Incentive Awards: The Red Blaze BIG BANG Theory

How can Group Travel Incentives boost motivation?

What started as a single point of infinite energy exploded with unimaginable force into the Big Bang. And that’s precisely the effect you need to emulate by using incentive programmes to ensure your employees achieve maximum results. How do you channel the energy of your team members with a powerful motivator? This is where the Red Blaze BIG BANG Theory comes into action.

At Red Blaze, we define the purpose of an incentive programme as a mechanism that encourages participants to devote discretionary effort to change their behaviour to achieve a personal goal whilst contributing to the organisation. Discretionary effort is often called “going the extra mile” and refers to effort that exceeds the bare minimum. An example of working above and beyond could be a salesperson tenaciously following up leads or applying new knowledge acquired in training. When employees choose discretionary effort and channel their energy into their work, the business moves forward with explosive results.

But why would an employee want to go above and beyond the minimum effort? Well, it comes down to motivation. People need to find their inner motivation, the “what’s in it for me?” moment. You can’t force someone to be motivated, so instead of asking, “How do I motivate my team?” ask, “How do I create an environment where participants become self-motivated?”

To make sure your incentive programmes give more motivational bang for your buck, consider the participant performance demographic and what drives them. Different groups have different motivators, so we categorise participants into one of two groups when designing incentive programmes.

Top Performers

As the name implies, this team returns the best performance results. Typically, this group’s key motivators are public recognition and the desire to be seen as a member of the elite. For Top Performers, cash incentives are rarely the catalyst for discretionary effort as the expectation is that any commission or bonus structure will enhance their income.

This group craves respect and admiration, so they are well suited to an exclusive event that recognises them for their hard work. There is also the element of FOMO, which drives them to continue smashing their targets as they don’t want to miss out.
A travel incentive could be the answer to inspire Top Performers because they’re perceived as high-value, exclusive rewards by employees (and employers, but there’s more on that later…keep reading). Whilst a cash reward is not a motivator for Top Performers, they do take pleasure in the thought of the organisation spending significant sums of money on them. Group travel incentives give the impression of indulgent expense; however, it rarely costs as much as participants think. On many occasions, winners have quizzed us about the cost of a trip, which we NEVER reveal, and their estimates are ALWAYS significantly more than the reality!

Middle Performers

This is a complex group, stretching from those on the cusp of being an elite performer to those who require a degree of management. Economically, the middle performing categories tend to be less financially secure than the Top Performers and would benefit from ‘pay-out’ awards with vouchers for indulgent experiences or store vouchers.

The Middle Performer section can be broken into three segments: Upper, Middle and Lower. Participants sitting within the middle-performance categories need to exceed the required minimum effort, so each segment needs an incentive tailored to their motivators.



This group has a similar motivator as the Top Performers, where public recognition becomes the main driver but is supported with a tangible monetary benefit. Typically, a competition structure to drive performance works well in this area. A league table to display winners with a known luxury or monetary reward advertised is an excellent example of how to appeal to those who are Upper performers.


This group self-recognises that they are not in the high-value qualifying zone. However, you can still influence their behaviour by designing an award scheme that focuses on incremental gain. This approach is known as a Threshold Structure – achieve the threshold and win X.

For example, this can range from performance improvement in targeted products being rewarded, “You sold 8 of product x last month, sell 10 this month and get ‘y’”. Or a bundled sale structure where a bonus is paid on a bundle of sales, so instead of £1 per sale, they receive £5 for 3 sales.


Those who sit within the Lower segment have similar motivators to those in the Middle, but we must be mindful of not creating structures that deliver incremental rewards for work that should have been achieved. 

This is particularly relevant when reward mechanisms are close to cash, i.e. vouchers. If not configured correctly, participants can view these awards as part of their standard remuneration package, making it challenging to end the incentive without impacting base performance.

In conclusion, it’s important to remember that individuals need to become self-motivated to devote discretionary effort. The organisation cannot force this, but they can understand what makes their people tick and entice employees to channel their energy.

Cash or voucher awards mechanisms can lose that WOW factor and are often seen as part of a remuneration package or a necessary income supplement. Over time, the effort to achieve this diminishes as monetary rewards become the norm.

To get a bigger bang for your buck, Group Incentive Travel Programmes are the way forward to reward explosive performance and results. They’re perceived as being a high-value reward whilst costing less than the perceived equivalent value of additional cash bonus or voucher rewards.

It is also a gift that keeps giving for both repeat performances and memories made. The investment in one year additionally leverages performance in subsequent years as top performers continue to smash targets to attend, and middle performers will strive to improve their performance so they may be one day join the top tier.


Red Blaze are experts in motivation and performance management,
so get in touch for our BIG BANG incentive solutions.
Drop us an email at or give us a call on +44 (0)1452 733 300

Read more from our Blog