Are decreasing travel budgets a thing of the past? We certainly hope so. Since 2008, the incentive travel industry has been privy to the turbulent effects of a fluctuating economy paired with a watchful sentiment towards travel budgets. Program size and duration have scaled down and large, more elaborate programs have become few and far between. Now a new Pulse Study, titled 2014 Trends in Engagement, Incentives, and Recognition released by the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) show results that are consistent with incentive travel budgets stabilizing and an increasingly positive outlook.
For the past six years, the IRF has documented trends in the incentive travel industry and noted unstable economic conditions that have impacted the way companies approach their budgets. In 2008, 81% of respondents felt that the economic downturn had negatively impacted their ability to plan an incentive travel program for their organization. When comparing this to current findings, the IRF has found that the number of companies decreasing their program size has shifted from 40% in 2008 to only 11% in 2014, on average. The IRF also found that 36% of respondents are increasing their budgets, pointing to a more prosperous incentive travel environment.
The research, which was conducted from April 15 through May 2, 2014, suggests that the increases in travel budgets are going into the non-meal components of incentive programs. These components include gifts, additional excursions and activities as well as comprehensive payment of all airline fees and transfers. This trend is expected to continue and, while slight program expansions are expected, we find planners wanting to increase the quality of programs over increasing the quantity, ultimately leading to a more profound growth in the non-meal component sectors.
Other Incentive Travel Trends:
– North America, the Caribbean and Europe remain the top destinations for incentive travel with Central America, South America and Asia representing the second most common group of destinations for incentive travel
– Planners looking outside the box are choosing areas such as China, Bali, Vietnam and Peru most often due to improved infrastructures and the opportunities they provide for genuine, uncommon experiences
– Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) continues to grow in importance for planners with 47% of them integrating it with their programs
– 62% of respondents said they are interested in utilizing wellness programs
– 60% of incentive travel planners are implementing social media to enhance onsite, pre and post event communications.
An incentive travel program is designed to motivate employees, customers or clients to engage in a certain behavior with the hopes of generating a particular result. These results may include increasing sales, ensuring customer satisfaction or creating greater loyalty. An incentive travel program is a proven form of motivation and increasingly, those who qualify for these rewards want a more robust experience where items on their personal bucket list are checked off. Clients are realizing that a higher quality program with fewer participants generates a greater behavioral change than a large program with no “WOW” factor.
To organize a trip that hits the mark, incentive travel companies need to have great industry relationships and connections, innovative ideas and the experience to manage all the elements. With over 30 years of experience in the industry JNR can help make your dream incentive trip a reality. If you would like more information on how JNR can provide your company with the tools to engage your workforce, please email email@example.com.
Written by Stephanie Thomas
JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies of many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.