Experts Note Travel Incentive Program Resurgence

by: Nichole Gunn November 2, 2011

Over the past year, travel incentive programs have been finding their way back into business incentive strategies, as the global recession eases. Employers are again using travel as a way of enhancing workplace morale and satisfaction.

This is good news all around, as the incentive industry took a hit during the recession. A number of companies had to implement severe cuts to keep afloat and to help calm the uproar caused by extravagant big corporation travel retreats.

Thanks to the improving economy and the proven benefits of travel incentive, businesses are back in the ‘travel incentive’ saddle.

In an article from USA Today, California based DriveSavers Data Recovery’s CEO Jay Hagan explained, “It’s really a relatively small part of our total employee budget and has such a big impact. It seemed even more important to continue to do it when things were slow.”

According to travel industry experts, DriveSavers has plenty of company in the reintroducing of travel as an employee incentive. A large number of businesses are taking this route as a means of boosting employee morale through rewards.

While the trips are toned down compared to pre-recession standards, the news source reported that findings from an Incentive Research Foundations (IRF) study showed approximately 67 percent of incentive travel were for meetings or other business related events, and on average they cost around $2,500 per person.

Also quoted in the article is I2I (a designer of incentive programs) managing director Paul Hebert, “They’re applying a lot more common sense to it. They’re still doing room gifts. But it might be a travel kit with interesting and fun things in it.” The new gifts are smaller and of less value than before. A company may offer a trinket specific to the location, or a luggage size picture or carving.

IRF president Melissa Van Dyke said, “The programs are still motivating. They’re still creating experiences that are memorable and meaningful.”

The boost in travel incentives is not the only incentive program to be adopted by companies. Research from Staples Promotional Products demonstrates that 85 percent of employees who are offered an incentive program cited feeling of more value to their employer, and 70 percent felt the incentive program enhanced their motivation.

Along with the above study statistics, 65 percent of workers provided with an incentive program or recognition reward cited feelings of increased company loyalty, and 40 percent cited preferring incentives over yearly holiday parties sponsored by their company.

Staples’ vice president Anne McKeough said, “Employees often love a little extra incentive to achieve goals – and employers are eager to find unique ways to deliver results. She added that the rewards from incentive programs encourage a “competitive and rewarding culture.” If properly designed and initiated, these programs can effectively “strengthen company morale.”