Incentive industry organizations took advantage of Chicago's high-profile Motivation Show in late September to introduce their latest white papers and research projects:

  • The Incentive Research Foundation surveyed 80 corporate incentive buyers, incentive firms, and suppliers to explore the effects of the down economy on incentives. Among the findings: Companies most frequently compensate for smaller incentive budgets by cutting the number of qualifiers and length of stay and choosing domestic rather than international destinations. But, more surprisingly, one in five companies (21 percent) are cutting their use of incentive companies altogether or finding ways to cut their management fees (27 percent). A full 84 percent of respondents said that their company's financial forecast has an influence on the design and implementation of their incentive programs, and 73 percent said that the down economy has changed the way they measure their programs' return on investment and success. For more, visit www.theirf.org.

    In other news, the IRF will hold its annual Incentive Invitational May 13 to 17 at the Westin Mission Hills Resort & Spa in Palm Springs, Calif., bringing together corporate meeting managers with top incentive firms for a weekend of golf and networking, culminating in an auction to benefit the Foundation's research. Visit www.theirf.org/invitational2009.asp.

  • The Incentive Performance Center (www.incentivecentral.org), the outreach arm of the Incentive Federation, has released a white paper entitled “Why Incentive Programs Endure Recessions,” which points to the fact that companies often cut advertising in tough economic conditions but keep their incentive programs. The major reason, the paper says, is that the fixed costs of incentives are much lower than those of other marketing strategies — only 20 percent to 30 percent of the cost of the program — with the remainder being paid only when goals are reached.

    In other news, the IPC has formed an Industry Leadership Council to provide recommendations for the role that the Incentive Federation should take in its research and legislative activities. The Federation intends to increase its focus on outreach to the government and the media in 2009. The Council will be chaired by Rodger Stotz, vice president managing consultant, Maritz Inc.

  • The Forum for People Performance Management and Measurement at Northwestern University has developed a white paper introducing a “workforce measurement model” intended to illustrate the contribution of a company's people and talent to its bottom line. For a copy of “The Workforce Model Every Company Should Use,” visit www.performanceforum.org.

Travel Hit Hard

% who said the down economy is having a negative impact on their:

Travel incentives:
81%

Merchandise incentives:
48%

Calendar:

December 2-4

EIBTM Global Meetings & Incentives Exhibition
Barcelona, Spain
www.eibtm.com

December 5-8

Society of Incentive & Travel Executives
International Conference
Montreaux, Switzerland
www.site-intl.org

December 8-9

2nd Annual Medical Device and Bio/Pharmaceutical Meeting Management Forum, San Diego
http://www.pharmameetingplanners.com/west

January 11-14, 2009

Professional Convention Management Association
New Orleans
www.pcma.org

January 27-28, 2009

ISM-NBTA Summit on Travel and Meetings
Westin Charlotte (N.C.)
www.ism-nbta.org

February 7-10, 2009

Meeting Professionals International
MeetDifferent
Atlanta
www.mpiweb.org