The incentive travel industry is in for another successful year, with bigger budgets and an even more competitive market set to define the next 12 months, according to the SITE Foundations annual study.
Incentive travel buyers and sellers are reporting that many companies are planning to increase their budgets, while adding more eligible participants to their incentive travel programmes.
However, more than 75% of participants are still continuing to save costs through a variety of methods, including planning shorter programmes, having fewer inclusions, and selecting cheaper destinations.
Precarious outlook remains for some
Threats to incentive travel are still apparent, with respondents naming airline costs, the world economy, and the threat of terrorism as the most damaging factors to the industry.
In addition to this, more than half of participants revealed that they fail to track the ROI of an incentive due to the programme already being widely accepted within the company, meaning it doesn’t require measurement. SITE’s analysis suggests that the lack of supporting metrics will be damaging, making the incentive travel industry vulnerable during financially challenging times.
Creativity still key
The study also found that delegates’ expectations of incentive travel programmes are forever increasing, with planners having to think even more creatively to add value to trips out of fear of becoming complacent in an already competitive market.
Elements such as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) have become much more prominent, with seven out of ten incentive programmes now including a CSR-related activity. In addition, 42% of buyers in the study reported that a meeting is now 'always' included in the programme.
Tina Weede, VP, research and education at the SITE Foundation, said: "While times are good, it is vitally important we stay on top of prevailing trends and prepare for the future to ensure that our businesses and the global incentive travel industry remain strong for years to come."
• For more breaking news, as well as case studies and in-depth features, sign up to C&IT Magazine's daily Newstracker here