Incentives – Where is the Industry Headed?

Based on a recent survey from MeetingsNet and the Incentive Research Foundation, Budgets are coming back to the incentive travel industry. After hitting a seven year low at $2,397 per person in 2014, incentive budgets are on the rise. What does this mean for those in the industry? Where is the money being spent? And how?

The seven most common strategies (in order) to enhance your program:

  1. Add more “wow” elements
  2. Choose a more luxe property
  3. Increase the food and beverage budget
  4. Accept more qualifiers
  5. Add more off-site events
  6. Develop an App
  7. Include an on-site merchandise experience

At ESG Incentives, we are thrilled to see “wow” elements top this list. In our eyes, it’s all about wowing guests and creating personalized travel experiences.

Where in the World?

According to the survey, the two long haul locations that are seeing an uptick in incentive travel programs are Africa and Asia. The rich, deep cultural experiences offered in these locales provides quite an appeal.

However, nearly 80% of planners reported that they would utilize domestic locations, making spots within America and the Caribbean the most popular.

Don’t count out Latin America, though. With reduced restrictions to Cuba, the island leads the list of emerging destinations that have respondents’ attention. Although still not open for straight-ahead tourists, travel to Cuba is being allowed for 12 travel categories, which include professional meetings.


With the increase in budgets, comes a surge in the adrenaline. Think white water rafting, skydiving and bungee jumping! ESG Incentives loves putting our clients’ guests in the fast lane. There is no better equalizer than jumping out of a plane with your colleagues or taking a helicopter ride. Talk about a bonding experience for life.


channel partner incentive program

Is There an App for That?

More and more, incentive agencies are moving from paper-based programs to digital. Some are even creating their own apps, which house agendas, surveys, contact sheets, etc. Not only does this reduce waste, but it’s also a great way to capture real-time results.

In the end, whether it’s your goal to increase sales, provide further education or training, or improve customer retention, incentive programs can have a positive impact, if done right. We’re thrilled to see that budgets are rising and more money is being put towards personalized experiences. That’s what will leave that lasting impression, have an impact on your bottom line and keep your guests coming back for more.

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