More Personalization, New Destinations. Last year’s results could have been an anomaly. The latest data just in from the annual incentive travel survey by MeetingsNet and the Incentive Research Foundation, it looks like we’ve got a trend on our hands: Budgets are coming back!

“Overall this year’s survey again shows a banner year for incentive travel, with budgets expanding and programs growing,” says IRF President Melissa Van Dyke. “Planners continue to find ways to meet attendee demands for authentic, unique, personalized experiences. By targeting new destinations, expanding their use of mobile, highlighting merchandise experiences, and helping attendees give back.”Asked about their 2016 incentive budgets overall, most planners reported budgets that are stable or that have grown over 2015.

The mood is not quite as giddy as it was last year when almost 54 percent saw increases (and half those increases were more than 10 percent). For 2016, planners whose budgets are up (about 38 percent of respondents) are typically working with modest— and more sustainable—increases. “The austerity measures and cautious optimism of the post-re­cession era is finally receding from budgets,” Van Dyke says. “The pendulum is now swinging toward program re-investment, giving planners the resources they need to create incentives with a lasting impression.”

 Change in 2016 Incentive Budgets Increased significantly (more than 25%) Increased moderately (11% to 25%) Increased slightly (6% to 10%) About the same (5% to -5%) Decreased slightly (-6% to -10%) Decreased moderately (-11% to -25%) Decreased significantly (more than -25%)
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