Speaking at MPI Insights – Economic Outlook on Monday (18 January), Rebecca Duncan, Virgin Atlantic partnership director, said the focus on individuals has never been stronger.
"The size of group booking has reduced slightly in 2016, from an average of 41 people to 36. Meanwhile, we’re seeing an increased demand for added value in airports and onboard. These requests have included branded delegate zones, personalised onboard TV and even a singing Elvis in the lounge on the way to Las Vegas." However, she added that short lead times were affecting the company’s ability to deliver on specialised requests. "We encourage corporates to book as early as possible, for both the locked-in fares and the chance to have more specific requests met."
Reinforcing the idea that travel makes up part of the whole incentive experience, she added that the trend for cabin buyouts was also on the rise, with groups keen to retain privacy. "Around 70% of C&I travellers are choosing economy class, 23% are choosing premium economy, 7% are booking business class and 8% are booking first class."
America was the airline’s top destination for incentive trips, with two thirds of bookings for the US in 2016.
• For more breaking news, as well as case studies and in-depth features, sign up to C&IT Magazine's daily Newstracker here