The latest research from Site Global has proven that incentive travel is making a comeback—and that more companies are measuring the impact of their trips.

Site Global’s just-released Site Index annual survey of incentive travel and motivational event users and providers found that a majority (62 percent) of respondents expect an increase in motivational travel use in the next six to 12 months, with 84 percent predicting an upswing over the next one to three years.

When asked where they will be taking programs, respondents said they expect the greatest increase will be in international destinations. Currently, 25 percent use international destinations for motivational events, but 40 percent predict international locations will be in the mix six months from now. Respondents also expect an increase in the use of all-inclusive hotels and cruises over the next one to three years, with cruises gaining the most ground. Almost 60 percent see an “increase” or “substantial increase” in the use of cruise products during that time.

Motivational professionals also see results measurement gaining in importance. Almost three out of four respondents predict an “increase” or “substantial increase” in the next six months in requirements that return on investment and return on objectives be measured. An even greater increase is expected in the next three years.

“With our senior executives, it’s not as much about whether they believe incentives are critical to our sales reps’ success—they truly do,” said Donna Foppoli Patrick, CMP, CMM, manager, group meetings, events and travel, Medtronic Inc., Minneapolis. “What they have been asking for more of is information on how each business unit handles them, such as what the qualification process is, what destinations they are going to, and what hotels they are using.”

Other findings from the survey:

  • Eighty eight percent of respondents said that the effectiveness of any motivational tool varies based on the generation being engaged. “Users of incentive travel need to include more elements of choice in their programs to appeal to the diversity in today's work force,” said Steve O’Malley, Site International Foundation vice president and research committee chair, and vice president, general manager, Maxvantage.
  • Green initiatives are expected to grow in the motivational events industry over the next six to 12 months; just under 60 percent of respondents expect to incorporate them in some way.

The survey’s 131 respondents are from the Site International Foundation’s Site Index database. Scott A. Jeffrey, PhD, Monmouth University West Long Branch, N.J., and Marion Joppe, PhD, University of Guelph, in Guelph, Ontario, supervised the survey.