Looking for a new market to target in 2015? Take a second look at the incentive travel sector, which appears to be heating up following years of slashed budgets, according to a new study by the Incentive Research Foundation.
The survey of incentive planners finds that, although the $22.5 billion industry was hit hard by the recession in 2009, more than 50% are increasing their budgets heading into 2015, spending more than $4,000 per person on incentive trips in the new year.
Besides spending more per person on travel, the study revealed the incentive planners are focusing on different types of experiences for trip attendees. Data also shows an emphasis in three areas: wellness, customization and apps.
While it was sufficient a few years ago to offer healthy menus and yoga classes for incentive trip attendees, today’s trips call for an increased focus on wellness programs, according to the report. Think mountain-bike adventures, cooking classes and exotic spa treatments, with branded giveaways to match. Meanwhile, one-size-fits-all incentive trips, with a customary golf outing and evening entertainment, aren’t cutting it anymore, incentive planners say. Because they’re catering to multiple demographics, planners are challenged with creating customized trips for each attendee, the report says.
Finally, the proliferation of travel apps has driven incentive trip attendees to take more control of their experience, so savvy planners are developing customized apps to help them plan. For more on the study, go to www.theIRF.org.