If you take your team anywhere, make it one of these two beauties. Here’s how and why

Interviews Damien Gabet

The long-haul option


Japan incentive destination Tokyo Mount Fuji

Where? Japan

Who says so? David Heron, head of sales at The Black Tomato Agency (020 7426 9930)

Why? ‘With Japan, there’s still a real sense of the unknown, of adventure. And yet at the same time, we associate it with good hospitality, business success and being culturally diverse. For many people, it will really be something new and so will work well for those looking for a culture shock, but in a controlled environment. Japan seems to be prevalent in the media right now – with some brilliant documentaries on the Beeb – while the Rugby World Cup next year and the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 have also put it in the spotlight.’

David’s perfect itinerary


Japan incentive destination Tokyo Mount Fuji

Day 1
Morning Jet-lag massages and welcome brunch at Conrad Tokyo
Afternoon Helicopter tour over Mount Fuji
Evening Whiskey-tasting and yakatabune riverboat cruise with karaoke on board

Day 2
Morning Bullet train to Kyoto in private carriage and rickshaw through Higashiyama
Afternoon Private meditation and tea ceremony with monk in ancient temple
Evening Geisha-hosted evening at Fortune Gardens with views across Kyoto

Japan incentive destination Tokyo Mount Fuji

Day 3
Morning Cycle tour around temples. Drumming workshop with locals
Afternoon Alba kart drive through city
Evening Dinner at Roppongi Hills Club with views across Tokyo Bay

Day 4
Morning Private visit to a sumo stable to see sumo training. Visit Tsukiji Market for food-tasting tour and sushi lesson
Afternoon Leisure time to explore the city
Evening Exclusive use of Inakaya restaurant with master sake expert. Nightlife guides to showcase the hidden gems of Tokyo

The short-haul option


Malta group destination short hall

Where? Malta

Who says so? Chris Parnham, managing director at Absolute Corporate Events (020 3474 0313)

Why? ‘It has a bit of everything: a beautifully kept old town but with a bustling new town, gorgeous beaches, Bond Street shopping and some of Europe’s best alfresco dining. In troubled times, Malta is also very safe. And although it’s very much a foreign destination, it has British familiarities (UK power sockets and left-side driving). The arrival experience is also very smooth and stress-free. Cost, variety and the minimal ground transport time are all other factors. The worst thing about incentives is coach travel!’

Chris’s perfect itinerary


Malta group destination short hall

Day 1
Morning Welcome drinks at the Quarterdeck Bar, with sea view
Afternoon Exclusive tour of St John’s Co-Cathedral
Evening Dinner on the famous Barracuda Restaurant sea balcony

Day 2 
Morning Powerboat from private jetty to Gozo island. Off-road 4x4 tour of island
Afternoon Private barbecue lunch on the beach. Back on boats to Blue Lagoon and Crystal Lagoon with champagne reception
Evening Café del Mar for a private White Pool Party

Malta group destination short hall

Day 3 
Morning Tailor-made Indiana Jones-style adventure to find the Holy Grail
Afternoon Choice of activities from menu, including sea fishing and sherry tasting
Evening Trip into the medieval city of Mdina, starting with a visit to St Paul’s Cathedral for a surprise private concert. Police escort to dinner at the Palazzo Parisio. Vintage cars back to hotel

Malta group destination short hall

Day 4
Morning Off-road mountain-bike trek around the island
Afternoon Choice of a shopping trip or rock climbing
Evening Relaxed final-night dinner at Madliena Lodge with its breathtaking sea views


Why incentives are better than just giving them cash

Tangible reward Rather than a potential one
Team bonding Helps to improve the company culture
Badge of honour Having been there gives colleagues kudos
Memories Positive lasting memory of the experience
FOMO Colleagues won't want to miss out, so will work harder
Buying power Groups get more bang for their buck  


If you’re looking for another short-haul destination, Provence is never a bad idea