A recent meeting of the New England chapter of the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International brought 10 editors from business travel and meeting magazines together with readers to discuss trends. What attendees at the early June forum at the Omni Parker House, Boston, heard did not surprise them: Incentive programs have undergone significant change, the result of the down economy and terrorism.
Dick Kisker, vice president of Premier Incentives, Marblehead, Mass., said pure incentives are not as common as they used to be; companies and qualifiers see the need to include meetings. Four-star properties are suitable now, as are those without a spa and golf.
And many companies have moved to shorter qualifying periods, with the incentive just a few months after the qualifying period.