Incentive travel is gaining in strategic importance, agree most respondents to this annual survey of incentive travel buyers and sellers conducted by Oxford Economics for the Financial and Insurance Conference Professionals, Incentive Research Foundation, and the Society of Incentive Travel Excellence.
Most agree that incentive travel is gaining strategic importance. “When asked to rate senior management perceptions of incentive travel on a scale of 1 to 100, in which 0 would indicate a view of it as a cost center, and 100 would indicate a view of it as a profit driver or source of competitive advantage, the average response was 69.2 for North America respondents and 63.1 for respondents from the rest of the world.
Ninety-one percent agree that, with a dispersed workforce, incentive travel will have an even more important role building engagement and company culture. Most respondents (80%) agree that the strategic role of incentive travel is increasing, 67% attributing it to the need to retain employees, followed by the need to bring together a more dispersed workforce (49%). Also, the increasing value placed on travel as a reward is driving the importance of incentive travel, say 40% of respondents.
The survey finds that most North American buyers (67%) have already resumed incentive travel programs in international locations, with the rest of the world remaining more cautious. Only 50% elsewhere report resumption of international programs.
In addition to greater use of motivational events, buyers plan to emphasize more on-site meals and activities and shift moderately toward programs with fewer nights.
Buyers are generally upbeat on spending estimates, with 61% expecting incentive travel activity to recover above, or significantly above, 2019 levels by 2024. Nearly two-thirds of buyers expect spending per person will recover above, or significantly above, 2019 levels by 2024. Elsewhere in the world, only 37% expect a recovery to 2019 levels by 2023.
Key challenges facing these survey respondents that could affect their planning:
- Inflation (80%)
- Attracting and retaining talent (66%)
- New expectations regarding contract management, postponements, and cancellations (64%) Uncertainties regarding short-term planning (63%)
- Loss of industry knowledge due to staff departures (62%)
- International instability (53%).
Even with these types of adjustments, fully 91% of buyers see use of traditional, qualification-based incentives continuing or increasing.
Half of respondents see the presence of a good DMC (destination management company) as an increasingly important part of a program plan.
Fostering lower carbon footprints and supporting more minority business are increasing in importance, but still trail in the shadow of health and safety, the study finds. A follow-up question was asked of buyers who ranked ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) as important when selecting a destination. Among these buyers, political environment was rated as a top factor, by both North American buyers (64%) and buyers in the rest of the world (49%). Diversity, equity, and inclusion is an issue for 30% of US respondents, and 26% elsewhere.
- Destination management organizations (DMOs) consider the high value per person generated by incentive travel as the top reason for its strategic importance, reporting, though, that it generally accounts for less than 25% of group travel.
Editors note: Exemplifying the magnitude of some incentive travel programs, Central Holidays Group Travel Experiences recently organized a “Supertrip” that brought almost 4,000 salespeople and families of World System Builder (WSB), a California-based financial services marketing company, to Spain and Portugal, according to an article in Travel Daily News.
For the latest news delivered by via email, subscribe here.
Education, Certifications, and Information to Activate
Brand Media and Enterprise Engagement
A complete learning, certification, and information program and a course syllabus for educators.
Resources: The Brand Media Coalition, the only guide to the story-telling power of brands and where to source them for business, event, promotional gifting, and rewards and recognition. Enterprise Engagement Solution Provider Directory. The only directory of engagement solution providers covering all types of agencies and tactics as well as insights on how to select them.
Communities: The Enterprise Engagement Alliance and Advocate and the Brand Media Coalition free resource centers offering access to the latest research, news, and case studies; discounts, promotions, referrals, and commissions, when appropriate to third-party solution providers from participating coalition solution provider members.
Training and Certification
Enterprise Engagement Alliance Education: Certified Engagement Practitioner; Advanced Engaged Practitioner, and Certified Engagement Solution Provider learning and certification programs on how to implement Stakeholder Capitalism principles at the tactical level.
International Center for Enterprise Engagement: The only training and certification program for ISO 30414 human capital reporting and ISO 10018 quality people management certification.
The EEA offers a complimentary course syllabus for educators.
This is the definitive implementation guide to Stakeholder Capitalism, written specifically to provide CEOs and their leadership teams a concise overview of the framework, economics, and implementation process of a CEO-led strategic and systematic approach to achieving success through people. (123 pages, $15.99)
The first and most comprehensive book on Enterprise Engagement and the new ISO 9001 and ISO 10018 quality people management standards. Includes 36 chapters detailing how to better integrate and align engagement efforts across the enterprise. (312 pages, $36.)
10-minute short course: click here for a 10-minute introduction to Enterprise Engagement and ISO standards from the Coggno.com learning platform.
• The Engagement Agency at EngagementAgency.net, offering: complete support services for employers, solution providers, and technology firms seeking to profit from formal engagement practices for themselves or their clients, including Brand and Capability audits for solution providers to make sure their products and services are up to date.
• C-Suite Advisory Service—Education of boards, investors, and C-suite executives on the economics, framework, and implementation processes of Enterprise Engagement.
• Speakers Bureau—Select the right speaker on any aspect of engagement for your next event.
• Mergers and Acquisitions. The Engagement Agency’s Mergers and Acquisition group is aware of multiple companies seeking to purchase firms in the engagement field. Contact Michael Mazer in confidence if your company is potentially for sale at 303-320-3777.
Enterprise Engagement Benchmark Tools: The Enterprise Engagement Alliance offers three tools to help organizations profit from Engagement. Click here to access the tools.
• ROI of Engagement Calculator. Use this tool to determine the potential return-on-investment of an engagement strategy.
• EE Benchmark Indicator. Confidentially benchmark your organization’s Enterprise Engagement practices against organizations and best practices.
• Compare Your Company’s Level of Engagement. Quickly compare your organization’s level of engagement to those of others based on the same criteria as the EEA’s Engaged Company Stock Index.
• Gauge Your Personal Level of Engagement. This survey, donated by Horsepower, enables individuals to gauge their own personal levels of engagement.
For more information, contact Bruce Bolger at Bolger@TheEEA.org, 914-591-7600, ext. 230.