Incentive travel

Forecast 2022: The World Is Eager for Incentive Travel

By Jorge J. J. Martínez

Motivation to take incentive trips in 2022 is high according to Stephanie Harris, president of Incentive Research Foundation (IRF). She shares with us the results of a recent survey indicating that 84 percent of reward program participants considered incentive travel to be “very” or “extremely” motivating.

Stephanie indicated that it is nonetheless important for businesses to be flexible and supportive of employees who still don’t feel comfortable taking trips as well as those who want to do so.

“The good news is that many incentive winners are very eager to travel, and the majority of organizations with programs moving forward are seeing strong registration numbers,” said the president of the IRF.

Although we do not have industry-wide numbers on program cancellations and rescheduling, we do know that concerns over COVID-19 variants caused one out of three planners to postpone, change venue or cancel in 2021, according to data from the Northstar Meetings Group survey.

The survey shows that the reality has been very different according to the part of the world and the business in question.

“Looking ahead, we are hearing that 2022 is shaping up to be a very strong year, one that will get the industry close to 2019 numbers. Organizations are eager to get their programs back on track,” commented Stephanie Harris.

Pre-event virtual briefings will be essential to help attendees feel safe and comfortable and to have realistic expectations; destinations and hotels must provide open and honest communication with clients.

Private vacation properties are experiencing a surge of interest for these trips, especially those at the beach or in the mountains, and more than anything, those offering open-air adventures. It’s interesting to note that participants are asking to travel with their partner or another companion.

“For 2022 we expect to have a strong performance from destinations where participants can enjoy open, outdoor spaces. Personalization will be infused into programs—whether providing choice through itinerary or gifting experiences, or by giving participants additional free time during their trips,” added Harris.

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