Having prepared to deliver a presentation on this topic at the International Innovations in Business Travel Conference in Moscow, Joyce thought she would share the key point of her forecast for the industry;
Incentive Travel currently makes up about 25 percent of the business travel industry revenue and it is growing, though slowly for now.
As tour companies like Austin Lehman, Discovery, and National Geographic Travel Programs will confirm, people, who can afford it, are craving more and more meaningful experiences. As previously forecast, instead of acquiring more "things", they are choosing to collect memories that will last a lifetime.
This societal trend is reflected in the top trend in incentive travel. It is all about the "Total Incentive Travel Experience" wrote The Incentive Research Foundation in its "Trends Report 2014". In a subsequent Herman Trend Alert, we will explore how this trend is playing out globally in the corporate world.
Right now, 47 percent of incentive travel planners are including some element of Corporate Social Responsibility in their program. Whether it is just promoting Marriott Hotels' "Book a Meeting, Make a Difference" or Kimpton Hotels' "Great Meetings Great Causes" or Ritz Carlton: "Give Back Getawaysâ€ť, people appreciate the opportunity to be connected with a higher purpose. Thus you can expect to see more Charity Bike Builds, Habitat for Humanity, and even Beehive Building to be part of incentive travel programs.
But that's not all. Food and wellness is at 62 percent already and growing. So incentive travel planners will be buying more spa visits, more golf outings, more rafting trips, more sessions of swimming with the dolphins, and more spinning classes.
Many people who are the recipients of the incentive trips are concerned about their family members who have sacrificed so that they could excel. They use these incentive trips as opportunities to say "Thank you" to their long-suffering families.
Whether on the golf course, in the spa, or under the sea, especially the Millennials and Generation Xers will expect, no, demand emotionally charged, unforgettable experiences; this memorable out-of-the-office engagement will increase the return on investment and positively affect employee retention as well.
Once corporations move beyond their fear of exposure, they will embrace incentive travel's tremendous competitive advantage and expand their programs to include many other types of employees. © Copyright 1998-2014 by The Herman Group of Companies, Inc., all rights reserved. From 'The Herman Trend Alert,' by Joyce Gioia, Strategic Business Futurist. (800) 227-3566 or www.hermangroup.com
The Herman Trend Alert is a trademark of The Herman Group of Companies, Inc. Reprinted with permission.