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Incentive Trip Average Cost

Per couple? Total trip? How much for Hawaii or the Caribbean or Europe? I get those questions a lot. Here’s a good benchmark:

The average cost of an incentive trip is $5,193 Per Person (According to the 2019 IRF/SITE/FICP Incentive Travel Study)

The 2019 Joint Incentive Travel Outlook Study from the Incentive Research Foundation, Society for Incentive Travel Excellence, and Financial & Insurance Conference Professionals conducted the industry’s largest survey ever of the incentive travel market. They reported an overall average of $6,040 per person. Offering a more in-depth analysis, the joint study revealed that corporates users have a higher average of $8,151 (buoyed higher by the financial & insurance sectors who generally have high-end broker trips) compared to incentive agencies at the aforementioned $5,193 average. It’s becoming more apparent that partnering with an incentive travel agency doesn’t only reduce cost, but also increases overall engagement and satisfaction with the trip. Know when it’s time to hire an incentive travel company for your next program.

Industry-Specific Incentive Trip Budgets

(Updated August 2019)

In the IRF’s signature series on Top Performing Companies, the research reported the best Financial Services Firms to spend $6,438 per person, and the average incentive trip value per person for top Technology companies is $6,833.

Typical Incentive Trip Budget

Here’s my personal commentary – and my recommendation. The $5,193 budget figure is likely pulled lower by shorter duration trips within the Continental 48.  For example, three nights to Las Vegas for a call center incentive trip or a top performer trip for retail store managers.

My professional recommendation is $5,500 per person for an incentive travel program lasting six days and five nights, within North America (Caribbean, Mexico, Canada, or the US), at an “incentive quality” 4-star resort, with two sponsored activities, all meals, welcome reception, and award dinner. Then, we can play “plus/minus” if the group travels farther to Hawaii or Europe, upgrades to a 5-star resort, enhance attendees” gifts, or adds other ”wow”

Get Mo” Money!

The next takeaway from the IRF and SITE study is a TIP: “get more budget!” Each of the last three years, per-person spending has increased by approximately +5%.  Stomp into your CFO’s office, pound your fist on his desk, and yell, “our club trip needs 20% more budget!” (You can settle in the middle at +10%.)

The joint study added that 54% of all incentive trips are increasing budgets, so many CFO’s are growing their trip spending.

Creating challenges for incentive planners, the joint study reported that planners feel their travel costs are increasing faster than budgets – placing them in a difficult position when it’s harder and harder to find bargains in a strong market for hoteliers.

Incentive Travel Budget Estimator

Our website has one of the coolest, interactive estimating tools. This small pricing calculator lets you pick a destination, the number of nights, hotel star rating, included meals, the number of activities, and the value of room gifts. Voila! A little website magic occurs, and you get an estimated budget per person. Load your winner count, and the handy tool outputs your grand investment total. Theorycraft your next incentive trip to your heart’s content!

Personal Reply

I believe in helping others, so I’m happy to share personal feedback on your situation – with no strings attached and no-sales-arm-twisting. Submit a reply comment below (which will stay private), and I will reply privately.

Happy travels!



Mike May

Author Mike May

Mike is a wearer of many hats. President of Brightspot, author of 12.5 Steps to a Perfect Incentive Program, and recognized as one of the Top 25 Most Influential People in the Incentive Industry. His expertise includes bucket-list incentive trips, motivational incentive program design, matching event goals with the perfect destination & hotel, cost savings strategies, global channel reward programs, and targeted communications. Mike maintains his certifications in many specialties including Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) and Incentive Professional (IP).

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