Incentive travel has seen a massive resurgence over the past several months, with a spike in teams that want to re-connect through transformative experiences. However, the key to delivering rewards that today’s top performers truly want to focus on sustainable offerings. While it may have once been considered a trend in the realm of business events and incentive travel, sustainability is no longer optional.
Its scope isn’t limited to protecting the environment, either. Sustainability also encompasses cultural and socioeconomic impacts. Last year, Destination Canada Business Events wrote an article for SITE Motivate on sustainability, and a lot has happened since then. Read on for the latest on how the country is delivering sustainable incentive rewards — along with a glimpse into a powerful new initiative that will raise the bar when it comes to hosting sustainable events.
Preserving local cultures
A major trend shaping the incentive industry is the desire to engage authentically with diverse cultures when visiting a destination. High achievers want to see how locals live, eat and work — and ultimately, return home with a deeper understanding and appreciation of different cultures.
In Canada, incentive groups have the chance to connect with Indigenous Peoples through a plethora of transformative experiences. In fact, there are some 1,800 Indigenous-owned businesses in the tourism sector across the country, which are playing an integral role in preserving the cultures, languages and traditions of Indigenous Peoples.
Take the ultra-secluded Klahoose Wilderness Resort, for instance. The luxury wilderness resort, which is 100% owned by the Klahoose First Nations, opened in June 2021 in British Columbia’s breathtaking Desolation Sound. It offers incentive groups seven rooms and cabins that are available for a full buyout option, all decorated with Indigenous artwork from surrounding communities.
Upon arriving by boat or plane, top performers are greeted with a traditional Klahoose drumming and welcome song on the veranda that overlooks the Homfray Channel. Once there, they can enjoy an array of immersive cultural experiences with their colleagues, including Indigenous storytelling, songs, cedar weaving, and nature excursions in one of the largest temperature rainforests on Earth. No matter what they choose, they will return home feeling inspired and revitalized by the cultural knowledge they’ve gained.
Protecting the environment
Home to 48 national parks, pristine lakes, the northern lights and so much more, Canada is a country that’s synonymous with nature. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that preserving its natural beauty and wildlife has been a top priority for destinations across the country. This aligns with a growing incentive travel trend: high achievers who strive to limit their impact on the environment when celebrating their successes.
Canada has a wealth of environmentally friendly accommodations to help them do just that, like 1 Hotel Toronto. The newly opened hotel takes inspiration from the beauty of Lake Ontario to offer guests a sustainable urban retreat, with furniture and decor created from fallen local trees, 100% organic cotton bed linens and floor-to-ceiling windows that let natural light in.
Its culinary initiatives also help incentive groups travel sustainably. The hotel’s restaurants are zero-waste operations, which underscores the team’s commitment to preserving the beauty and bounty of nature. This includes an on-site composter that can turn 12,000 pounds of waste into under 1,000 pounds of compost that’s used to feed over 2,500 plants in the hotel and neighbouring parks.
Supporting the community
Today’s high achievers are also eager to play a role in revitalizing the they visit — with scores of organizations seeing a rise in socioeconomic conscious travel among their employees.
Organizations that host their incentives in Montréal can help their teams achieve that by supporting one of the city’s most iconic companies: Cirque du Soleil. Known for gravity defying acrobatics, gymnastics and synchronized choreography that infuses wonder and awe in celebrations, Cirque du Soleil is also committed to being an agent for change in the community that it was founded in. In particular, it offers activities and programs that benefit at-risk kids and youth — like Cirque du Monde, which uses circus arts as a means of intervention.
By rewarding your top performers with an exclusive Cirque performance in the cosmopolitan city, they’ll not only be inspired like never before — they’ll also feel good about supporting a company that’s determined to give back.
A one-of-a-kind program
This is only the beginning for sustainable travel in Canada. In fact, Destination Canada Business Events has recently launched a first-of-its-kind national program aimed at improving the economic, social and environmental sustainability practices of business events hosted in Canada — the Canadian Business Events Sustainability Plan. Its goal? As one of the world’s first national sustainability plans for business events, it aims to provide a national support arm that will accelerate the industry’s progress toward net-zero targets.
With the program, the team will roll out actionable programs tailored toward the unique Sustainable Development Goals of individual cities to global clients. The plan will focus on clients across all segments — international association conferences, trade exhibitions, workshops and seminars, as well as corporate meetings and incentive group events.
Sustainability is a key component of business events and incentive travel. As a result, organizations are increasingly looking to align with destinations that are leading the charge in delivering just that. Interested in learning more about sustainable incentive possibilities across Canada? Contact Jennifer Attersall, Director of Incentive Travel, Destination Canada Business Events at firstname.lastname@example.org or +1 403-923-5972