Every planner works from a different checklist when devising an incentive trip. Meetings Focus consulted incentive experts to find out their top planning priorities.

  • What kind of return on investment are you looking for? What are you trying to achieve within your company?
  • How much money do we have to work with to meet their goals and expectations?
  • What destination would suit these particular goals? We would provide a checklist of what we think we can offer, including what you could do if you wanted to spend a little bit more – it’s always good to show different products and different destinations at different price ranges.
  • What type of partners are you going to work with at the destination? DMCs are your eyes and ears at the destination and can make or break a program.
  • Are you utilizing the CVBs and tourist offices? They can provide free promotional materials to send out to the participants or qualifiers before or during the event.
  • Think through the logistics of the destination: What language do they speak? What’s their currency? Is there any fluctuation in the dollar versus the peso or euro?
  • What is the protocol for emergency assistance while you are there? What will you do in the case of a medical emergency or natural disaster?
  • Are you using social media to engage attendees? Ask winners what they like. Use social media to get information about your attendees and what they want to get out of a destination. Also ask how many attendees have smartphones and blast information to them on a monthly or weekly basis.
  • At the end of your program, send out a survey, or it could be a contest online to win something, to find out how was their experience and what you could do to make their experience better next time. Have some kind of ending motivation that’s within your budget.


Adam Lawhorne, CITE, is CEO Meeting Incentive Experts, a meeting and incentive firm that provides total destination services in Mexico and beyond. Lawhorne is a member of the Society of Incentive Travel Executives (SITE) and past president and founder of the Chicago chapter.