As a meetings and events planner, you’re tasked with organizing your company’s annual incentive travel program. When researching potential incentive destinations, the key is to look for spectacular places that will inspire and motivate teams and individuals to achieve their goals and maximize performance.
From Alaska to Europe and beyond, here are 13 exciting incentive destinations that will surely motivate your team members to perform at the very top of their game.
With its ice-blue fjords, majestic glaciers, snowcapped mountains, and humpback whales, it’s no wonder that America’s Last Frontier is a top incentive travel destination.
Sail through Alaska’s Inside Passage and witness the breathtaking size of Hubbard Glacier, the largest tidewater glacier in North America. In Juneau and Skagway, explore the world of the Tlingits, Alaska’s indigenous tribe, who keep their history alive through the art of totem pole carving. At Ketchikan, the Salmon Capital of the World, savor freshly caught and grilled salmon in outdoor bakes or cozy indoor lodge settings.
Spot whales in Sitka, hike through Tongass National Forest in Juneau, or meet with mushers and their specially bred huskies for a dog sledding adventure. In Alaska, there’s no shortage of memorable experiences for your employees to enjoy.
What could be more motivating than the promise of swaying palm trees on white-sand beaches, floral leis, and Mai Tai cocktails served in pineapple shells? These are just some of the reasons why Hawaii is such a popular travel destination, but there’s a lot more to discover while on a trip to this little slice of heaven.
Breathtaking waterfalls, lush tropical foliage, active and ancient volcanoes, and black-sand beaches are all hallmarks of this American paradise in the Pacific. From Honolulu to Maui, there are numerous ways to experience the culture, history, and spectacular nature of Hawaii. Arrange for your group to participate in a volcano hike, plantation tour, farm-to-table lunch, or the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to climb up the summit of Mauna Kea on the Big Island.
The lure of New York City is magical and unmistakable. Carriage rides in Central Park and award-winning Broadway shows; Times Square’s nonstop action and Fifth Avenue’s fabulous shopping; big museums and big-name restaurants—it’s really no surprise that New York is always at the top of the list of incentive travel destinations.
Any trip that begins or ends in the Big Apple is a winning motivator. However, there are plenty of charming towns and cities lining the East Coast of North America that are worth visiting, too. Newport, Rhode Island, and Bar Harbor, Maine, are known for their nautical folklore and picturesque lighthouses.
A fresh lobster meal is a must in both coastal cities. Organize a walking food tour around Portland, Maine, which Bon Appétit magazine declared Restaurant City of the Year in 2018. In Bar Harbor, Maine, offer employees the chance to go on a nature tour of Acadia National Park or a lobster-trapping expedition followed by a fresh lobster dinner.
In New Brunswick, marvel at Saint John’s amazing Reversing Falls, while in Nova Scotia, stop by Cape Breton’s unspoiled Cabot Trail and admire the sheer beauty of Halifax’s natural harbor, the second largest in the world.
The opportunities to thrill and entertain incentive winners are endless while on a trip to the United Kingdom and Ireland. Discover the rolling emerald hills dotted with sheep in Cork; Victorian architecture and modern hustle in Glasgow; breathtaking white cliffs in Dover; and the birthplace of the Beatles in Liverpool.
Employees will enjoy discovering the history, culture, art, and architecture of some of the oldest regions of Europe. In Belfast, they can trace the steps of kings and conquerors, while in Glasgow, they can shop for family tartans. In Dublin, they can enjoy a pint at any of the many pubs around the city, while no stop in London is complete without an afternoon cup of tea and a visit to Buckingham Palace.
Spain and Portugal are both incredibly popular incentive destinations. The cultural and historical treasures in these two Mediterranean countries make this duo a terrific choice to inspire and motivate teams.
Discover exquisite art and architecture in Barcelona and Roman ruins in Valencia; walk around old cathedrals and gorgeous beaches in Alicante and Moorish palaces in Málaga; and spend an evening taking in the romantic beauty of Porto and Madeira in Portugal.
Foodies can learn the secrets of cooking authentic paella in Valencia or how port wine is made during a trip to the Douro Valley in Portugal. Other wonderful group activities include a cable car ride to the Upper Rock in Gibraltar or a Catholic pilgrimage to the holy city of Fátima.
Combine a few tropical destinations and plan the incentive trip of a lifetime. Explore the quirky beach town of Key West, the picture-perfect beaches and sapphire blue waters of Grand Cayman, and the Maya ruins and beaches on Cozumel and Costa Maya.
Awardees will strive even harder to reach their goals once they start daydreaming about snorkeling on Grand Cayman, tasting key lime pie in the Keys, sunbathing on Cozumel’s tropical beaches, and discovering Chichén Itzá.
Eco-conscious incentive travel destinations are becoming more popular with younger employees who love discovering national parks and untouched beaches around the world.
