According to the Fall 2011 Incentive Industry Trends Survey conducted in September by the Incentive Research Foundation, 62 percent of the 138 incentive professionals polled said the economy is having a negative impact on program planning, a big change from the findings of the IRF's spring 2011 poll, in which only 25 percent of respondents viewed the economy as negatively affecting their programs. Among other key findings of the recent study:
• While 28 percent of survey participants expect their budgets to decline in the coming year, 45 percent anticipate no change and 27 percent foresee an increase;
• 41 percent of respondents will be reducing the number of program nights in 2012;
• 83 percent will hold incentive programs in the United States next year, 55 percent will send groups to the Caribbean, 52 percent will bring winners to Europe and 29 percent have selected Central America as the destination for their travel rewards. Fewer than 18 percent plan to hold incentive programs in Asia, South America, Africa or the Middle East.
The IRF has been conducting its biennial studies since 2008. A link to the research soon will be available at the IRF's web site (theirf.org).