Ideas for winter travel incentives and destinations

Posted by Jo Kelly

When you think of top winter travel incentive destinations to take your staff, there’s a few places and experiences that probably spring to mind – Iceland’s northern lights, the ski slopes of Switzerland, festive shopping in New York, and the home of Santa Claus himself, Lapland. But there are many other exciting destinations and activities that can make great winter incentive travel experiences, which you might have not even considered.

An ideal way to reward your top performing employees after a hard year’s work, or to give your team a much-needed motivational boost before starting a new year campaign.

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It’s wise to start planning your winter travel incentives as soon as you can. With this in mind, here are some ideas for top incentive travel and destinations to take your team this winter.

Prague, Czech Republic

The Czech Republic’s historic capital city is a great winter destination for incentive travel. Known as the city of a hundred spires, with its baroque buildings and gothic churches, Prague is a beautiful city. And boasting one of Europe’s biggest and best Christmas markets, it’s especially worth experiencing in the winter months.

Your staff could sip on mulled wine, watch one of the city’s live nativity scenes, or ice skate in the picturesque backdrop of Old Town Square. You could also treat your best performers to a fine dining experience by Prague castle, followed by a classical night of ballet and music at one of the cities many majestic opera houses or concert halls.

Bruges, Belgium

With its cobbled streets, frozen canals, fairytale-style gingerbread architecture and chocolate shops, Bruges, is a magical destination for winter incentive travel. The capital of West Flanders, in Northwest Belgium, really comes into its own during the winter months, offering plenty for your staff to see and do.

You could treat your team to some delicious Belgium chocolate and gluhwein, enjoy some outdoor ice skating, or browse the Christmas markets of Simon Stevin Square. It’s worth taking your staff to visit one of the city’s many picturesque castles – there’s more here per square inch than anywhere else in the world. There’s also the magic of the annual Snow and Ice Sculpture festival for your team to experience.

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Chicago, USA

It might be known as the windy city, but, come winter, Chicago can transform into a breathtaking snowy city and make a great choice for a seasonal travel incentive. One of the US’s largest cities and overlooking Lake Michigan, Chicago is a special destination to visit all year round, but through the winter months it sparkles that bit more, with so much to enjoy and experience, especially in January. Temperatures can even drop so low that the lake freezes over, creating a stunning sight to behold.

You could take your team up the John Hancock Observatory to experience ice skating at 1000 feet on one of the world’s highest ice rinks, or just admire the city’s stunning skyline. Visit Millennium Park and let your staff take in the surrounding architecture, or enjoy some luxury shopping at Michigan Avenue’s famous Magnificent Mile. You could also treat them to the winter wonderland experience that is the Lincoln Park Zoolights festival.

Whistler, Canada

Nestled in the spectacular Coast Mountains of British Columbia, this picturesque Canadian town is a real life winter wonderland, which can provide a special trip for incentive travel if your staff are the active types. Offering some of the best skiing in north America, Whistler is ideal for winter sports lovers and adrenaline seekers, if you want to treat your team to a long-haul winter destination.

Your top performing employees could experience skiing and snowboarding, or enjoy a treetop adventure, involving zip-wiring over woodland and forests. There’s also plenty of hiking trails where staff can trek and admire the stunning winter landscape. When the sun goes down, you could take your team to the town’s restaurants and bars for an après-ski experience, or let them enjoy the Fire and Ice show to watch a spectacular display of skiing skill, involving skiers jumping through rings of fire.

Harbin, China

If you have the budget to travel much further afield, China’s northernmost province, Harbin, can provide a once-in-a-lifetime-experience for winter incentive travel. The capital of Heilongjiang, famous for its striking Russian architecture, is known as the ice city in the winter and offers many unique activities to enjoy. This makes the season a great time to experience this exciting destination, particularly in January.

You could take your team to see The Harbin international Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival – the largest of its kind in the world – where talented ice sculptors travel the world over to take part. Your staff could see snow carving at Sun Island, go skiing at Jinhua, or watch the annual winter swimming on the bank of Songhua River. You could also treat your team to see the penguins at Harbin Poland, China’s first polar land theme park.

Inspiring you to experience winter incentive travel

These are just some standout destinations that are worth considering for your winter travel incentives. From shopping in the festive street markets of Austria’s capital city Vienna, to walking alongside the frozen canals of Amsterdam, the Netherlands’ picturesque capital, there’s plenty of other destinations that can offer something extra special during the winter months.

At CR Worldwide, incentive travel is one part of the event services we offer. We can quickly, design, develop and implement incentive travel events that provide a range of benefits for you and your staff. Our events are:

Easy to manage – Run and hosted by dedicated managers, who provide exciting schedules of activities and experiences and help to execute your itinerary.

Easy to implement – Our events are quick to set up and are tailored to suit your staff, your needs and business goals.

Engaging – Quickly enhance loyalty and performance, creating an emotional bond with your brand, and increasing company awareness.

We’d love to excite, engage and inspire your staff with our services in incentive travel. To speak to a member of our award-winning team:

Jo has worked at CR Worldwide as Events Operations Director since 2004. She is responsible for scoping and delivering all types of events, for clients of all sizes, globally. She manages the division’s team who organise and execute award-winning events – ranging from one-off sales floor days, corporate hospitality events and incentive travel trips, to annual conferences and partner summits.