Pre-Covid19 lockdown, as much as 84% of businesses used non-cash incentives and rewards as a method of retaining and engaging their employees, salespeople, channel/dealer partners, and clients according to a 2016 report by the Incentive Research Foundation.
With international borders still closed for many countries around the globe and their travel, tourism, and incentive industries still under lockdown restrictions, there is understandable turbulence across global MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conference, Exhibition) industries.
What remains unwavering in the face of the global travel freeze however is the unequivocal and positive impact that travel brings to millions of travelers, business owners and sales forces around the world.
As we slowly re-enter life and the ‘new normal’ post the 2020 pandemic, luxury incentive travel will look and feel different. Let’s unpack some of the topics which will be under new travel considerations going forward.
Incentive Travel will remain a high motivator: Personal incomes have been hit hard in 2020 and disposable wealth has been drained. The airline industry will be on its knees for a while, which will make flying expensive to the everyday man in the street. This points to incentive travel remaining a high motivator with reward trips becoming even more desirable, especially if they include travel with spouses, partners or family members included.
Nature tourism and sustainability will be top of mind: After months of lockdown in our homes; people want to break free from the confinement of their four walls and they will be looking to Nature to escape for safe and secluded getaways far from neighbors, towns and cities. The virus has also turned our attention to how we treat wildlife species and ways in which businesses will be swiveling for sustainability.
Strict health protocols and precautions will be legally required for quite some time still: Health concerns have come to the fore and both global travelers and international destinations will have to take proper precautions to ensure they are deemed safe and suitable before travelers look at visiting a new destination.
Incentive trips will use more private aircraft travel and less multi-destination trips: Air travel is slowly returning and most only domestically with social distancing restrictions in place. With less choice available for incentive planners, we will see more creative use of logistics budgets and less multi-destination travel, with reward trips allowing for more time spent in one location rather than trying to cram lots of destinations of a country into a single itinerary. This will mean that single destination trips must have a wide variety of activities available on offer.
Incentive winners will be required to show proof of health: Winners of incentive travel trips will be required in the new normal of inter-continental travel to show proof of good health before they will be issued with their reward trip verification.
Incentives trips will stay closer to home and explore local opportunities: With quarantines rules varying from country to country and across continents, most reward trips will be planned for shorter, domestic travel opportunities. As a ‘world in one country’, South Africa is the perfect incentive destination to explore its diverse travel incentive opportunities in luxury and in untouched nature.
Trusted DMCs and incentive travel and tourism operators will grow stronger in their market niche: Experience, knowledge and a strong network of local connections will guarantee the professional travel and MICE planner strengthens their market foothold as business and luxury travel accounts look to the value of having a trusted advisor onboard to guide them safely through turbulent times.
Not only will experienced MICE planners grow stronger in their niche, top performing companies which continue to manage their sales performance through reward and recognition programs to maintain their hold on their leading edge of competitive advantage in the market place.
In 2018, the incentive award value in the US was $2,482 for an average salespeople; and $3,607 for top performer sales incentive trip earners within the manufacturing sector. While prices may not be predicted to shift, we will see a shift of focus towards more high value experiences now expected for the same monetary value.
Already business market planners are catering to those anticipating and seeking to travel once again, with a focus on new experiences at safe destinations.
Global markets continue to show confidence that travel will eventually resume to normal levels once again with the promise that business travel and incentive trips will be as rewarding as ever as creative and powerful incentive programmes that drive return on investment.
Looking for a unique, compelling and memorable event that attracts, engages, immerses and rewards participants? View our #GrandSafari incentive program at www.haywardsafaris.com