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Boosting employee performance with rewards for traveling smart

Posted on February 18, 2014 by Breanna Wilson & filed under Travel
There is a reason why travelers often receive inquiries as to whether their trips are for business or pleasure. The two have not traditionally gotten along together, and that is not likely to change any time soon. However, businesses are looking for ways to make travel less of a burden for employees by offering unique rewards and recognition programs that acknowledge their dedication to the road and encourage exceptional work for those who perform well while out of the office.

Business travelers get to play games, too

Everybody knows that business travel feels like more of a chore, but a recent article from Forbes highlighted the emerging trend of gamification as a method to encourage employees to comply with company policies with regard to expenses and work habits on the road. By using game mechanics to reward travelers with points and badges, businesses are more likely to see their workers adhere to budgets, stay on schedule and generally perform better in the field. "Younger travelers are so incredibly comfortable with the concept of gaming, that you now have a large traveling portion of the workforce that fully understands the concept of rewards and badges," Will Tate, senior vice president of travel management consultancy Management Alternatives, told the news source.

A new approach to an old necessity

Merchants, vendors and traders have been traversing the globe since the dawn of commerce, but things have become a bit more complex in terms of business travel today. Even in the past twenty years, the Internet has drastically altered the way businesses coordinate and execute trips for their employees, using the Web to grab flight upgrades, grant lounge access, make hotel bookings, organize ground transportation and plan meal arrangements, according to Forbes. This D.I.Y. approach has each company crafting its own take on business travel to their preferred specifications. The article pointed out an example with Ovation, a corporate travel management company that uses its own rewards programs to ensure that employees use their allotted resources properly when they're in transit. Those who follow company protocol are given points redeemable for merchandise, but the savings that Ovation secures far outweigh costs of operating on this model. Additionally, the business uses its own loyalty and reward service Ovantage to coordinate the system, so no unnecessary funds go toward its upkeep. "This way, it doesn't create additional work for the client, and our travel consultants help enforce the travel policy from their end," Matthew Shephard-Lupo, a sales and marketing associate with Ovation told the news source. "It's a win-win."

Supplements to gamification

While game-influenced recognition programs are great for the up and coming generation of business travelers already familiar with the concepts of badges and achievements, veteran employees may need a more traditional form of acknowledgement to feel appreciated for their efforts. Businesses should try experimenting with different rewards to see what motivates particular groups of workers the most. Not every employee is alike, after all - personalizing a reward program is a great way for leaders to show that they truly care about their staff. An easy place to start is by offering employees travel promo codes or their choice of vacation destination for exceptional work in and out of the office. According to Travel Awards Online, individual incentive travel offers far more flexibility and customization than standard reward programs that don't provide much choice. Who wouldn't want to swap business for pleasure when they board their next plane? Gathering new experiences around the globe can rejuvenate weary workers and prepare them to return to the force with enthusiasm.
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