During the past 6 months, a number of news and event planning industry sources have reported that incentive travel is making a comeback:
- Incentive Travel Council Incentive Travel Recovering from Belly-flop [PDF]
- USA Today: Reward travel for employees makes a comeback
- Travel Market Report: The Great Comeback: Incentive Travel Rebounds
The main reason that has been cited for the comeback is that, while incentive travel represents a small percentage of the total budget, its impact on a company’s sales team is strong in terms of motivation.
What's Changed in Incentive Travel
Corporate event planners are reporting that, while incentive travel is back, companies are taking steps to stretch the event budget. The sales incentive trip is shorter, closer to home and less lavish. Some companies are dispensing with room gifts and transfers. Companies are also booking economy rather than business class travel. Business meetings and programs that give back to the community are also part being incorporated into the itinerary.
Other companies are going the route of replacing group travel with gift certificates for a 1 or 2 nights at a local luxury hotel or 5 Star resort.
The CEOs of companies like Texas Roadhouse and DriveSavers Data Recovery continued to reward top performers during the recession. Now other CEOs seem to be realizing that the ROI for incentive travel makes these initiatives worthwhile. This is good news for all sales teams that have been working hard to produce results in a challenging market.