Travel really seems to be coming forth as the preferred way for many companies to reward high performing employees. The benefits certainly seem to be worth the expense. Time and again, the resulting boost in general performance and earnings reinforces the conviction that it’s a wise investment.
If you own or run a business and would like to know where travel incentive programs are headed in the following year, you can look to the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) for answers. It has been hard at work regularly conducting studies in the incentive industry to give you an assessment of the outlook regarding this matter in the near future and to identify longer-term trends.
According to the IRF Fall Pulse Survey 2015, budgets are bigger, lead times are increasing, and destinations are moving farther afield. Here are some of the most salient points you can take away from this particular research:
- Many companies will be increasing their incentive travel budget for 2016. Sixty-seven percent of the survey respondents indicated this sentiment. The overall translation when it comes to budget per person is: 36 percent are to spend over $4000 per person; 29 percent, between $3000 and $4000 per person; and 30 percent, between $2000 and $3000 per person.
- The Caribbean is the hottest destination in 2016. According to the survey, the Caribbean has tied with the US for the first time in terms of popularity as a travel destination. Here’s the breakdown of pertinent results:
> Caribbean and the US - 50 percent
> Canada – 40 percent
> Europe – 38 percent
> Mexico – 35 percent
> Central America – 26 percent
> South America – 14 percent
> Asia – 10 percent
> Africa – seven percent
> Middle East – three percent
- While there are more respondents who don’t plan to include different destinations in their travel incentive programs in 2016, almost a quarter of the group do plan to change from domestic to international destinations.
- Lead times have increased—a sign that the economy has definitely strengthened while the hotel supply has remained stagnant. 45 percent indicated that they book more than a year out and 41 percent, between seven months and a year out.
- Most companies measure the efficacy of their programs annually or sometime during the program; only five percent claimed they don’t measure at all. Common metrics include top line sales, budget achievement, an ROI assessment methodology, and participant feedback.
The above survey results will give you and other companies an idea of what to expect in the coming year.