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Prevue Meetings Survey Sees Bright Year for Incentive Travel, With Challenges

A survey of 382 in-house meeting planners by Prevue magazine points to continued industry growth and identifies key challenges.

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The international incentive travel market “is back” and individual incentive travel has become the norm, according to a recent survey by Prevue meetings magazine.  They survey identifies air travel, program design, and sustainability as key challenges.
According to the report, written by Editor Barbara Scofidio, “2023 was a turnaround year. Budgets are up, international trips are back and the outlook for this year looks bright: 60% of respondents reported that their companies' sales increased in 2023, with another 21% saying that sales had remained the same as in 2022.”
Prevue says the results are based on respondents from the following industries: technology (26%), financial and insurance (24%), and manufacturing (23%), followed by automotive, direct sales and other industries. The publication says that the majority of respondents plan incentives that target the sales force (47%), dealers/distributors (44%) or the distribution channel (22%). A quarter of respondents say they run incentive trips for non-sales employees.
The average per-person budget for 2023 incentives was $6,177, which increased from the previous year for 49% of the respondents, stayed the same for 30% and decreased for 21% of respondents, according to the report. Including spouses or partners on the trip remains the norm, with only 17% of respondents saying no guests are allowed.
A majority (58%) of respondents report an average of under 200 attendees, with only 15% planning programs for more than 500 attendees. The most popular trip length is five days, four nights (22%), followed by three days, two nights (21%). Only 12% hold trips of seven days or longer.
Survey respondents identified their top challenges.
1.  Increased difficulties with all aspects of air travel.
2.  Problems in the design and implementation of program design to ensure fairness and promote harmony.
3.  Personalization to the individual needs of recipients.  
4.  Clear communication of program purpose, goals, and objectives.
5.  The volatile economic environment.
6.  Attracting and retaining talent.
7.  Sustainability: taking into account the company’s social responsibility and environmental impact.
8.  Competing with leisure travel when booking corporate groups.
9.  Balancing inflation against flat budgets.
10.  Supplier communications in the face of frequent turnover.

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