Seven To Do’s from Incentive Research in 2019

From our volunteer leadership with the IRF (Incentive Research Foundation) and SITE (Society for Incentive Travel Excellence), we summarize this “greatest hits” list of research insights and share our recommended actions for 2019.

1. Incentive travel budgets are up

54% of buyers are reporting increased budgets in the IRF, SITE, and FICP joint incentive travel study, which means more funds for destinations, amenities, and winners. TO DO: Use this research to get more budget from the CFO and then play around with “what-if” scenarios with our budget calculator to enhance the attendee experience.


2. More qualifiers than ever

The same IRF SITE study reported trip attendee counts are increasing due to sales headcount growth from acquisitions and organic sales growth. TO DO: We suggest making sure your audience maintains an equal shot at winning the trip. If your sales team grows, your trip should too. More qualifiers also mean more administration. See the ten benefits of hiring an incentive travel company. 


3. Incentives build workplace culture

Increased sales and profits are always good for morale. Still, CEOs believe incentives also create better relationships between employees and management, according to The Incentive Marketplace Estimate Research Study and the IRF SITE joint incentive travel study. TO DO: Selecting motivational rewards will help keep morale high.


4. Wellness is the new golf

Healthy meals and yoga are just a small part of updating your program for modern audiences. Authentic experiences, and even transformative experiences, continue to grow in popularity. TO DO: Here are fresh ideas to improve your incentive trip for 2019 and beyond.


5. Gift cards grow, but better processes needed

Gift cards, including Amazon, Starbucks, retailers, and restaurants, continue as popular options in reward and recognition programs, according to the Industry Outlook Study 2019: Gift Cards. The study identifies 69% of companies drive to grocery and drug stores to buy gift cards. TO DO: This indicates a corporate need for more efficient delivery (like Brightspot digital gift cards), sourcing processes,      internal controls, and reporting.


6. Merchandise rewards projected to increase

Marketplace optimism in the non-cash reward and recognition market reached a record high in 2018, as measured by the IRF’s proprietary Net Optimism Score of 43%. TO DO: While gift cards are still quite popular in the US, Brightspot sees increased demand for merchandise rewards in global channel reward programs. Find out more in our comprehensive channel rewards guide.


7. Physical and data security grow

Multiple IRF surveys report that terrorism, safety, and disruptions of all kinds continue to be top concerns for meeting planners and sales operations. Risk management has also grown to include keeping participant data protected. TO DO: See the advice of Jason Neal, Brightspot Director of IT, in 16 Ways to Keep Data Safe, and Kim Dierks, Sr Meeting Manager, in Making Safety a Priority.

Have a question?

We’d love to hear about your #1 challenge and offer some ideas, or give you a no-strings-attached consultation on making your program the bright spot in your company! Let’s get started.

Mike May

Author Mike May

President | 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. Expertise: 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.

More posts by Mike May

Leave a Reply