by Lisa A. Grimaldi | May 08, 2013

The IRF’s spring 2013 poll of more than 2,000 program planners, suppliers and buyers reports a 13-point increase (56 percent vs. 43 percent in October 2012) in respondents who characterized the economy as having a “positive impact” on their ability to plan and implement incentive travel and merchandise programs. Eighty-two percent of those surveyed expected incentive travel budgets to stay the same or increase in 2013. Among other findings of the biannual survey, which asks professionals for their opinions on key incentive trends:
• Ninety-one percent of those who increased budgets for incentive programs indicated a corresponding increase in sales results.
• Thirty-nine percent of respondents anticipated no change in destinations for incentive travel programs this year
• Eighteen percent will pick locations closer to home and 17 percent will select domestic rather than international destinations.
• When asked which specific regions they will likely choose for their incentive travel programs, 42 percent selected North America, 34 percent said Central/South America, 32 percent selected the Caribbean and 31 percent chose Europe.
• Social media and corporate social responsibility continue to be popular enhancements to incentive programs.