1. With individual incentives, the uniqueness of a group experience is lost.
It has long been a tenet of group incentive travel that guests have an experience they could not duplicate themselves, filled with dramatic events and surprises.While this may not be possible with an individual program, it’s still possible to retain two other major features of group incentives: a feeling of specialness through concierge-level, high-touch service, and a direct connection to the corporate sponsor, which can be achieved via the personal messaging on all the print materials and gifts the winner receives.

2. People like to travel together and be recognized.
True, the importance of recognition in front of peers and loved ones is undeniable.
But when seven out of 10 households have both partners working, it is difficult for both people to get their schedules to match up. And with so many parents feeling guilty about the shortage of family time, they want to take their children with them. All of these factors carry more weight than they used to.

3. Individual travel will never replace group travel.
True! And it was never intended to. It is at a completely different price point and fulfills a completely different objective.
During the recession, when highly visible, world-class incentive trips were slashed, individual travel filled the void. Many of the winners found that they liked going when and where they chose.

4. You can’t be sure of service levels on an individual trip.
It certainly is easier to control and monitor service levels when on site with a group.
But you can rely on a partner company with expertise in individual incentives to ensure that service levels are incentive-class.

5. Winners can easily price their individual travel awards and know what they’re worth.
During the economic downturn, most people saw friends laid off, endured stagnant or reduced earnings, saw their 401K matches disappear, and were forced to cut back on personal spending. They’re not pricing out their individual incentive trips; they’re appreciative and engaged.

Jim Dittman is president of Dittman Incentive Marketing, New Brunswick, N.J.