by Alex Palmer | December 20, 2012
The latest research from the Site International Foundation finds that a solid majority of planners expect to see incentive travel increase in the near future. The third annual Site Index, which draws on the responses from 112 planners from 22 countries, finds that 86 percent of respondents expect that use of motivational travel will increase or substantially increase in the next one to three years.

This optimistic number was tempered when comparing short-term and long-term expectations. While responses were more positive about the next six months than in previous years, their outlook on the longer term of more than one year shows lower expectations than in years past.

“The Site Index results confirm that the overall use of motivational travel continues to be on an upswing,” said Stephen Powell, president of the Site International Foundation and senior vice president of Worldwide Sales for InterContinental Hotels Group, in a statement.

Examining specific travel elements, the report found that use of all-inclusive hotels is expected to increase, with 62 percent of respondents predicting an uptick. Use of cruise products — which are essentially all-inclusive — is also expected to rise.

A majority of respondents (58%) are report that they are requesting or providing more site selection and hotel placement-only services than they had in previous years. Both the use of green initiatives and corporate social responsibility programs has leveled out, with response rates about even compared to last year.

Incorporating incentive merchandise into the equation, respondents also see reason for optimism. In response to the question “how has the power of external motivators like motivational events and merchandise changed over the last three years?” 27 percent of respondents say it has increased, compared to just 22 percent in 2011.

“After several years of intense scrutiny, companies are recognizing the role incentive travel programs played in their past success and are implementing new programs to elevate future performance,” said Powell.

The full report is available here.