3 Alternatives to Travel Rewards

by | May 1, 2022 | Blog

Our mission here at HMI is to help our readers and clients achieve their business goals by adapting to new market conditions or objectives. If you’ve had to cancel or postpone your group incentive trip over the past two years, we share in your disappointment – we love travel, and providing unique travel rewards is something that’s core attributes of our business. Without a doubt, however, the disappointment is felt most by the trip earners, who may have missed the chance to visit a new destination, mingle with their friends and coworkers, or take their spouse on a romantic getaway.  

Sometimes life hits you with challenges that require you to pivot your strategy, and it’s times like these that call for creative, transparent, and different ways of engaging and rewarding our audiences. Perhaps most importantly, it’s an important time to spread kindness, remain flexible and open-minded, maintain communication, but still deliver on an experience.

Here are some alternatives to travel rewards that can help you maintain that connection with your audience while still providing on a valuable, sought-after experience.

Points-based shopping experience

One option is a point-based shopping experience. This experience gives your audience access to an online rewards catalogue, where they can have a set number of pre-loaded points. You could also run this as a virtual event, picking a weekend where participants can log-into a portal to offer additional gamification or recognition tactics.

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Using their points in this online, branded shopping experience, participants can find a wide range of exciting merchandise to pick from. By giving your audience a virtual experience followed by a tangible reward, you can maintain a similar level of mindshare and heightened sense of recognition that you would normally get with incentive travel.

Branded raincheck packages

Branded raincheck packages can serve as a thank you for your audience for their hard work in achieving their trip. Sent directly to your audience’s door, this package is similar to the shopping experience, but instead of open-ended and “whatever they can afford”, a branded and stylized box is delivered with multiple items or a single item within.

These boxes are often best delivered as a surprise. Being able to delight your recipients in this way can give them something tangible, memorable, and joyful to focus on. The box can also contain a message promising future trips or other rewards, which they are guaranteed to earn. This message can serve as a welcome reminder to your audience that their achievements have not been forgotten.

These boxes can also maintain the trip theme or destination. For instance, if you were supposed to go to Italy last Fall, the box can be “a taste of Italy.” It could include wines from Tuscany, a blown glass ornament from Venice, and some cured cheeses and meats from Rome.

Virtual gamification like Spin to Win

Finally, a third option is a virtual gamification strategy. Spin to Win is a great alternative, delivering electronic spins to your audience to get them to interact with a spin wheel which earns them certain preplanned prizes. While typically used for smaller prizes than a group trip, a Spin to Win game can easily be adapted to fit a larger per-participant budget while still instilling the thrill of the win.

You can also have some fun with the prizes that you offer as well. They can be similar to the merchandise they might find in a reward catalogue, supplies that might help if everyone is social distancing, or even charitable donations to a dedicated charity or one of their choosing.


The reality is that problems do arise that make travel difficult from time to time, whether it’s on a global, national, group, or individual scale. Being prepared to pivot is the best thing we can do to mitigate challenges and overcome disappointment.

We hope these alternatives help you stay adaptive in this difficult time! If you need help knowing which of these options would fit best for you, reach out to marketing@hmiaward.com today.

Photo by Sven Brandsma on Unsplash

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