Meaningful incentive experiences should inspire, even awe, those taking part in the trip. And Canada has more than its share of outdoor experiences that provide these powerful moments — particularly amongst the iconic landscapes of Banff National Park and Lake Louise. Tucked inside Canada's first national park, in Alberta's magnificent Rocky Mountains, these destinations attract more than four million visitors a year and make for ideal incentive outings.
Surrounded by majestic peaks and storybook alpine lakes, this UNESCO Heritage Site, and the nearby region, offer the perfect backdrop for exclusive, bucket-list incentives guaranteed to reconnect attendees to nature and the outdoors.
"Banff/Lake Louise is a great option for incentive groups because we offer safe, wide-open spaces to explore the natural beauty of the Canadian Rockies. There are many options for activities, everything from the serene to the extreme," says Wendy Kirkpatrick, director of group sales for the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. "Numerous Olympic athletes, health and wellness gurus and acclaimed artists call these mountains home. They are available to help round out an incentive trip with activities that encourage winners to get out of their comfort zones and create memorable experiences. We also offer corporate social responsibility activities in our National Park, providing winners a sense of accomplishment and well-being."
For example, you can help your incentive winners soar to new heights on the Banff Gondola, which whisks participants to the top of Sulphur Mountain in just eight minute. From here, they can then enjoy 360-degree panoramic views of mountains and valleys.
"The Banff Gondola has been around since the 1950s, and it's the easiest way to take in the most amazing view of the Canadian Rockies from 7,000 feet up," Marilu Adams, director of sales, group event management and affiliates at Pursuit Collection. "The facility has walkways to viewing platforms and patios where you can just soak in the enormity of the Canadian Rockies."
Luxury experiences in the Canadian Rockies
Planners can get buyouts for the facilities on the mountain, for groups of 15 to 450 depending on the venue, adds Adams, who suggests Sky Bistro, the highest restaurant in Banff, or the more casual Northern Lights Alpine Kitchen.
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"Nobody comes down disappointed. The food is excellent and the views of the Canadian Rockies are amazing," she says.
A private cruise on Lake Minnewanki, a glacial lake in the eastern part of Banff National Park, offers a different vantage point from which to absorb the awe-inspiring natural landscape.
"We've hosted groups of 10 to 40 on these boats, and you can rent four boats, so you could actually have 100 people out on the water, enjoying the outdoors with food and beverage offerings," she says. "Our Beer Voyage Cruise is very popular, where people taste local craft beer with some interpretive storytelling about the area. We can also do cheese and charcuterie platters with wine tasting experiences."
Hit the road on one of the world's most scenic highways
You can truly wow your attendees with a journey on the Icefields Parkway, one of the most stunning stretches of highway in the world.
"The drive is just remarkable and so is the view of the mountains," says Lana Casavant, senior sales executive for Rare Indigo Destination Management. "We always make stops along the way at Bow Lake, the historic Num-Ti-Jah Lodge and the glacier-fed Peyto Lake to let people have a little stretch and take 1,000 pictures. It's that beautiful."
For a thrilling group adventure that can be done summer or winter, your team can hike Sunshine Meadows, adds Casavant.
"In the summer, we can take them up [to the start of the hike] via gondola and chairlift, where they're basically at the top of the world," says Casavant. "They don't have to be fit because there's very little elevation gain, and they can see the continental divide. We can have food set up to provide them with a special culinary experience at the top. And in the winter, we take them snowshoeing at the top of the world. Both of those activities are absolutely magical."
Seek thrills on Mt. Norquay's Via Ferrata
Adrenaline junkies will love Mt. Norquay's Via Ferrata — 'Iron Road' in Italian — a breathtaking spot where visitors can walk across suspension bridges, climb up ladders and enjoy a guided adventure through the mountains.
If you're looking for a special incentive idea, for groups of 50 to 150 (transported in groups of 5 each), consider a heli-picnic lunch or heli-hiking experience at Cline River. Located between Banff and Jasper, the area's raging rivers, rocky terrain and wild forests are sure to dazzle your incentive winners. Rocky Mountain Heli Canada and the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise also offers a champagne lunch with a heli-yoga session.
"It's just amazing," says Casavant. "We've got bonfires and camping chairs set up, and the hotel's chef attended with hot food. This activity can be done year-round, whether it's snowing or sunny."
The stunning outdoor offerings of Banff National Park and Lake Louise provides plenty of inspiration, excitement and relaxation — whatever your incentive group seeks. With its wealth of activities and custom experiences, this is a destination sure to leave your winners with great memories long after the trip ends.
Canada offers a vast range of incentive experiences, for those passionate about wellness, gastronomy, adventure and more. Learn more about Canada's Signature Incentive Experience Collection here.
Create a truly memorable incentive program by tapping into the expertise and creativity of the Destination Canada's Business Events team. Learn how your Canada experts can help tailor a program to your group's specific interests and needs by visiting businesseventscanada.ca.
Content sponsored by Destination Canada Business Events