The first installation of a recent survey by the Site Foundation and the Incentive Travel Council is different from other industry research because it focuses on what’s motivational and meaningful from the perspective of 1,003 incentive program participants—including those who didn’t win.

When they were asked why they thought they didn’t qualify, 67 percent of respondents said they didn’t work hard enough and want to work harder to earn the trip in the future. There were some negative feelings from these nonearners: 31 percent said they were envious of the people who won; 38 percent said the same people win every year (so why bother?); 18 percent said their overall involvement/engagement with the company was lowered because they didn’t qualify; and 9 percent were downright “bitter” toward their employers. Only 11 percent said they didn’t strive for the award because they weren’t interested in it.

Though the majority of the nonwinners felt the program goals were achievable and fair, a significant number (16 percent) reported a lack of ongoing feedback to help them understand their progress toward the goal.

On the up side, when asked how their motivation would change when they went after the next travel award, 47 percent of the nonearners said it would increase or increase significantly, close to the 54 percent of the people who actually won. However, there was a certain amount of complacency among nonwinners: 29 percent neither agreed nor disagreed that they would want to work harder to be a winner in the future.

The majority (62 percent) of total respondents said travel was a more effective motivator than cash. Only 12 percent said merchandise was more effective than travel. Changing destinations also appears to be important to both winners and nonwinners: When asked if there should be a new destination the next year, 67 percent of winners said yes and 47 percent of nonwinners agreed.

Interestingly, though, 41 percent of the total said that paid vacation time would be more motivational than motivational travel, which could be interpreted to mean that more unstructured, paid time off is actually what everyone—winners or not—is craving these days.

The report is the first installation in a four-part series, to be released throughout 2012.

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2012 Incentive Travel Survey by Corporate Meetings & Incentives and the Incentive Research Foundation

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