Discover the latest findings from the 2024 Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) study, revealing key insights into what motivates today’s salesforce with incentive travel. Based on a comprehensive survey of 400 recent qualifiers, this report uncovers evolving preferences and trends that can help businesses enhance their incentive programs.


New Rewards for a New Generation:

The 2024 IRF study highlights that younger employees, particularly those under 43, are significantly motivated by incentive travel. This trend suggests that older employees, having already experienced such programs, may not find them as compelling. Understanding this generational shift is crucial for designing effective incentive strategies.


Destination Preferences vs. Booking Data:

The study explores where top performers prefer to travel. In North America, Hawaii remains the top choice, followed by Alaska, Florida, and Las Vegas. Internationally, Western Europe—especially Italy, Germany, and France—leads in popularity, with South Asia, Central America, and the Middle East gaining traction. Despite these preferences, actual bookings often favor Mexico and the Caribbean, likely due to cost and logistical considerations.


What They Really Want:

Understanding the main drivers of positive experiences during incentive trips is vital. The IRF study identifies key factors:

  1. Free Time: Top earners value downtime to relax. Event planners should avoid over-scheduling and allow participants ample free time.
  2. One-of-a-Kind Experiences: Unique, exclusive experiences are highly motivating. Offering activities that attendees can’t find elsewhere adds significant value to the trip.
  3. Luxury Accommodations: The demand for luxury has increased by 7.5% compared to the previous year. Attendees prefer all-inclusive resorts and five-star hotels, emphasizing the importance of high-quality accommodations.
  4. Trip Length and Extensions: Preferences for trip duration vary: 4-6 days for North American destinations and 7 days or more for international trips. Notably, over half of the attendees extend their stays, although this trend has slightly decreased from 66% in 2023 to 57% this year.
  5. Cruise Travel: Cruise travel has rebounded post-pandemic. The study shows a 10% increase in respondents enjoying cruises, indicating a renewed interest in this travel mode.


The Wrap:

The IRF’s 2024 study emphasizes the need to adapt incentive travel programs to the evolving preferences of the workforce. Classic destinations and luxurious accommodations are still important, but younger employees increasingly seek free time, unique experiences, and trip extensions. By balancing structured activities with relaxation and offering bespoke experiences, companies can effectively motivate their top performers, boost morale, and foster a competitive spirit.

Is Your Incentive Program Inspiring Your Top Performers? Contact us today to craft bespoke incentive travel programs that go beyond the ordinary. We tailor each trip to align with your goals, budget, and the unique desires of your team, ensuring an unforgettable experience that truly motivates.

Corporate Event Management
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