In Costa Rica, which is well known for its conservation efforts, ecotours to the Tree of Life Rescue Wildlife Rescue Center and the Cahuita National Park’s rainforest trails make for excellent bonding opportunities. A guided boat tour through the famous lock systems of the Panama Canal and Lake Gatun is always an unforgettable experience for employees.
Top performers deserve top incentive travel rewards, and a trip to Australia and the surrounding South Pacific islands makes for a coveted prize. Offer employees the chance to marvel at the Sydney Opera House, snorkel or dive in Nouméa’s clear turquoise waters, swim in a secluded paradise on Vanuatu, and explore life under the sea at Isle of Pines.
Start off this one-of-a-kind trip with a stay in Sydney, where your guests can enjoy the delights of one of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities, then visit the exotic South Pacific Islands nearby.
Situated in the second-largest coral reef on Earth, the French islands of New Caledonia rightfully deserve their nickname as the “jewels of the South Pacific,” where you’ll find stunningly beautiful scenery and water in every shade of blue.
Nouméa, the French Riviera of the Pacific, is smart and sophisticated with colonial buildings, seaside cafes, and seafood dishes influenced by French cuisine. On the Isle of Pines, the people are friendly, and the food is superb. Snorkeling and swimming alongside tropical fish are the best things to do on Vanuatu.
Motivate your team members with a memorable trip around New Zealand, where they’ll encounter towering cliffs and plunging fjords at Milford Sound, fur seals and penguins playing along Doubtful Sound, songs of native birds at Zealandia Ecosanctuary, in Wellington, and arts and entertainment in cosmopolitan Auckland.
For group activities, pay a visit to the Otago Museum in Dunedin, which is full of art and Maori artifacts. Arrange a movie tour or a beer-and-coffee tasting in Christchurch. In Tauranga, take folks on a kayak trip to Lake Rotoiti, where they’ll paddle inside the Glow Worm Cave while surrounded by bioluminescent waters. For a truly spectacular experience, treat them to an afternoon at one of New Zealand’s scenic wineries, where the views are almost as wonderful as the wines.
If you’re looking for a top-tier incentive destination, consider a trip to Iceland and Greenland, which has a little something for everyone.
Glaciers, snow-covered mountains, and deep blue fjords are some of the highlights of Prince Christian Sound. In Reykjavik, plan active tours like white-water rafting and trekking at the Golden Circle.
If you want to do something a little more relaxing, arrange for a trip to the Blue Lagoon, where you can dip in and out of hot springs made for soaking and relaxing. Akureyri has a forest with short hiking trails, a Christmas Garden house, and a famous ice cream parlor.
Bustling cities, serene beauty, and breathtaking scenery are all reasons why Japan is a top incentive travel destination. Ancient and modern work in perfect harmony in many Japanese cities, and that’s especially true in Tokyo, where life moves fast, but old traditions are still observed. Walk along the clothing boutiques in the fashionable neighborhood of Ginza, schedule a group karaoke session in Shinjuku, and share a meal at a local yakitori spot.
In Kyoto, there are more historic shrines and temples than you can count, but make sure you don’t forget to pose for a picture at the orange gates of the Fushimi Inari-Taisha shrine. Stroll in the botanical gardens of Kochi or pay your respects at the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima.
For a relaxing experience, it doesn’t get much better than a trip to the hot springs of Nagasaki. Head to the spectacular visitor’s center at Mount Fuji to see the famous snowcapped mountain, which is much revered by the Japanese.
A trip to St. Petersburg and Scandinavia is a definite winner. Marvel at the opulence and whimsy of Peterhof Palace in St. Petersburg; feast on Scandinavian treats in the foodie town of Aarhus, Denmark; fall in love with the charm of undiscovered Tallinn, Estonia; and experience the joy of walking around the Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, Denmark.
If you’re looking to plan a once-in-a-lifetime experience, an immersive ice day in Helsinki—igloo building, ice skating, snow sculptures, and a cocktail bar sculpted of ice—is as good as it gets.
It’s hard to believe that the pink sand beaches and turquoise waters of Bermuda are so close to home. Easily accessed from the United States, Bermuda is a wonderful incentive destination enjoyed by first-timers and return visitors.
Plan an underwater activity in one of Bermuda’s world-class diving spots or schedule a guided tour around Kings Wharf. Visit Harrington Sound and the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum & Zoo. Head into Crystal Caves and stare in awe at the hundreds of stalactites and stalagmites. Or leave the activities for another day and let your group spend a day sunbathing and swimming on one of Bermuda’s beautiful beaches—they’ve earned it.
With more than 320 destinations around the world, Celebrity Cruises offers plenty of options for unforgettable incentive rewards for your employees, along with the promise of luxury, comfort, and exceptional service from start to finish.
Schedule your next incentive trip with us and motivate your employees with the promise of a luxury cruise that includes exquisite dining, chic accommodations, and exciting live shows and entertainment on board.