Incentive travel is a powerful tool used by company leaders to encourage top performers to keep up the good work. But without an impressive, bucket list-style destination, your best salespeople might not recognize how highly they are valued. MICE travel is an increasingly effective way to show your top performers you appreciate their hard work.
Whether you’re planning an international or domestic trip as a sales incentive, consider one of these top incentive travel destinations 2020.
Top International Incentive Travel Destinations
- Da Nang, Vietnam
Ranking as one of the New York Times’ 52 Places to Visit, Da Nang offers a surprising mix of relaxed beach living, traditional history, and Instagrammable vistas. As the third largest city in the country, this coastal getaway is where U.S. troops first landed in 1965. But today, the clean, clear beaches are lined with high-rise hotels gleaming with bright, colorful lights.
Tour the popular Golden Bridge, or head south to the nearby UNESCO city of Hoi An. Enjoy the short drive to the temples surrounding the Big Lady Buddha, and then finish the day off with a warm bowl of mi quang, a local noodle specialty.
- Antigua, Guatemala
With nonstop flights available to Guatemala City from most cities in the U.S., it’s easy to embark on a trip to this beautiful historic town. Antigua is just a short drive from the country’s capital, and it’s quite safe—despite being surrounded by three volcanoes.
Visitors to this UNESCO World Heritage site can hike up the Pacaya Volcano, which is perfect for working up an appetite for the corn tortillas and other local delicacies on sale in the large central market. Top off your experience with a coffee and chocolate, both of which are prized locally for their high quality.
- Queenstown, New Zealand
As the adventure capital of one of the most beautiful countries in the world, Queenstown is a place of dreams. The daring can enjoy the thrills on offer at the Kawarau Bridge, site of the world’s first bungee jump.
For everyone else, there are vineyards where you can sample local wines and top-notch dining options. Take a day trip to the breathtaking fjords of the Milford Sound, and don’t miss a ride on the Skyline Gondola—or for the fit, a walk up the Ben Lomond Trail—to get a panoramic view of blue water and snow-capped mountains.
- Byron Bay, Australia
Heading “down under” is a dream for many, and that’s likely even before they’ve heard of this relaxed and gorgeous beachfront town in New South Wales. Byron Bay has it all: a sweet waterfront walk to a lighthouse, a downtown filled with cute shops, and a beach with myriad opportunities for wet and wild fun.
Head to nearby Mullumbimby to experience one of the best farmer’s markets in Australia, or go to Crystal Cave and take a seat inside one of the largest amethysts in the world.
- Istanbul, Turkey
Brimming with colors, scents, and flavors, Istanbul is fast becoming one of the hottest destinations in Europe. It’s an extremely walkable city with plenty to see. Start with a trip to the Blue Mosque, but remember to wear long pants or a scarf to cover head and shoulders for respect.
Afterwards, the Grand Bazaar will keep you busy for hours while you browse through an endless labyrinth of shops. Don’t forget to bring a box of Turkish Delight back to share with the rest of the office.
- Bali, Indonesia
Ancient temples, wild monkeys, picturesque rice paddies and friendly locals—what’s not to love about Bali? This small island in Indonesia offers healthy living and relaxation, a perfect antidote to long office hours. To escape the crowds, head to Amed on the eastern coast. There, you’ll find smoothie bowls, SCUBA diving, yoga classes and luxurious hotels mixed in with authentic Balinese culture.
Top U.S. Incentive Travel Destinations
- St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands
Back in business after two of the strongest hurricanes on record made direct hits, St. John is America’s little-known laid-back paradise. Part of the U.S. Virgin Islands, the island is reachable by a flight to St. Thomas followed by an easy ferry ride.
Once there, grab a painkiller cocktail and kick off your shoes. With two-thirds of the island protected as a national park, there are miles of white-sand beaches for great snorkeling and forested hills for hiking. Be sure to take a day to sail around and enjoy the fresh island breezes.
- Austin, Texas
This quirky city is the perfect escape from the ordinary, with live music playing somewhere every night of the week. Tuck into a plate of Austin’s barbecue, which Thrillist declares the best in America. And you won’t have to worry about a bad attitude causing indigestion: this city is known for having an accepting LGBTQ+ community, as well many others making an effort to “Keep Austin Weird.” While exploring, you can soak up some creative vibes thanks to the numerous films, public art displays, and, of course, music everywhere.
- Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Fort Lauderdale, stretching along the Atlantic Ocean in south Florida, has grown up since its days as a popular spring break destination. Now, it’s a family-friendly spot with classy dining, healthy activities, and fabulous brunches to enjoy before finding a spot for lounging on the beach.
Paddleboarding and bicycling along the beach promenade are great ways to spend the day, as is a trip to the Morikami Japanese Gardens. At night, head to Las Olas Boulevard for dinner, drinks, and dancing.
- Savannah, Georgia
Treat top sellers to a little southern charm in the heart of Georgia. This town overflows with beauty, from the famous fountain of Forsyth Park to the weeping willows in Bonaventure Cemetery.
Grab a beer (or a sweet tea) at the Moon River Brewing Company and stroll along the ballast stone streets that run beside the river. On a sunny day, take a short drive to nearby Tybee Island, where you can climb to the top of the lighthouse and watch dolphins jumping near the popular fishing pier.
- Napa Valley, California
It’s easy to make a toast to a great team in Napa Valley. The area is known as the country’s epicenter of winemaking, centered around its numerous romantic vineyards. Beyond the wineries, there are also many Michelin-rated restaurants throughout the region whose heirloom ingredients and presentations are sure to impress.
Napa is also just an hour from San Francisco, where you can take a walk over the Golden Gate Bridge, tour Alcatraz, or take a ride on one of the city’s famous cable cars.
- New Orleans, Louisiana
In New Orleans, it’s common to receive lagniappe—“a little something extra”—as a thank you for a large purchase. These gifts are available at every turn to visitors. As for things to experience, authentic Cajun cuisine, live jazz music, and the charming French Quarter are just the start.
Stop into the Napoleon House for an original Pimm’s Cup before checking out the historic neighborhoods that make the “Big Easy” a perfect incentive trip. A bowl of spicy gumbo or a po’boy will fill you up before you dance the night away at the clubs lining Frenchmen Street. NOLA is one of the most memorable incentive travel destinations for staff to let loose at before gearing up for another great year of work.