New research of 55 member companies from the Business Travel Coalition, based in Radnor, Pa., has found that 52 percent of respondents plan to increase their incentive budgets in 2005, with the average increase estimated at 8.9 percent. The average cost for incentive trips in 2004 was $5,806 for winners and their guests.

Other survey highlights:

  • The average number of attendees per trip was 242.

  • The majority of trips ran five days and four nights. Eighty-three percent of trips start on or run through a weekend.

  • Eighty-seven percent of respondents allow winners to bring guests, but only 23 percent of respondents allow children on incentive trips.

  • Sixty-six percent of companies said the final site decision for their incentive trips was made by senior management.

  • The best overall value destinations (international) were cited as: Cabo San Lucas, Canada, Eastern Europe, Malta, Mexico, Puerto Rico, St. John, Sydney, and Thailand.

  • Fifty-eight percent of respondents repeat geographical destinations.

  • Eight-five percent of respondents provide some other form of recognition during their incentive trip, such as plaques or other awards.

  • Seventy-six percent of companies cover all expenses for winners on-site, including meals, wheels, and recreation.

  • Thirty-five percent of respondents provide discretionary spending money to winners, with the average being $300.

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