Incentive spend rises at cost of fewer participants

The latest Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE) Index 2018 survey has found that per person per incentive trip budget has risen from US$3,000 to US$4,000, a reverse from the drop and stagnation in the past few years.

However, despite the plan to spend more, 80 per cent of buyers surveyed are seeking to decrease costs and reduce the number of participants.

SITE’s immediate past president, Rajeev Kohli, said the survey, conducted by J D Power in English, Spanish and Mandarin, was different compared to last year, as different segments – sellers, third-party suppliers and corporates – were given different questions to make the findings more targeted.

Although spend is rising, buyers are also looking for more value, said Kohli, adding that CSR is also making a comeback, and it is “not for millennials only”.

“Corporates and third-party suppliers are increasingly mentioning less expensive destinations and amenities to manage the cost of incentive travel programmes,” Kohli pointed out.

Among buyers, corporates are driving growth, and incentive travel is getting even stronger as a motivator for performance.

But business tends to stay within their respective regions, and 43 of the buyers surveyed said they were not planning a trip to Asia. One reason is that it does not align with business needs, while other reasons included distance and travel time.

Kohli noted the number one concern in 2016 was the cost of an airline ticket but the industry was seeing an improvement. He added that there was also more optimism about the world and national economies among buyers and sellers. But while the threat of terrorism remains a concern, it has decreased as well.

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