Don’t throw those shades away just yet: The future of incentive travel looks bright, according to the 2020 Incentive Travel Industry Index, a joint research project of the Incentive Research Foundation, Society for Incentive Travel Excellence, Financial & Insurance Conference Professionals and Oxford Economics.
The Incentive Travel Industry Index, which had 2,356 respondents from various facets of the industry, found that a year without travel has sharpened our appreciation for it. As soon as the time comes—which has different meanings for different program owners—this appreciation for travel will help fuel the recovery.
64 percent of respondents indicated that they are feeling a desire to travel after being restricted for so long. The most negative factor that will impede programs is company aversion to travel.
Hopes are that 2021—fueled by activity in the second half—can recover to 59 percent of 2019 levels. A majority of respondents—66 percent—believe the incentive travel industry as a whole will recover within one and two years. Three-quarters of respondents believe that incentive trips will remain the same or slightly different than they were pre-COVID. The least optimistic region of the world is Western Europe, which expects a slower recovery than the U.S. (only 54% expect a one to two year recovery).
Buyers (incentive travel end users and agencies) report shifts emerging for a post-COVID world, with “soft power” purposes—improved engagement, customer satisfaction and relationship building—becoming more important goals, even as hard dollar goals—sales and corporate profitability—continue to drive programs.
For the full report, click here.
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