Planners Choose Destinations Based on ROI, Site Study Shows

The most popular destinations for motivational events are also the ones with the highest ROI, according to the Site International Foundation, which last week released the results of a new study into destination selection.

Part of Site's ongoing "Site Index" research initiative, the "Focus on Destination Selection" study reviewed the key factors event planners use to select locations as rewards for motivational marketing programs and found that return on investment is a top concern.

"ROI/ROO considerations continue to surface in 'Site Index' studies," said Site International Foundation President Fay Beauchine, president of engagement and events for Carlson Marketing. "The primary reason for choosing a destination is financially driven, which is no surprise in this economy. But quality service is an extremely close second. Ninety-three percent of planners said they would use a destination again if it measured up on both counts. Destination executives should note that future business from a planner is almost certain if program value and quality service are evident and measurable."

Another key finding, according to Site: While many planners are staying closer to home — limiting travel time to between three and nine hours — the top three up-and-coming incentive destinations are quite far from the United States' lower 48: Africa, Hawaii and China.

"This study documented that among planners, 82 percent ranked cultural or exotic appeal as the greatest influencer in selecting a destination," said Site International Foundation Vice President and Research Committee Chair Steve O'Malley, vice president and general manager of Maxvantage. "However, the appeal of a destination is not the primary factor when choosing a location. This is evident by only 9 percent of our data panel indicating they currently use Africa. While a destination can be seen as inspiring and motivational, the local community must work together to demonstrate to potential audiences how they can be an ideal choice for extraordinary experiences while simultaneously demonstrating value to the business owners approving the destination selection. The correlation between delivering value and providing exceptional experiences is critical given the economic environment."

For more information about the Site destination selection study, including complete findings, visit