Destination preferences revealed in new IRF incentive travel study

i By June 28, 2022 No Comments

The Incentive Research Foundation’s Incentive Travel Destination Preferences & Their Impact on Motivationreports that group incentive travel was considered highly motivating by 91% of North American employees surveyed by the IRF. It also reveals many trends that demonstrate a return to pre-pandemic incentive travel activity.  

The 2022 study was conducted in March and April and builds on the 2021 study conducted in June 2021. This year, the IRF surveyed 405 full-time salespeople who have been eligible for an incentive trip at some point within the past three years and focused on U.S. participants. They were asked about several areas including the perceived motivational appeal of incentive travel awards, destination preferences, and the most important qualities of an incentive travel trip.

“Employees expressed very high levels of enthusiasm for incentive travel, and comfort levels are back up for many incentive travel-related activities,” said Stephanie Harris, IRF president. “Survey respondents indicated they are ready for air travel, cruising, returning to larger metropolitan areas, and mingling with large groups.”

Top destinations indicated by employees were Hawaii, the Caribbean, the western United States, Western Europe, and the southern United States. Using data from the IRF survey, Cvent, and 3D Cruise partners, the study examines the top employee destination preferences and compares them to actual bookings and quote requests.

Key insights include:

  • A Strong Preference for U.S. Based Destinations: Of the top ten destinations preferred by employees, six were U.S. based (including Hawaii and Alaska). With the exception of Western Europe, the top ten was rounded out with closer locations: Caribbean, Mexico and Canada.
  • Attendees Appreciate a Slower Pace: 87% rated ample time to relax as important. A trip between 4-6 days was considered “ideal” by half of the respondents.
  • Luxury and All-Inclusive Trips Preferred: Having 5-star luxury accommodations was nearly as important as an appealing destination. Cvent’s booking data reflects this increased booking of luxury accommodations (84%).
  • European Cruises Are Growing in Popularity: 29% of cruises booked in 2022 were European / Mediterranean routes – up from 18% in 2021.
  • Mexico Rebounding, Both in Preferences and in Bookings: Participant interest in Mexico increased by a net 22% over 2021. Cvent booking data also reports an increase in Mexico bookings.

To download the full study and white paper, visit the IRF’s Incentive Travel Destination Preferences & Their Impact on Motivation webpage