Incentive Magazine points out the five most important trends that are impacting incentive travel programs. Below are the key snippets from the article and Creative Group’s take on each.


1. Experiential Travel
Hearing the roar of a lion during a South African safari… an afternoon spent immersed in the Maori culture in New Zealand… a car rally along the Monaco Grand Prix route… these are one-of-a-kind experiences unique to the destination. By incorporating the exoticness of the location, the group is in, unforgettable experiences are created. When a group experiences the out-of-the-ordinary together, be that a meal, unique activity, or tour, the camaraderie — not to mention the memories, created — will be priceless.

Even if your budget doesn’t allow for long-haul travel, you can still create “experiences” for your participants. The six I’s can help you do this. Read about them in our free white paper – Creating the Ultimate Experience. Or check out our blog Awesome Local Experiences for domestic travel ideas.


2. Wellness Travel

Wellness travel and retreats — experiences that leave travelers healthier when they check out than when they checked in — are increasingly popular with incentive groups.

Wellness travel is far more than a passing trend. It is a $489 billion global market, according to the most recent research from the Global Wellness Institute. These global wellness tourism numbers will be updated in October, when released at the Global Wellness Summit, and GWI predicts this number will grow to $679 billion by 2017. That represents an approximate annual 10 percent growth since 2012.

Don’t forget that wellness should really be looked at more holistically; as well-being. You can also use merchandise to enhance wellness programs. See our blog for more information – Five Merchandise Trends.


3. Bespoke Travel 
Who would have ever thought it would cost $50 to check a second bag, $11 for a meal, $10 for extra legroom? Feeling chilly? A pillow and blanket costs $7. Beyond these lucrative new charges, airlines have cut expenses by abandoning some smaller airports, making it even harder to reach certain destinations. Then there are labyrinthine security lines, interrupted service, and delays, to say nothing of overcrowded planes.

Incentive planners are finding just the opposite is true with charter companies, which set a schedule, itinerary, and even choose an aircraft type based on the needs of the group. The planner also selects departure and arrival points with the capability of landing at thousands of less-congested airports inaccessible to commercial planes.

Charter transportation just adds to the prestige of an incentive travel program. Read more about exclusive experiences we’ve executed for our clients in the case study – The Italian Job.


4. All-Inclusive Properties
The days of unimpressive buffets and bottom-shelf liquor being served at all-inclusive properties are over. More than a few all-inclusives now rival the luxury four- and five-star properties.

All-inclusives simplify meetings and incentives from a strategic and budgetary standpoint as they include accommodations, meals, drinks, transfers, taxes, gratuities, entertainment, and the use, setup, and breakdown of meeting rooms. The company knows exactly what the program will cost going in. It’s also reassuring to know your attendees can get a snack or a drink when they want one without digging into their pockets.

From a sourcing standpoint we are sourcing more high-end all-inclusive properties because our clients love the value. But due to the popularity, availability can sometimes be a challenge. The longer the lead-time, the better. 


5. Event Technology
Technology continues to be at the forefront of incentive event trends because social technology has changed the way we communicate.

Mobile apps are now expected at events. They keep participants engaged during the trip by identifying and recognizing top performers while also educating participants with event details and scheduling updates.

We’ve seen a large number of our clients implementing mobile apps for incentive travel programs. Not only can the same app be used again for future events, but it’s a great social gathering place to upload and share photos from the trip and send reminder notifications of departing excursions or dining events. Read more about our mobile EventAPP™. 


See the full article which originally appeared in the May/June 2016 issue of Incentive, by clicking here.


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