how to become an event planner

Incentive Travel Careers

In this section, we'll look at the pros and cons of incentive travel careers—as described by a professional; Martin Turner, former Director of Travel, International Travel Group and former Global Head of Events, Credit Suisse.

Martin Turner
Martin Turner
International Travel Group / Credit Suisse

Martin Turner is the former Director of Travel for International Travel Group and Global Head of Events for the investment bank Credit Suisse.

He began his event-planning career in Australia in 1981 and spent 16 years managing international group travel, conferences, meetings, and incentive programs for clients such as Toyota, Pepsi, Xerox, Time Magazine, and American Express.

After moving to the United Kingdom in 1997 he joined global brand experience agency Jack Morton Worldwide as Senior Logistics Director, before becoming Global Head of Events for Credit Suisse.

Since leaving Credit Suisse, Martin has worked for UBS, Barclays Capital, MJM Creative, and NetJets. Martin also teaches Event Management to Post Graduate students at Birbeck, Kings College, and UCL Institute of Education in London for the Ashdown Academy.

Pros of Incentive Travel Careers

Travel Opportunities

“If you’re someone who’s really keen to go out and see the world and to experience different destinations, it’s a phenomenal job to do because you’ll go everywhere and you’ll do all kinds of interesting things; from chartering yachts to experiencing foreign cultures”.


Creative Opportunities

“Designing travel programs requires you to be phenomenally creative in so many different ways. If you’re a very creative person, this area of the event industry will put that to the test, and you don’t have just one opportunity to demonstrate it. An incentive program usually takes place over several days, so you have the opportunity to do multiple things in one destination; it’s not just a one-off event, it’s about creating a program over a number of days—which requires a lot more skill.

You’ve got to create the right tone, the right flow, and not exhaust people, but also make sure that they’re thoroughly entertained from beginning to end and there are no flat moments.”


Diverse Clients

“Working in incentive travel you often get to work with a vast array of different companies. When you do that you enter their world, which is a great experience and broadens your depth of knowledge and the way businesses are run. It’s like being an investigative reporter, you have incredible access to senior management when you work in events.“

Cons of Incentive Travel Careers

Time Away from Home

“You’re away from home a lot so if you have responsibilities, like children, pets, or even a partner who can’t cope with you flying off on a plane every five minutes, then it’s probably not the right job for you.”


Intensity of a Program

“A program of back to back events and activities is a lot more intense than working on a regular one night event—you’re probably not going to go to bed for about five days!”


Working with DMC's

“Getting DMC’s to not churn out everything they normally send to clients, but to dig a little deeper and be a little more creative, can be a challenge. If you find the right partners who are willing to listen and try harder, then it can work. The challenge is to create a program that is authentic and not a tourist experience.”

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