Incentive Travel Participants Moved by Destination, Study Shows

In order to motivate participants, incentive travel planners must focus first and foremost on their program’s destination, according to a new study of 13 international destinations by Martiz Travel, the results of which were released last week.

The study — a survey of 1,000 U.S. employees who were eligible to earn incentive travel rewards in the last three years — found that 70 percent of previous incentive travel earners want “new and interesting destinations,” and that 76 percent want to experience “destinations and activities considered unattainable on their own.”

“Well-regarded destinations with broad appeal, such as New Zealand, Australia and Europe, provide insights about what incentive travel participants truly want out of a destination,” says Jim Ruszala, senior marketing director at Maritz Travel. “Choosing a destination that falls outside of participants’ preferences, perceptions and appeal creates a substantial disadvantage in effectively tapping the full potential value of incentive travel strategies.”

Participants prefer luxurious trips and “sun and sand” destinations, according to the study, which also examined the impact of parenting status and gender on participant preferences. Key findings:

• Sixty-five percent of parents prefer to take their family on trips.
• More men (58 percent) than women (52 percent) prefer to take their family on trips.
• Thirty-nine percent of parents prefer shorter, more moderate trips.
• Participants without children find distant locales, such as Australia and New Zealand, more appealing.
• Both women (73 percent) and men (68 percent) prefer to explore new destinations.
• Women indicate a minimal preference for more adventurous destinations, such as Africa, Russia and Belize.

Concludes Ruszala: “Destination selection can truly make or break an incentive travel program. It is vital for organizations to balance its investment with what incentive travel participants want from a trip experience.”

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