Incentive events are an increasingly popular tool to boost team spirit, motivation and connectedness. Different markets bring different tastes and views on the development of incentive events worldwide and global perspective is always intriguing. We talked to our representatives in France, Germany, Scandinavia, USA and United Kingdom and asked about their view of changes in the past 10 years, current trends and future role of incentive events.
How have incentive events changed in the past 10 years, what (if something) is new, different?
Philippa, the DMC group, USA: Incentives are more experiential than they have ever been. Clients are looking for authentic experiences in the destinations – not the regular “touristy” itineraries.
Claudia, Carre Destinations, France: Nowadays we have a lot of opportunities to organize travels on our own, which makes our market extremely competitive. Competition is pushing us to be the best, the most creative and destinations have to develop new programs to satisfy their client’s wishes.
Carol, STR pro MICE, Germany: Companies set very high targets that employees are not able to reach, hence incentive groups are getting smaller. Furthermore, budget restrictions have resulted in corporates as well as MICE planners to work directly with suppliers in the destination. Travelling has become very affordable and accessible to everyone in the past 10 years and that is why clients are looking for highlights that aren’t bookable by the mainstream.
Gill, Moulden Marketing, UK: The clients became global and we’re multitasking all the time. Incentives changed from fine dining to experiences and activities, even though enjoying great food and beverages is still important. The groups became smaller and everything has to be extremely cost-effective – destination also depends a lot on the costs and it has to have a direct flight access. A few years ago playing golf was a must and now younger delegates prefer driving or water-based experiences.
Charlotte, The travel collection, Scandinavia: I think that agencies are constantly looking for new and interesting destinations where their clients have not been yet. Some of the traditional capitals are not as ”hot” anymore. They are also looking for better value for money and I believe that it gets more and more difficult to get good group flight tickets.
What are the current trends in incentive events industry?
Philippa, the DMC group, USA: Clients are looking for safe destinations, and ones that are easy to get to - accessibility is also the key, since time management is very important, but it’s more about the ease of travel than the distance. Budgets in USA are good, however clients do look for a value. F&B has always been important, but there seems to be a greater emphasis on great food and wine.
Claudia, Carre Destinations, France: I would not say that there are trends, since expectations are changing all the time, from the usual be more exclusive, be more creative, be more competitive, be more unique wishes. New destinations are also always interesting.
Carol, STR pro MICE, Germany: Clients are looking for authentic experiences and unique encounters in the destination. There are no trends, since incentives are all about individualization for each client, incorporating the uniqueness of the destination.
Gill, Moulden Marketing, UK: Clients are looking for auto experiences, cooking schools, wine tastings and mainstream spectator sports with top teams present.
Charlotte, The travel collection, Scandinavia: Clients are always looking for nice venues and good food together with adrenalin activities.
If you imagine incentive events industry in 2030 – how does it look like? What has changed? Do you believe that more companies will use incentive events to motivate their employees?
Philippa, the DMC group, USA: I think more and more companies will use travel incentives in the future. Travel in itself is very important to millennials, and as tech companies and other startups grow, travel incentives will be a major part of motivating the sales force of this new generation.
Claudia, Carre Destinations, France: For the past 20 years, DMCs, hotels and airlines have all been worried about the MICE segment and potential decrease of incentives, and they are still here. Sometimes agencies are also joining together – for example a communication agency and a DMC, since the communication agency also wants to offer incentives – travelling offers many opportunities. In 2030, the format of incentives will change, just like it has changed in the past 15 years, but I can not say how it will look like – I just know that incentive travel will still be here.
Carol, STR pro MICE, Germany: It is hard to predict the future, since we depend on economy, political stability, safety etc. We don’t even know the next year’s political situation and how will it influence the business.
Gill, Moulden Marketing, UK: It is hard to predict the future. Maybe companies will reward individuals rather than groups and it might not be with travelling. We need to consider childcare, when spouses join on a trip and with more and more people working remotely, people will be more used to travel. Luxury travelling will be more about activities, so that will trend for sure.
Charlotte, The travel collection, Scandinavia: I believe that companies will still use incentive events in the future in order to motivate their staff.