Incentive Newsline: Incentive Firms Gain Ground

More incentive travel planners use incentive companies today than in 2003, according to a survey of 245 U.S. executives who plan or sponsor incentives. The study was conducted by the Center for Concept Development based in Princeton, N.J., for the Naples, Fla.-based Incentive Federation, a consortium of industry associations.
    Updating similar research on incentive travel purchasing habits from 2003, the study found that this year, 25 percent of respondents who plan sales incentives said they used incentive companies, compared to 14 percent in 2003.
    For dealer incentives, the number jumped from 18 percent in 2003 to 31 percent in 2005, and for nonsales programs, use of incentive firms rose from 7 to 14 percent. Among other findings:
    " Of those who plan dealer incentives, 21 percent purchased their travel direct from hotels and airlines; in 2003, 16 percent purchased direct.
    " Fewer respondents who plan sales (27 percent) and nonsales (14 percent) incentives made direct purchases in 2005, compared to the 2003 respondents (31 and 22 percent, respectively).
    " Compared to 2003, this year fewer planners turned to corporate travel agencies, retail travel agencies and advertising/sales promotion agencies for services.
    In addition, nearly one quarter (24 percent) of respondents has run an online incentive program.