Until a vaccine is available, we unfortunately have to live with the new ‘normal’. I believe that the travel pattern of corporate incentive trips will be reshaped one way or another, potentially even after a successful vaccine is readily available for the public. Here are 5 useful tips for you to consider when planning your next corporate incentive travel event:
(1) Choosing the Destination
Go with Travel Bubbles - The HKSAR Government are currently in discussion with 11 countries (namely Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, Vietnam, Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany and Switzerland) about the possibility of setting up ‘travel bubbles’.
Earlier this month, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau Tang-wah revealed that of the potential destinations contacted by the government, six of them had reciprocated interest – these were, Germany, France, Switzerland, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore. It is advisable that you stay up to date regarding the latest developments of HK’s travel bubbles.
Closer-to-home destination - Some people might feel more comfortable in visiting destinations that involve less flying time, the Asia Pacific region is a recommended choice for travellers from Hong Kong. Now is a great time to go out and explore the hidden gems in popular short-haul destinations that we are already familiar with.
(2) Changing the Flying Format
An alternative option to arranging a group travel pattern could be for participants to book their air tickets individually and meet at a destination, this will hopefully eliminate the risk of airplane contamination.
Another option to consider could be to arrange a private charter flight exclusively for your group, but this would depend entirely on corporate policy and budget. The advantage of this is that your group will not be using the public airport departure facilities and it also allows extra seats for social distancing. A private charter flight is perceived as prestigious and the epitome of luxurious travelling, which conveniently aligns with the concept of incentive trips.
(3) Picking the Perfect Hotel
It is expected that booking contracts with hotels will be more flexible post COVID-19. However, before making a booking, it is suggested you ensure they have the following in place:
- a flexible cancellation policy
- an exceptional hygiene procedure
- plenty of outdoor space for activities and events
- spacious indoor event space for gala dinners (at least 3 times of the intended event space!)
For a larger group, consider a total buyout of the resort, or hotel.
Prior to the trip, share details of the hotel’s standard (ideally, best practices) and their cleaning and hygiene processes – these should include steps such as temperature checks for all staff and guests upon arrival, hand sanitizing throughout the venue, masks and regular surface cleaning.
Request the hotel update guests frequently with notices about on-site precautions, the timing of housekeeping and cleaning activities that will occur.
(4) Think Outside of the Box
The new norm that we are all becoming accustomed to means we don’t necessarily have to follow the traditional method of planning and organizing incentive trips, but it is also a great opportunity for new ideas and inspirations!
Explore alternative substitutions to conform to the new normal and try to introduce brand new incentive concepts to the delegates.
• Travelling in smaller groups will hopefully be enriching and offer a more personal experience.
• An exclusive buyout of small island resort (e.g. Maldives, Soneva Kiri etc…)
• Chartering a high-end cruise (e.g. Aqua Expedition, Virgin Scarlett, The Ritz Carlton Yacht)
• Chartering of exclusive train journey (Eastern Oriental Express)
Continue brainstorming and you will come up with lots of ideas…!
We are aware that some companies have offered to replace planned incentive trips for this year with different options such as, individual travel packages, tailored travel experiences, or a choice of merchandise. All the individual travel rewards are valid for 24 months, which gives winners plenty of time to schedule ahead for when the world opens back up again.
(5) Forward Thinking
We now live in a world of unknown and although it is important to plan ahead, we must also be ready at any time for plans to change. Effective and transparent communication with stakeholders is critical and as an event organiser, we need to carefully select destination partners who are flexible and operate professionally.
The Future of Incentive Travel is changing daily. Stay tuned and be ready to adapt!