiday.

But whatever their cost, do travel incentives really motivate staff? Hill insists they do, adding that Hands Up Holidays’ trips boost employee motivation, loyalty and engagement.

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Bill Low, travel manager at Love2reward, says travel incentives can help motivate staff for up to 12 months after they are taken. “Unlike smaller awards, which have a short-term buzz, most people still strive for their two-week holiday in the summer. Any employer that has helped them by offering a travel incentive will have a very happy staff member.”