A Look Back at Incentive Trips

We’re preparing to leave on the Fiji incentive trip in the next couple of weeks, and I’ve been thinking back on all the incentive trips we’ve had through the years.

Of course, the first one is fairly easy to remember—1991, a four-day Caribbean cruise, and 10 of us took the trip (three demonstrators earned it and brought guests, Vonna and I and our husbands were the other four). We sat together on one table for all our meals (that was a one-time gig!) and took most of our excursions together; it was a sweet, intimate trip and a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Fast forward 15 or 16 years, and we had enough incentive trip achievers to charter an entire ship to ourselves!

In the olden days (don’t I sound ancient!), I was the entire Events team and planned, booked, and facilitated the entire event. I learned the hard way that it’s important to check out the cruise line and ship that we were sailing on; there are some really old, small ships out there! We also learned that the quality of food and entertainment differs from ship to ship. . . I definitely appreciate our Events team and love that these days I just board the ship, knowing that all those details have been taken care of and I can just enjoy spending time with our demonstrators!

We don’t plan nearly as many activities during the incentive trips these days. We have a welcome reception and plan a few gatherings. Because of our numbers, we simply can’t do everything together, plus we’ve learned through the years to make this trip truly about the demonstrators. We want to give them as much leisure time as possible so they can kick back, relax, and enjoy the trip they’ve worked hard to earn.

One of the many things I love about our incentive trips is the change I see in our demonstrators’ spouses. The trip is an ideal opportunity for spouses to see what Stampin’ Up! is all about, and if I’ve seen it once, I’ve seen it a thousand times: Spouses come on board, a little tentative and reserved, not quite sure what to think. A few days later, they leave the ship with a whole new understanding, more excited and supportive than ever, and already looking forward to the next year’s trip!

We’ve been a lot of places since that first cruise and traveled with a lot of demonstrators and their guests—and I’ve loved each one! If I had to choose a favorite, it was our first cruise to Bermuda—everything was perfect. . . weather, excursions, food, entertainment. We went there again a few years later and the weather didn’t cooperate nearly as well! I loved Alaska too, because the scenery is so breathtaking. And I’m really looking forward to our worldwide incentive trip next year because, for the first time, all of our incentive trip achievers from around the world will be together on the same trip! Awesome!

But truly, our incentive trips aren’t about the destination; they are definitely about the people! As I look back at photos of past trips, I forget about the creaky ships and icky food (well, kind of. . . ) and I focus on the incredible people I’ve been blessed to enjoy these experiences with. I can’t wait for Fiji because I know it will be yet another opportunity to tell some amazing people how much I appreciate them!