Key takeaways from the Incentive Research Foundation roundtable discussions


In the competitive world of employee motivation and performance rewards, incentive travel stands out as a compelling tool. It's not just about visiting a destination; it's about creating unforgettable experiences that ignite a buzz within an organization. In its quest to unveil the secrets of maximizing the value of your incentive destination, Destination Canada set its sights on Québec City as the backdrop for a series of roundtable discussions in collaboration with the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF). Together, we explored insights and strategies that can transform your incentive travel programs. Uncover the 10 key takeaways that emerged from these enlightening work sessions.

1. Incentive travel's impact

In today's competitive business world, understanding the multiple benefits of incentive travel is crucial. Most importantly, it is a powerful tool for retaining talent, motivating and rewarding outstanding performance, and driving future performance.

2. Understanding participant priorities

To create a successful incentive program, it's crucial to understand your audience's desires and preferences. Focus on what your participants want to do rather than just where they want to go.

3. Selecting unique destinations

Unique destinations that provide authentic experiences appeal to all kinds of participants. Even in well-established destinations, offering original experiences is crucial to prevent programs from growing monotonous or predictable.

4. Optimizing destination value

The destination should make the trip exciting. Educate and tell stories about the destination, emphasizing its unique features and cultural richness. Even in traditional destinations, there are opportunities to spark excitement.

5. Cultural sensitivity

Be mindful of local culture when providing authentic experiences. Find a happy medium between authenticity and avoiding stereotypes. In addition, providing educational context will enhance participants' understanding.

6. Maximizing program pacing

Adjust pacing to allow participants time to recharge and absorb the experience. Assess the level of freedom your participants prefer to structure your program.

7. Gifting for lasting impact

Gifts can significantly extend the impact of an incentive trip. Consider locally sourced, artisanal, and experiential gifts with an emphasis on quality and personalization.

8. Maximizing supplier resources

Leverage all available resources, including industry peers, events, and site inspections, to create a successful incentive program.

9. The role of a good DMC

DMCs, such as Inscript and JPdL, are helpful for planning logistics, ensuring security, and connecting you to local culture and group activities. They serve as the "boots on the ground."

10. The value of involving DMOs

Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) and Convention & Visitors Bureaus (CVBs) provide impartial and valuable information but are often underutilized. Consider involving us earlier in the process to maximize your destination selection!


Incorporating these takeaways into your incentive travel program will not only boost outstanding performance but also leave a lasting impact on your best talent. Take the first step by contacting us today!

Read the full report here.

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