5 predictions for the future of incentive travel

Attitudes to frequent travel and the ability to reach certain destinations are going to change, says Penguins' Holly Mills.

Holly Mills is head of incentives at Penguins.

As we remain in lockdown mode with little chance of restrictions lifting enough for us to continue with our business of incentive travel, it got me thinking about what is ahead for the incentives market after the pandemic. 

We have seen the industry come together, helping and supporting each other in these times of crisis. Here are our predictions for what the future holds: 

1. Giving back

We predict an increased desire for incentives to include a CSR or ‘pay it forward’ element. People are increasingly coming together for good causes, locally and globally and enjoying the benefits this shared experience brings. 

We believe businesses will be under increased pressure from their employees to make a difference, at home or further afield. Which could be good news for more remote destinations. 

2. Greater trust in video conferencing will reduce costs 

This current crisis has proven to businesses around the world that we have the infrastructure, creativity and knowledge to effectively communicate key messages virtually. We believe that this will lead to a reduction in business travel globally, with virtual communications reducing costs, proving to be safer and more sustainable. 

3. Travel will regain its luxury status 

In parallel to reduced business travel, we also predict a rise in the use of travel as a motivational tool. Companies will harness the power of travel and shared experience to maximise productivity, boost morale and increase sales. Employees crave the opportunity to explore now that they have experienced the feeling of being 'locked down'. 

Travel will once again become a luxury experience rather than an expectation. 

4. Staying closer to home

The return of glorious spells of sunny weather in the UK has allowed people to explore their immediate surroundings more closely than ever before, prompting an appreciation for what we have closer to home, including our incredible coastlines, varied nature and wildlife. 

Combined with some of the best incentive venues in the world, we expect a rise in UK incentives as the industry gently begins to ease back into business. As a bonus, it helps our own economy too, which is a win-win.

5. Wellbeing at the heart of it all

We predict an even stronger need for programmes to focus on wellbeing, both physically and mentally. The lockdown has forced people to ‘check-in’ with themselves with fewer external distractions.

Wellbeing will no longer be a nice-to-have but will become an expectation of incentive programmes. This could be increased leisure time, a wider variety of physical and mental exercises or personalised activities to suit individuals’ unique preferences rather than a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. 

This article was written by Holly Mills at Penguins. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of C&IT Magazine. 

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