Incentive travel is now considered one of the essential investments for building high-performing teams. Research and testimonials from companies prove that using travel as an incentive, as opposed to material rewards or cash bonuses, can offer more benefits when it comes to improving performance, increasing employee engagement and retention, and enhancing team harmony and loyalty.

If you ask any leading incentive travel company, they will tell you that the demand and trust for corporate travel incentives continue to rise each year, and employers are prepared to increase their budget and commitment for travel rewards programs as well.

For the year 2016, it appears that the trend continues to go on and become even stronger. Check out the following must-know points and insights on incentive travel this year, according to data and survey results from Incentive Research Foundation.

Incentive travel budgets are increasing.

Businesses are preparing to increase their travel spending this year, with 67 percent of the respondents confirming this. Per-person spending will also significantly rise. One of the main triggers behind the companies’ decision is the positive outlook on the economy. They believe that economic conditions have improved compared to previous years, so they’re ready to shell out more for corporate travel.

The lure of the tropical island paradise is still strong.

The top 1 destination for U.S. travelers in 2016 is the Caribbean. Other popular destinations are Canada, Europe, Central America, South America and Asia. And while local destinations have been the preferred option in the past few years, more businesses are looking into international destinations this year.

Early birds are gathering in numbers.

Businesses are now investing in advanced planning for their trips. Longer lead times are scheduled for all the preparations, from canvassing suppliers to booking accommodations to planning itineraries and so on. Many clients are now booking hotels a year to seven months in advance.

More focus is given to measure results.

While companies are prepared to spend more, they’re also aware that many of the aspects of travel have become more expensive. The cost of air travel, hotels and food and beverages increased this year, and to accommodate the expenses, many choose to implement one big travel event instead of multiple events. At the same time,companies are putting up systems in place to measure, monitor and track the results of their travel incentives programs to ensure a good and sustained return on their investment.

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