UK businesses spending 22% more on incentive travel

Research also finds increased investment in employee experiences worldwide, in response to concerns for wellbeing.

Rising workplace stress among younger employees has led to increased investment in incentives as rewards, according to a new report by event agency and rewards experts CR Worldwide. 

The report – Corporate Wellness 2.0 – which is based on CR data of 120 enterprises and more than 287,000 employees, found that UK organisations doubled the number of healthy nature-based business trips for employees over the last three years.  

UK businesses are spending 22% more on travel incentives, with companies spending an average of £3,100 per person per trip in the last year. 

Around 56% of UK business travel now includes nature-based activities, and 44% of all UK corporate getaways will include an element of physical activity.  

"Younger workers are more likely than previous generations to prioritise prospective employers’ values and their individual ability to make an impact over salary and status. This is causing big brands to lose out to start-ups in the talent race," said David Gould CEO at CR Worldwide.  

"Major employers are responding by introducing team bonding exercises and travel incentives, ranging from sports activity days to nature trips to improve health and wellbeing outside office hours. Financial rewards are being replaced by experiential gifts."

The report also found that in 2019:

  • An extra day off became the most common corporate reward worldwide.

  • The average US corporate spend on employee rewards soared by 67%.

  • Wearable fitness gadgets such as Fitbits were among the ten most popular corporate rewards across EMEA and the US. Individuals are choosing more corporate rewards that benefit their personal wellbeing. 

  • Employer-sponsored social experiences such as a ‘traditional afternoon tea for two’ and an ‘enjoyable meal’ were in the top 10 rewards for UK employees. 

  • Corporate gift categories such as charity and experiences are increasing in popularity.

The report concludes that the fact that incentive rewards and corporate travel are being increasingly designed around improving mental and physical health will "transform employee mental health". 

You can find the full report by CR Worldwide here.

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