Traditional travel rewards — sun-and-fun getaways, sophisticated city sojourns, and relaxing golf-and-spa retreats — are treasured prizes for most incentive qualifiers. But for those who crave a new adventure, Incentive rounded up four singular experiences that are definitely off the beaten path.
The Journeymen Collective
For those top performers who seek to reset their personal and professional lives, the Journeymen Collective’s program might be just the answer. Founders Rob Grover and Gary Logan craft experiences for individuals and groups of up to four that incorporate elements including shamanic ceremonies and mind-opening psychedelics — aka magic mushrooms — to spur transformational experiences. (Note: Before sending winners on any type of program that includes controlled substances like 'shrooms, attorney Jonathan T. Howe strongly recommends that planners or program sponsors get approval from their firm’s legal department).
Much more than a one-off trip, the Collective’s programs unfold over six months. Participants are screened, and only those who meet the collective’s extensive mental, physical, emotional and spiritual criteria are approved.
Once cleared, the winner’s experience begins with introductory Zoom sessions, followed by an intensive four-day retreat at a luxurious private estate in the Okanagan wine and lake country of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. In addition to the ceremonies, participants get to hike, chill out in the hot tub, take dips in the saltwater pool and enjoy the gourmet meals created by the Collective’s chef. The program concludes several months later when participants get to return to the estate for a two-day retreat to reinforce the life-changing practices they learned.
Imagine a program with all the romance and allure of the great American road trip, where qualifiers never have to get behind the wheel. That’s the concept behind AutoCamp, a group of upscale, retro-glam campgrounds in gorgeous natural settings. Accommodations are in gleaming, custom-designed Airstream campers and in luxury tents.
The properties also have general stores and lounges; locally inspired food, beverage and dining options; complimentary bikes and WiFi; and activities and adventures specific to their locations. These outposts all feature event spaces for receptions, games and more. Three of the six AutoCamps are in California: Russian River, which accommodate 80 guests; Yosemite, for up to 215; and Joshua Tree, which hosts 75.
AutoCamp Cape Cod opened in Massachusetts last year; the venue hosts up to 215 winners. Coming soon is AutoCamp Catskills in New York for up to 89 participants, who’ll be able to explore Woodstock and Saugerties, and hike the many local mountain trails.
Debuting in early 2023 is another awe-inspiring spot, AutoCamp Zion. Guests will be able to explore the Utah national park’s Narrows or take the daring hike to Angel’s Landing, then relax by the Virgin River, which will run through the property.
Stellar performers deserve equally out-of-this-world rewards. Beginning later this year, astronaut experiences will be available via Virgin Galactic.
Perfect for individual incentives, the trip includes access to the Future Astronaut membership community; several days of training; accommodations at Virgin’s facilities at Spacecamp America, N.M.; and an incredible 90-minute journey into space. According to Virgin, "the spaceship (which holds four passengers) gracefully flips while astronauts enjoy several minutes of out-of-seat weightlessness and breathtaking views of Earth from the spaceship’s 17 windows."
At $450,000 per person, the experience is pricey, but compared with the multimillion-dollar fares charged by Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Virgin Galactic’s fee is a slightly more affordable outer-space adventure.
Atlas Ocean Voyages
It’s no easy task to thrill incentive winners who’ve been there, done that. But a trip to the seventh continent is sure to excite even the most jaded participants. Groups can explore the vast, breathtaking beauty of Antarctica on Atlas Ocean Voyage’s World Navigator, a 98-passenger vessel purpose-built to withstand low temperatures.
Along the way, passengers take in the gorgeous, blue-tinged ice landscapes, and for the truly brave, expert guides lead kayak and stand-up paddling tours through the ice floes, and polar plunges in the frigid waters.
On land, participants can trek along the snowy paths few others have. Expedition guides lead the group to sightseeing locations for the most spectacular views of the land, as well as the best vantage points for viewing the local residents: penguins and seals.
On-board, historians, ornithologists, marine biologists, geologists and glaciologists share their in-depth knowledge of the destination and its features in immersive presentations. Participants also can take part in hands-on workshops, such as a photography class focused on capturing perfect images of the landscape, as well as a marine biology class on the continent’s fragile ecosystem.