Opinion: Bob Guy on the evolution of incentive travel

I came to Asia in the early 70s and knew that a career in travel was where I was headed. I’ve worked and lived in Fiji, Australia, and in 1979 I relocated to Singapore, where I founded DMCs Pacific World and Destination Asia. I’ve seen the industry morph from something that was at one time exclusive, to something available to all, especially as the MICE industry gains its footing.

Since I started out, the options in travel have developed enormously. So where do we go from here? We’ve had corporate teambuilding for 25 years, we’ve gone from beach Olympics to sophisticated gaming to corporate paintball– what’s going to be the future of motivational travel? 

In my opinion, we’ve seen the back of individual incentives where delegates enjoy an experience by themselves. People like to be recognised by their peers, so demand will continue for group experiences. However, the issue with catering to an Asian market is that it isn’t just one culture and one language: it’s 20, or 30. Deciding on an incentive trip is both art and science, and we try to find destinations and activities that will match the delegates’ backgrounds and disciplines.

As part of the development process, we often come up with a ‘wild card’ option, and this is a place that nobody at the decision table would have thought of. Offering unusual options with an open door for dialogue has worked well for us when tailoring a programme. It’s this sort of open discussion that has kept groups asking us to come up with new places, programmes for memorable experiences, year on year.


Bob Guy is managing director of Destination Asia Malaysia and Singapore


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