Location, space, and price remain tried and true basics for choosing a venue, but to discover the best fit for your incentive travel event answer our critical preplanning questions too.

As the single largest expense in the budget, your incentive event venue must establish a satisfying tone and mood for the entire affair. Before submitting an RFP to every enticing destination venue that catches your eye however, narrow the options by answering these important questions. You’ll save time and be rewarded with a venue that delivers impact, draws big attendance, and maximizes the value of your investment.

What purpose?

Incentive events and travel can have many objectives. Rewarding top performers with unique destinations, providing an escape to recharge, improving teamwork, motivating for the next sales cycle, and offering an opportunity to conduct specialized training are among the most popular. Begin preparing to choose a venue by defining your event’s purpose and the types of experiences and activities required to accomplish this purpose.

team members working together to build the puzzle

What theme?

Once you have defined the event’s purpose, choose an appropriate supporting theme. Look for a theme that avoids clichés and sets the stage for authentic experiences. Effective themes often work together with the history and culture of a location to create rich new experiences guests will remember.

What dates & locations?

Fiscal year end dates tend to drive timing for incentive events and travel. While you want to remain somewhat flexible on dates to get the best pricing, pinpoint the season and month for the event. This enables you to narrow your search to locations with climate and weather aligned to event purposes.

poolside at incentive event venue

Who’s coming?

Profile how many and what type of guests will be on site at the incentive event venue. Confirm the outside number of possible attendees to gauge the size of group. If any of the attendees are V.I.P.’s, identify extra needs they will have such as a separate holding area or alternate entrance/exit points. List any other special needs. Do facilities need to accommodate any disabled attendees or special dietary needs?

Finally, build a profile of the demographics and psychographics of attendees. Motivating a young and single sales team calls for a different solution than appealing to a family-friendly executive group. The most successful incentive events use out of the box thinking to drive team building and growth. Analyze what it will take to inspire and motivate your unique group.

What budget?

Create an event budget before selecting the venue. Include all major expenses such as travel, food, activities and entertainment. Set priorities for spending, and determine what percentage of overall spending is available for the venue. Finally, identify areas where there may be some room for compromise if an ideal venue comes along that is over the set budget.

How does it all fit together?

With these main elements of an incentive event program prepared, you have all the information needed to develop an effective Request For Proposal or RFP. The RFP explains your unique event requirements in detail to potential venues so each can develop a pricing and availability proposal in response. The more planning and thought put into building the RFP, the better equipped venues will be to respond with a helpful and suitable proposal. Many of our clients turn to Shiloh’s expertise for assistance in constructing a thorough and effective RFP.

Starting the search for your incentive event venue

With a great RFP in hand, you’re prepared to start scouting potential venues that meet all your requirements. Look for an incentive event venue that not only suits your event’s tone, style, program, and guest needs, but also creatively enhances the event with something unexpected. When targeting specific locations look for unexpected places that support your purpose and theme with interesting history, authentic local culture, or impactful activities. Research shows the more excited potential attendees are about the destination, the more successful your incentive program will be in driving results.

What’s your favorite incentive event venue?

Share with our community in the comments below.

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