Travel incentives must be wanted

Richenda Wilson is quite right to point out that travel can be a great incentive – if used effectively – in the Special Report “A time and a place” (MW May 7).

Simply putting together a programme of jollies masquerading as conferences and training can actually create headaches for recipients who have to organise childcare or say goodbye yet again to a partner whom they probably haven’t seen at all while beating the targets that got them overseas.

I well remember one clearly exhausted executive whom I saw preparing for yet another jaunt saying: “All I want to do is go home, have beans on toast and watch the telly.”

For any kind of incentive to have maximum impact, it is important to allow the recipient as much input into shaping the reward as possible.

In terms of travel, this does mean allowing people to choose when and where they go – or even if they want to go at all – as opposed to undertaking a leisure activity closer to home.

However, I do disagree with one of the conclusions drawn from the report cited in the article.

Incentive travel is not necessarily expensive. For example, companies which use Air Miles awards to motivate staff do so because em ployees can use them to gain discounts on package holidays and family days out. As a result, there is no need simply to aim it at “high performing individuals”.

In fact, one of the most significant developments in the area of employee incentives over the past few years is the permeation of rewards throughout the organisation to administration staff and others not customarily associated with bonus culture.

Those companies which find a way to give employees the travel incentive they want at the price the company can afford are in a far better position to judge the effectiveness of the incentive.

Wanda Goldwag

Director of sales and relationship management

Air Miles Travel Promotions

Crawley

Sussex

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