The recovery of the incentive travel sector is “going from strength to strength”, according to IBTM World’s 2023 Incentive Travel Report, with its global market value projected to reach £174bn by 2031.
The report, written by IBTM contributor Mike Fletcher, reveals that the sector is growing at an annual rate of 12.1%, and predicts that the number of people participating in incentive travel programmes worldwide will grow by 61% in 2024, compared to 2019.
According to Fletcher, these figures reflect the power of incentive travel schemes as a valuable resource to attract, retain and motivate talent and as an essential driver of culture and reputation, particularly as the workforce becomes more disparate with hybrid working.
Benefits such as inclusivity, peer-to-peer relationships, and being able to take a partner on a trip have become more relevant to employees, according to 66% of incentive travel agencies.
Additional key findings
Despite its revival, the sector still faces significant challenges including talent shortages, inflation, rising travel and supply chain costs. Plus, tighter corporate budgets which have resulted in a reduction in the frequency of business trips and fewer employees attending face-to-face events. The report highlights the need for companies to adapt their incentive travel schemes to ensure they remain competitive.
The report also found that employees now place more emphasis on incentives which provide “valued experiences”, support corporate social responsibility (CSR), and demonstrate concern for employees. Approximately 35% of respondents place greater value on wellness activities and 44% underline the importance of CSR-focused team building. These incentives could include opportunities which enable employees to connect with local culture, and excursions which counteract loneliness, stress and burnout.