by Alex Palmer | May 01, 2018
Three major organizations working in incentive travel will be collaborating on an expansive new annual study of the industry and where it is headed. The Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE), the Financial and Insurance Conference Professionals (FICP), and the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) announced today that they are joining forces to create the first joint index study for the incentive travel industry.

The "Incentive Travel Industry Index, powered by SITE Index, IRF Outlook, and FICP" promises to offer analysis of where reward travel is heading -- including the trends, business environment, changing attitudes, and other factors shaping the industry. Produced annually, the index will be executed by JD Power and based on a single, cross-industry questionnaire expected to be available for response as soon as the end of this month, with results to be released in late summer. 

"The great news about this research is that, aside from removing duplication from multiple surveys, it will bring together the best indicators from the major parties and provide the critical mass needed to have a single, definitive, annual source for where the state of the industry currently is and where it's headed," Melissa Van Dyke, president of IRF, told Incentive

The organizations emphasized that the index is intended to provide actionable data for industry organizations, with a release in late summer to get a jump on budgeting and marketing cycles. The insights are expected to aid not only corporate and third-party incentive planners, but also suppliers to the industry.

"We plan to release the report early enough in the year for it to be proactively used by incentive travel professionals, suppliers, and buyers, for their marketing plan and budgeting," Didier Scaillet, CIS, SITE CEO told Incentive. He added that the effort, "brings three organizations with very different profiles and constituency groups -- professional society for incentive travel professionals, foundation dedicated to the entire incentive industry, and corporate end-users -- enriching the depth of perspectives and width of distribution and coverage." 

Scaillet also said that the effort aims to streamline the way that the industry operates by bringing three organizations to the same table, focusing on the same objectives.

"Each of our organizations is supportive of and deeply invested in the incentive travel industry," said FICP Executive Director Steve Bova, CAE. "It only makes sense that we collaborate and reduce redundancies for the benefit of the entire industry. Additionally, our participation supports FICP's mission of strengthening our members through education, outreach and partnerships so that the positive impact and value of their work is fully recognized by their organizations and the industry."
 
Van Dyke added that one of IRF's Vision2020 goals is "unity," and this collaboration provides an example of this kind of unity in action.

"Collaborations like this bring the best thinking of the best organizations to the table so that we can ensure all of the major issues and opportunities are being covered and tracked in a single study," said Van Dyke. "It also makes sure that we have the highest response pools available, making the confidence level and confidence intervals for the combined study higher than they would be for any single survey. In sum, we just get better data."