A well-planned corporate excursion can greatly benefit a company, but planning one is a task that requires some thought.

Corporate and incentive excursions can be a powerful way to not only bring together people, but also to boost the bottom line. However, planning these trips can be a complex assignment, even for experienced organizers. Selecting the right transportation, hotels, activities and menus all contribute to the success of the event.  It’s also integral to success to create an excursion that appropriately fits your company’s culture.

With so much at stake, how can you ensure your organization’s next excursion exceeds expectations? As with many things in life, the secret to success lies in advance planning. Take these tips into consideration as you prepare for your company’s next excursion.

What’s Your Why?

What’s the purpose of the trip—client entertainment, sales incentive, teambuilding, or something else? And what do you want to accomplish through the trip? If it is a sales team incentive, what goals are tied to the trip?

Who is Your Audience?

Who will attend the excursion? A significant part of the planning process is knowing and understanding the behavior and preferences of the guests. You will need to know if they are seasoned travelers or if it is their first trip. Consider how the individuals will fit into the potential excursion environments.

When to Start?

For best results, plan your excursion at least 90 days in advance. This will allow you to solicit quotes, gather information and secure reservations.

Where to?

Many large companies will plan excursions to exotic international locations. If that’s in your budget, it certainly makes for an exciting program. However, excursions are beneficial even if your destination is a few hours away.  Consider local or regional travel as a more cost-effective alternative. Central Ohio is easily accessible to cities such as Indianapolis, Chicago, and Nashville for a night or two.

How Will You Get There?

For long-distance trips, air travel makes the most sense. For travel to local venues, individuals will frequently transport themselves. For trips that are less than 10 hours away, consider private ground transportation.  Private transportation for your group helps build connections and leads to business getting done.  Your mode of transportation will also help define your group size. For example, a typical coach trip will include 12 to 16 people. If flying, don’t forget to coordinate transportation on-site between destinations.

What Will You Do?

Reflecting on your audience, what type of trip will you plan? Experiential and interactive excursions are extraordinarily popular now, offering activities like golfing, boat charters, cooking classes, skeet shooting, ziplining or a baseball game. What types of activities will resonate with your group? And remember, not everyone has to do the same thing. Leave plenty of time between activities and do not overschedule. Having some downtime is important, because it provides a cushion and helps accommodate unforeseen issues.

How Much Will It Cost?

To establish a budget, work backward and be realistic. Your costs will include items such as various types of transportation, the destination, activities and meals. Rather than looking at the overall figure, consider the cost per person.

Keep these things in mind, and work with travel, transportation, and accommodation vendor-partners, and your next excursion will exceed expectations!

Mike Middaugh is president of Dublin-based Coach Quarters and Midwest Golf Excursions, which provide charter motor coaches for corporate and executive outings and regional travel. He can be reached at (614) 738-8889 or mike@coachquarters.com.