In its bi-annual Pulse surveys, the IRF asks motivation industry professionals about trends in incentive programs, with its latest findings indicating that things have stabilized compared to prior survey periods, establishing a strong positive upward trend for each of the core elements beginning in July 2009 and continuing through May 2014.
67% of incentive travel program owners and 48% of merchandise/gift card program owners in the latest Pulse survey indicate they continue to be optimistic and feel the economy is having more of a positive impact on their ability to plan programs.
47% of respondents anticipate budgets for incentive travel programs will “moderately increase” this coming year; 37% indicate that travel program budgets will remain unchanged.
For merchandise/noncash programs, 49% expect budgets will remain unchanged, while 46% say budgets will increase to some degree.
A majority of respondents (52%) say the involvement of Procurement and Purchasing in travel incentive program decision-making will remain unchanged, but 32% indicate that this involvement will “moderately increase” and 12% say it will “significantly increase” in the coming year.
DESTINATIONS & ACCOMMODATIONS
Many respondents (46%) anticipate no change with respect to destinations for incentive travel programs in the coming year, but 15% say there will be a shift from domestic programs to more international programs.
The top destination for incentive travel programs is the Caribbean (47%), followed by North America (43%) and Europe (34%).
26% of respondents say there will be no change to “all inclusive” pricing options for the accommodations portion of incentive travel programs in the coming year, while 14% anticipate some change to this policy.
The most popular types of merchandise for incentive programs are electronics (43%), open loop cards (40%) and jewelry/watches (34%).
Nearly three-quarters of respondents (74%) indicate they use a points-based system for their merchandise/noncash incentive programs.
Just under half of respondents (46%) indicate they use social media tool/techniques to enhance their incentive programs.
37% indicate they integrate corporate social responsibility (CSR) and gaming elements into their programs.
The survey was conducted July 21 through August 6 with participants falling into three basic categories:
Corporate (Buyers, Planners, Sales, HR)
Supplier (Hotels, Airlines, DMCs, Merchandise)
Third Party (Incentive Company, Travel Agency, Consultant)
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