Demographic, lifestyle, and workplace changes are all contributing to the strong rise in individual incentive programs, which will only continue in the next millennium. As more companies realize that individuals are motivated differently, more will adopt specialized solutions for recruiting, maintaining, and motivating the best people.

Both economic and demographic trends will play key roles in changing the way companies motivate. With the increase in dual-income households, it has become increasingly difficult for people to coordinate vacations. Not with customized trips. With corporate downsizing, today's sales forces are smaller, and companies can't afford group incentives that require the entire sales team to be out of the office at the same time. Finally, as the number of start-up businesses continues to grow, so will the use of individual incentives, which appeal to small companies--with small budgets--that can't afford group programs.

There also will be an increasing demand for family travel, in part as a backlash to the baby boomers, who were so career-focused that they married later and had children later than earlier generations. More companies will stress balancing work and family--and one way to do that is through travel programs that include the kids.

Individual incentives also appeal to Gen Xers and the generations to come, who are and will be looking for personalized services and custom solutions. For one, Gen Xers want immediate satisfaction and incentive trips that suit their lifestyles. They're also not motivated by a 12- to 18-month reward that they may not stay around long enough to earn.

The common denominator that everyone--both the companies and the qualifiers--will look for in the future is more time. Incentive programs that are easy to administer and appeal to a variety of demographic profiles are poised to take off in the future.