Maximizing destination value the focus of new IRF report

i By October 12, 2023 No Comments

The Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) has released a new report that explores how incentive buyers partner with suppliers to harness the motivational power of the destination in order to create lasting impact among attendees.

Maximizing the Value of Your Incentive Destination shares the insights of a group of corporate incentive program owners and third-party incentive house executives from the United States and United Kingdom, who met in person this September at Le Chateau Frontenac (shown above) in Quebec City, Canada.

The group, which was brought together by the IRF in conjunction with Destination Canada, participated in roundtable discussions on the how to position and develop programming around a destination for impact, and how resources like Destination Management Organizations, Hoteliers, DMCs and others can be used to maximum effect.

“Authentic experiences that give a true sense of history and place create lasting memories for incentive travel participants,” said Stephanie Harris, president, IRF. “In order to get to the truly unique elements of a destination, incentive travel planners need to work with DMOs, who are often underutilized by the incentive community, along with DMCs, and Hoteliers who have the knowledge, connections, and passion to make planning more efficient and the attendee experience richer.”

Insights shared by incentive travel buyers in Maximizing the Value of Your Incentive Destination include:

  • Culture is memorable, so attendees’ experiences on incentive trips stay with them long after they return home. These authentic experiences create buzz and motivate performance across the company.
  • When surveying program participants, focus questions on “what do you want to do” rather than “where do you want to go” in order to develop destination and programming priorities.
  • Unique destinations and authentic experiences appeal to well-travelled, well-compensated participants who are looking for something unique and are excited by “money can’t buy” experiences.
  • Pacing of the program is important to showcase the destination. Offer free time, add in smaller experiences, and incorporate relaxing activities to give participants time to recharge and absorb the full experience.
  • When considering DMOs, CVBs, and DMCs, buyers noted that they preferred the educational content provided during a group presentation over one-on-one meetings, which often feel too sales focused.
  • Roundtable participants noted that CVBs / DMOs continue to be under-utilized, but deeper engagement and education would be valuable and well-received by the program owners and third parties.
  • DMCs help connect planners to local culture and authentic experiences unique to the destination that they might not be able to find on their own.
  • There was a feeling among the group that DMCs and CVBs / DMOs could be working more closely together across all destinations. Where it works well, the program owners note significant benefit exists that could help planners maximize budgets, experience design, and resources.

To view or download a copy of the full report, visit Maximizing the Value of Your Incentive Destination webpage.