by Leo Jakobson | April 07, 2017
In order to celebrate Global Meetings Industry Day on April 6, the Incentive Research Foundation compiled a list of 10 facts that anyone running or seeking to justify an incentive travel program can use to strengthen their case. Each fact cites either the IRF's own research (in several cases its 2017 Outlook Study) or the 2016 Industry Size Study (technically the Incentive Marketplace Estimate Research Study) from the Incentive Federation.

1. 38% of all U.S. firms over $1MM in revenue use incentive travel to motivate their people and partners. (Incentive Federation) 

2. U.S. firms spend over $14B Annually on incentive travel. (Incentive Federation) 

3. Net Optimism Score for incentive travel in the fall of 2016 was 26%, meaning the industry is still moderately positive about the outlook for incentive travel (2017 Outlook Study) 

4. As of fall 2016, per-person incentive travel budgets are most commonly between $3,000 and $4,000, although about 40% of the industry spends more. (2017 Outlook Study)

5. Average per-person spend has increased by 5% annually since fall 2014. (2017 Outlook Study)

6. Most commonly selected destinations for incentive group travel are now the USA, Caribbean, Mexico, and Europe, showing a return to long-haul destinations. (2017 Outlook Study) 

7. Analysis shows that the economic Net Optimism Score for incentive travel tracks closely with overall U.S. economic performance, often acting as a leading indicator. (2017 Outlook Study) 

8. Almost 60% of planners have experienced some form of disruption in their events, estimating that almost a quarter of their events have been affected in some way. (2017 Outlook Study)

9. Planners view "Flawless Execution" as the #1 way their most trusted Hotel Partners add value; Hoteliers view "Providing a Strong Vision" as the #1 way their most trusted Planner Partners add value to the relationship. (2017 Outlook Study) 

10. Although Planners and Organizations are enthusiastic about wellness, there is often a disconnect in implementation. The top wellness inclusions in meetings today are Reduced Calorie Drinks, Healthy Snacks, Smoke Free Properties, Free Access to Fitness Facilities, and Frequent Breaks. (2017 Outlook Study)