When building out the agenda for your incentive program there are a few key things you need to keep in mind, 8 specifically. Your instinct will be to pack the agenda full of all kinds of fun experiences and moments but don’t forget about these things;
- Travel time – your guests are most certainly traveling in to wherever the event is going to take place. You must make sure to leave enough time to allow for travel. Think about every step of that travel process for your guests – they have to leave home about 3 hours prior to their flight, they have to drive to the airport, they have to sit in the airport for 2 hours (at least), then the flight, then getting their luggage, making their way to shuttle, and shuttling to their final destination.
- Time to recuperate from the travel – your guests will need time to decompress from their travel day, especially if they are changing time zones. It is ideal if you don’t host anything the night they arrive but if you have to, be sure to leave time for everyone to arrive, check in, have a shower and change their clothes. Nobody wants to go right from the airport to a networking party.
- Time between activities – it is best to not create a schedule that is minute-to-minute and back-to-back. Your guests will need time to go back to their room, maybe change their shoes or grab their jacket. You will most certainly have introverts among your group. Introverts find over stimulation exhausting. If you can give them even just a few minutes alone, they will last much longer that day before they need to call it quits.
- Travel time between locations – don’t forget to calculate travel time between locations if you are planning on moving people from one location to the next. Use Google Maps to put in your starting point and end point to get the average travel time between the two locations.
- Time to gather people – rounding people up, even adults, can be like herding cats. Someone will most likely need to use the washroom or grab something they forgot from their room.
- Keep similar activities together – if you are going to be creating a variety of experiences for your guests, try to group them together in ways that make sense when it comes to wardrobe. You don’t want to be taking your guests on a 15kms hike and then heading straight from there to a dinner at a fancy restaurant. But you could do a hike followed by a pub style dinner.
- Keep business to a minimum – let’s get honest here for a minute; is this truly an incentive program or a sales meeting in a fancy location? An incentive program is an opportunity for you to reward your top performers. This should be a time for them to rest. If you disguise your thank you with fancy meals and a luxury location and then force them to spend 8 hours in a boardroom talking shop, your top performers may soon decide it’s just as nice to be a regular performer. If this really is a fancy business meeting then call it what it is and make sure they understand that this is work and not a holiday.
- Build in a buffer, everywhere – it will never hurt to build in a secret 5-10 minute buffer before and/or after each activity. Give yourself room to breath so that should any part of the program get delayed, you know you will have lots of time to make it up.