by Lisa A. Grimaldi | October 10, 2017
Incentive travel budgets will grow next year, according to the SITE Index 2018, a survey of 574 incentive buyers and sellers from 72 countries that was conducted this summer. More than half of the 201 incentive buyers queried reported their overall incentive travel budgets will grow, and they are planning to increase the number of people eligible for incentive travel programs. The research also revealed that average spend per person has increased from $3,000 to $4,000.
 
In other findings:
• Buyers reported that increasing company sales and profitability remains the most important business objective for holding incentive programs, followed by improving employee engagement. Compared with the 2017 SITE Index findings, the number of buyers who measure incentive programs by tracking ROI or ROO rose 24 percent to one-third of those polled.
 
• Respondents said their organizations are making greater investments in technology. While air transportation still comprises nearly a quarter of the budget, technology - program apps, personalized digital communications, and data-tracking and measurement tools -- is becoming an increasingly important component of program design.
 
• Although budgets have increased, buyers said they are continually looking for ways to reduce costs, with some selecting less expensive destinations and reducing amenities.
 
• Destination appeal was the top destination-selection criteria.
 
• Both buyers and sellers reported that sustainability and "being green" is having the most positive impact on incentive travel. This correlates to the finding that a majority of programs include at least one CSR activity.