A new survey by SITE Foundation has found that 94% of top US corporations remain 100% committed to incentive travel despite the industry pause caused by the pandemic.
The Corporate inSITEs survey series was undertaken by SITE Foundation in 2021, with responses provided by professionals in corporations whose remit includes the approval, oversight, design, planning, execution or delivery of incentive travel programs.
The results of the qualitative study were presented during SITE NITE all NITE, an online event that took place Apr. 28-29 and ran for 12 hours across multiple international timezones. Selina Sinclair, CEO, Realm & Vice President, Research & Content, SITE Foundation presented the findings of the study to a virtual gathering of over 800 global incentive travel professionals.
“We received submissions from 50 US companies who use incentive travel as a key driver for their reward and recognition programs,” said Sinclair in a press release statement. “Following the widespread cancellation of programs in 2020, we wanted to determine how senior leadership now viewed incentive travel. The response was unambiguous: 94% remain 100% committed to their travel rewards, with only 6% reporting any wavering in commitment.”
The survey findings also revealed that safety factors were the most important consideration when choosing a destination for incentive travel, as well as the overall destination appeal. Whereas the 2019 pre-pandemic Incentive Travel Industry Index (a joint study produced by SITE Foundation, FICP and IRF) ranked infrastructure, such as hotels and resorts, as the main consideration when selecting a destination.
“The pandemic clearly hasn’t dulled our corporate clients’ appetite for incentive travel,” said Terry Manion, president of SITE Foundation, in a press release statement. “If anything, it’s been sharpened by its absence – but, that said, the survey does spotlight some changes around success factors with contracts and risk mitigation now a priority for corporations planning programs.”
The survey instrument fielded for a two week period between Apr. 6-22, 2021. The survey questions asked for the corporate perspective on types of incentive travel and their likely increase or decrease in frequency over the next 3 years; the impact of the pandemic on incentive, reward and recognition programs; and the time frame for resumption of domestic or international in-person meeting/event and incentive travel experiences.
Questions were also asked about changes being made to the design of incentive travel programs in light of the pandemic, as well as considerations and criteria for selecting a destination in a post-pandemic world. Survey respondents were also asked what their most important learning has been from the disruptions caused by COVID-19.
A summary presentation of data in PDF and PPT formats is available here, and SITE Foundation is currently producing a White Paper incorporating both the survey results and extensive verbatim contributed via the survey instrument.