Never before has corporate America been as uncertain about its use of incentive travel programs as in the post-9/11 economy, according to an e-mail/Internet survey conducted by ICP's sister publication Corporate Meetings & Incentives.

While the majority (51.4 percent) of the 339 sales, marketing, and meeting executives who participated said they will continue their 2002 incentive programs, a significant number (18.2 percent) said they just “didn't know” if they would. More than a third of respondents (34.4 percent) said they were undecided about whether or not they would hold incentive programs in 2003.

Uncertainty was even more prevalent when respondents were asked if they would replace travel with other motivators (specifically cash, gift certificates, or merchandise) for 2002. Forty-two percent aren't sure; 44 percent said they won't replace travel incentives; and 12 percent said they would. Of those who plan to use a different carrot, gift certificates were a slightly more popular option than cash or merchandise.

Not surprisingly, incentive travel budgets are unlikely to keep pace with inflation for 2002: About 58 percent of survey respondents expect their incentive travel budgets to be cut or stay the same as 2001.

Those who use international destinations for their incentive travel programs had, perhaps, the most to think about. Almost 17 percent do not plan to continue with their overseas travel in 2002, and more than one-quarter are not sure.