An Insider’s Guide to Incentive Travel

Incentive programs have long been an integral part of business. Since virtually every component of performance and success can be influenced by employee satisfaction on at least some level, incentives are a natural strategic tool for businesses to remain both competitive and productive in the professional atmosphere. However, it’s important to note that  incentives come in a variety of shapes and sizes… and not all incentives are created equal! Explore our insider’s guide to incentive travel for our take on this important sector!


While many incentives tend to focus on pay raises and bonuses, studies on employee engagement actually suggest that incentive travel is more effective in motivating employees and increasing job performance than cash incentives. Unlike a financial bonus, incentive travel creates a shared experience that works on multiple levels to motivate employees, form and build upon lasting interpersonal relationships, and instill a more concrete sense of value that cash counterparts can’t compete with. 

Traditionally, recognition events and business travel were primarily limited to conferences, client meetings, and the like. However, a recent trend shift has seen companies moving away from the large-scale conferences, jam-packed schedules, and overstimulating weekend jaunts. Instead, modern companies are starting to favour smaller getaways that are more in-depth, allowing attendees the time and space to nurture both productivity and self-care. Enter: the age of incentive travel and the business retreat.

With the rise of incentive travel and the business retreat, an entirely new world of possibilities is available to corporations, and the benefits are twofold: employees are motivated initially by the experience itself and successively by the longer-lasting personal rewards this unique type of travel offers. In contrast to traditional incentive travel, retreats give attendees an opportunity to do something local and experiential, de-stress from daily life, and/or reflect collectively, individually and internally. The fundamental focus on improving physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing of attendees means business retreats are not just a once-off weekend expenditure and then back to the grind — rather, the effects of a business retreat are internalised for far-reaching benefits that extend beyond mere financial gain.

In fact, a 2010 study funded by the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) found that the benefits of incentive travel programs were indeed not just monetary. When incentive programs met the essential criteria for success (i.e. providing a balance of interactive sessions and leisure time; consistent communication about the program throughout the year; and active participation by company executives, etc.) the results impacted company culture, improved retention of top performers, drove employee behaviours to exceed organisational objectives, and provided “an [overall] value reach well beyond the typical event time line.” 

And if numbers are indicative at all, this “trend” is no passing phase. With demand for spa and wellbeing services steadily increasing among male travellers, the travel and hotel industries have taken strides to evolve, incorporating wellness programs and resort-style spas into more and more locations. The market for business retreats will only continue to grow, and smart businesses will no doubt follow suit. 

3 Destinations to Consider for Your Next Retreat 

A successful incentive travel business retreat is about more than just location and entertainment. Like the IRF research findings suggest, a business retreat must achieve a delicate balance between work and leisure activity. As a professional travel and events advisory, @luxurylondonguy we understand how to match your company goals to the ideal environment for your team’s productivity. From urban city sanctuaries to international off-the-grid getaways, check out a few of our favourite destinations for business retreats below. 


Corinthia London: City Escape

Corinthia London Musicians Penthouse Terrace

Featuring a lavish theatre-style ballroom and several unique meeting spaces right in the heart of London, Corinthia is the modern urbanite’s ideal city escape. When teams aren’t working in one of Corinthia’s six Mezzanine meeting rooms (fully equipped with HD technology, drop-down projectors, and plasma screens), the luxury hotel’s four-floor spa and gym, ESPALife, offers unparalleled repose. Alternative therapies, beauty treatments, a Daniel Galvin hair salon, and a range of lifestyle programmes for health and well being are all available at this next-generation local destination.

The Pool ESPA Life at Corinthia
Kerridge's Bar and Grill Main Dining


Bawah Reserve: Eastern Jungle Oasis

Bawah Reserve Aerial Shot of Island

Far from the hustle and bustle of city life, Bawah Reserve serves as an eastern jungle oasis among Indonesia’s Anambas archipelago, a string of tropical islands near Singapore. From snorkeling to sailing, the crystal clear waters and range of colourful marine life make this underwater playground the perfect location for team building and leisure activity. Aura, the on-site Spa and Wellness Centre isCentre, is a hub of holistic and traditional Asian therapies, with hatha yoga classes, detox programmes, and rejuvenating local body treatments all offered on the extensive spa menu. Additionally, the luxury resort offers teams of up to 20 guests the option to completely takeover the entire Bawah Island for extra privacy. 

Aerial shot of Bawah Reserve Accommodation and Facilities
Kayaking at Bawah Reserve


Singita Boulders Lodge: South African Odyssey

Singita Boulders Lodge Pool

Nestled on the private Sabi Sands Reserve among South Africa’s Kruger National Park, Singita Boulders Lodge allows teams to step out of their element and experience Africa’s unmatched wilderness without compromising comfort or safety. An open-air design and naturally inspired architecture gives this luxurious resort a truly immersive feel, while activities like safari game drives and stargazing under some of the world’s darkest skies offer remarkable opportunity for bonding experiences. After an exciting day in the African Savanna, ritual treatments, mud masks, and restorative massages performed by Singita’s eco-friendly spa are designed to help individuals decompress and reconnect with nature for long-lasting benefits. 


Ready to Plan Your Next Retreat? 

To sum it all up, the benefits of business retreats are countless, and the possibilities will only continue to grow as the incentive travel and hotel industries continue to evolve over time. From alluring local escapes to in-depth international getaways, hands-on experiences and once-in-a-lifetime memories can be created within every company budget. If you have any questions about our insider’s guide to incentive travel and business retreats, or would like to discuss your next incentive event or retreat then please don’t hesitate to contact us.