“Trend 6: Quality over quantity will be the key for incentive travel in 2014,” said Melissa Van Dyke, President of the Incentive Research Foundation, as she teaches a training session here at Brightspot named 2014 Trends in Incentives and Recognition. (Brightspot invests a lot in continuing education, but that’s a story for another day.)
Melissa adds, “Good News! Incentive travel budgets are up. On average 36% of planners are increasing their budgets year over year with only 14% decreasing.”
Bigger Incentive Travel Programs?
This may not necessarily mean, however, that meeting planners will immediately experience elongated meetings or increased room nights. While there have been stark decreases in planners reducing their program size and duration, it seems only 10% of planners say they are increasing size/duration of their incentive travel programs (IRF Fall Pulse Study December 2013).
Where are Incentives Increasing?
Incentive meeting planners are creating more robust programs. IRF research has shown that planners are making investments in non-meal components, such as including airline fees, enhancing offsite excursions, increasing room gifts, etc. This increase in incentive quality will have a positive influence on the industry’s size, but will not create the same immediate momentum as top line growth in trips, room nights, or participants.
Implication: As companies increase budgets, they’re wanting more experiences – more WOW experiences. At Brightspot, we are always challenging ourselves to create WOW incentive experiences that leisure travelers cannot find on their own.
See full list of IRF 2014 Trends in Engagement, Incentives, and Recognition