Developing an incentive travel program that rewards and inspires through corporate social responsibility (CSR) is no mean feat. Our Pacesetters program may have recently won international recognition from Incentive Marketing Association and the Society of Incentive Travel Excellence, but getting the program to an award-winning status didn’t come before years of experience working alongside our client to develop the program to where it is today. Here are just some of the things we’ve learned along the way:
The power of purpose
The act of giving back can be a very powerful and transformative experience for delegates. Although one might initially balk at the idea of work as a reward, CSR has surprisingly been shown to excite, inspire, and create memories that last for years after the event has ended. When blended with traditional incentive activities like conferencing, touring, and other local activities, CSR can deeply strengthen bonds between the delegate and your brand.
The right activity in the right place
CSR may just be a tiny component of your program – and that’s okay! However, if CSR is one of your program’s key selling points, it must be one of your key selection criteria when planning for your next incentive. One seldom-considered advantage of CSR is the opportunity it offers for delegates to have deeply authentic, exclusive local experiences off the beaten track. These opportunities are both minimised and less meaningful in destinations without a genuine need.
To ensure the greatest ROI, you must obviously consider activities that will have the greatest effect. Doing so requires a deep understanding of both your delegates and your brand. Brilliantly-chosen CSR activities align perfectly with your brand’s values and elements while tapping in to your delegates’ passion.
Note that the power of storytelling and human connection can have a significant effect on delegates’ emotions and memories. You should therefore consider activities that encourage delegates to engage with the recipients of their work; if not, you must ensure that your chosen CSR activity is delivered with a compelling and meaningful story that ties the activity in with your brand or event.
Bringing in the experts
As with any partnership, you need to put careful consideration into who you choose to help you run the CSR component of your program. Local not-for-profits experienced in running activities for groups is a must – including (where relevant) having trained instructors that can ensure your delegates’ safety.
Pulling it all together
If there’s one thing that delegates love, it’s sharing their experiences with others. When planning your program itinerary, you must ensure that the CSR activity is near the start, rather than the end of a program. You may also consider rounding a CSR activity off with a group dinner to ensure that delegates are brought together to debrief, however this is obviously dependent on the activity level and duration of your chosen CSR activity. (For lengthy activities that require a lot of energy, give your delegates time at leisure – they’ll appreciate the break!)
Need help incorporating CSR into your programs? Contact us today.
With over 25 years of experience in the travel and corporate events industries, we are experts in designing award-winning programs that reward and incentivise performance. incorporate engagement through CSR. Read about how our Pacesetters program has won awards from both Incentive Marketing Association and the Society for Incentive Travel Excellence.