Outlook is Bright for Incentive Travel in 2015 and Beyond

2014 has been a very good year for the incentive travel market and the outlook for 2015 is positive, as confirmed by results from the SITE Index Annual Analysis and Forecast for the Motivational Events Industry released this week by the SITE Foundation during the SITE Global Conference 2014 in Rotterdam, Netherlands. For the second consecutive year, there is continued optimism about the industry’s future, and the overall use of motivational travel experiences continues to increase. An ever-improving economy appears to be the major reason for this confidence as well as bookings for future business.

“Through research we are able to provide deeper insights into why incentives are a vital business tool to drive desired behavior and positive performance resulting in definitive business results,” stated Tina Weede, vice-president research and education, SITE Foundation and president, US Motivation, Atlanta, Georgia, USA. “The 2014 SITE Index demonstrates not only the business case and need but also provides valuable information into industry trends and forecasts predicting optimism for future growth and change in the incentive travel industry.”

Key Observations:

Incentive travel continues to be on an upswing and is predicted to grow into 2016. 52% of respondents say the use of incentive will increase or substantially increase in the next six months — a 4% increase over last year and 80% are similarly optimistic about the following 6 to 12 months — an 11% increase over last year

Requirement for ROI and/or ROO measurement will continue. In 2013, 79% of respondents believed the emphasis on measurement would increase. In this year’s survey 49% of respondents reported that measurement requirements will stay the same in the next six months

Top management and procurement continue to be involved in decision-making process.  The involvement of top management in the decision-making process appears to have leveled out, however the involvement of procurement departments is slowly increasing. 56% of the respondents feel that procurement’s expertise regarding incentive travel is increasing, versus 48% in 2013.

Use of smart/mobile technology in program operations is of great importance. In comparison to other questions, a large number of respondents feel strongly about this point. In 2013, 80% said it was important or very important growing to 86% this year. However, the use of social media platforms may have peaked. When asked if they are measuring the effectiveness and value of utilizing social media, the majority of respondents (59%) indicated they do, a modest increase over last year.

Generational diversity needs to be considered in program design. There is no significant difference in beliefs about the effectiveness of motivational tools based on generation. However it is apparent that it takes different rewards to motivate different generations. Boomers continue to be most motivated by extrinsic rewards. There is strong agreement that Millennials are less motivated than other generations, although Traditionalists come close.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is here to stay. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) components of programs are here to stay and part of budgets. However, some of the opulence from the 1990s has been replaced with “doing the right thing.”

Since 2010 the SITE Foundation has conducted the SITE Foundation Annual Analysis and Forecast for the Motivational Events Industry which compiles and compares data meaningful to the incentive travel and motivational events industry. The research examines both internal and external challenges to the sector and how these factors impact the stability and growth of the market. It addresses behaviors of both buyers and suppliers providing leading indicators for future trends.

Data for the SITE Index are derived from the collective experiences and perspectives of a global group of incentive travel and motivational event users and providers. All registrants in the SITE Index database as well as all SITE members were invited to participate in this survey generating a total of 119 responses. Scott A. Jeffrey, Ph.D., Monmouth University and Marion Joppe, Ph.D., University of Guelph supervised the survey.

This SITE Index Annual report was made possible through the generous support of our partners: Associated Luxury Hotels International (ALHI) and InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG).

To obtain a full copy of the Executive Summary of the SITE Index Annual Analysis and Forecast of the Motivational Events Industry, go to SITE Index.