Three trends reimagining the future of incentive travel

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Three trends reimagining the future of incentive travel
How Canada delivers exceptional experiences for today’s travellers

For all the changes we’ve seen over the past year and a half, one thing has remained constant: the strong demand for incentive travel programmes to reward top performers with unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Today, several microtrends have emerged that are reshaping incentive travel programme design and destination selection.

Here, we’ve unpacked three of these trends, and provided actionable ideas to inspire you as you create travel experiences that your stars truly want.

Wellness takes centre stage.
High performers go above and beyond throughout the year to make it to the winner’s circle. These tireless efforts — along with endless Zoom meetings and constant connectivity — have left many wanting to recharge, as well as receive recognition for their efforts. Your stars are longing for the chance to unplug and unwind, which is why incentive trips that incorporate wellness experiences are seeing a surge in popularity.

“With its wide-open spaces, pristine natural surroundings and diverse wilderness, Canada has no shortage of incentive experiences that can help nourish the soul and calm the mind,” says Jennifer Attersall, director of incentive travel at Destination Canada.

As one option, consider integrating the Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku — also known as forest bathing — into your itinerary. Offered at several eco resorts across Canada, the form of therapy involves taking a leisurely stroll through nature and can provide many health benefits, from a reduction in stress to lower blood pressure.  

Located in the middle of British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest, the secluded Nimmo Bay offers calming journeys through nature, with ample time devoted to forest bathing, guided reflection, meditations and moments of connection. Over at the luxurious Sonora Resort, just a short flight from Vancouver, BC, visitors can immerse themselves in the healing properties of the lush coastal rainforest as they meander under the canopy of towering ancient cedars. 

Sustainability is key.
Incentive programmes are constantly evolving, and sustainability has become top of mind for today’s top achievers. Not wanting to celebrate their successes at the cost of the planet, they are increasingly looking for travel experiences that limit their impact on the environment, community and society.

When planning incentive trips, look to places that share these values — such as Fogo Island Inn. Located on Newfoundland’s Atlantic coast, the award-winning Inn has been entirely built on principles of sustainability and respect for nature and culture. This begins with its very design, which uses stilts to minimise the building’s impact on the coastline’s rocks and plants. Fogo Island Inn also has a partnership with Carbonzero, which provides guests with the option to purchase carbon offsets to achieve carbon neutrality during their stay. What’s more, 100% of operating surpluses are reinvested into the community to help secure a sustainable future for Fogo Island.

“Today’s travellers are looking for ways to make a positive impact on the world,” explains Attersall. “From carbon offset programmes to eco-friendly accommodations, Canada has taken significant steps to help travellers in their quest to protect the environment, communities and cultures.”

Authenticity is the new luxury.
High performers want to connect with places in more meaningful ways. When visiting new destinations, they crave real, authentic experiences that provide a deeper understanding of a culture and how locals live, work, eat and play.  

A trip to Canada gives high achievers the chance to learn the stories and cultures of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples across the country. Take Aurora Village, for example. The secluded teepee camp, which is located just outside of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, is owned by an Indigenous family from Fort Resolution who share their heritage, culture and traditions with visitors. In particular, the ‘ViTeepee’ treatment gives teams the opportunity to re-connect over a traditional three-course meal in a private teepee, while watching as the brilliant ribbons of colour of the northern lights dance across the northern sky.

Credit to Northwest Territories Tourism / Aurora Village

Endless opportunities to inspire.
Canada is home to a vast range of extraordinary experiences — from coast to coast to coast — that deliver on the next generation of incentive experiences. With its abundance of luxury eco resorts, off-the-beaten track lodges and Nordic spas, we can offer clients the immersion in relaxation, wellness and culture they are craving.

Canada also offers easy access from major destinations, vibrant cities and some of the most welcoming people you will find on earth, who are ready to share their glowing hearts with our visitors and clients.  

The Destination Canada Business Events team assists planners in bringing corporate, association and incentive events to Canada. Contact our team for itinerary suggestions or learn more about Canada’s incentive programmes here.

Conference & Meetings World is published for the international conference and meetings industry. It tackles the issues facing organisers of international events. The editorial is independent, fresh and news driven, with a global reach.

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