Incentive Use Trending Upward, IRF Study Shows

Although the economic downturn continues to persist in many industries, it appears to have stabilized for the incentive industry, which is already seeing the start of a slow but certain recovery, according to the latest Pulse Survey from the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF).

Titled "Incentive Industry Trends 2011," The survey of incentive providers, buyers and suppliers suggests that industry professionals are feeling more optimistic about the future, compared to 2008 and 2009, and that they're predicting an increase in business in both 2011 and 2012.

Taken in September, the survey's key findings include:

• 68 percent of respondents are more optimistic and say the economy has a "more positive" impact on their ability to plan and implement incentive travel programs when compared to 2009.

• 52 percent of respondents anticipate no change in incentive travel destinations next year.

• 44 percent of respondents expect incentive travel budgets to increase next year, up from 29 percent last spring.

• 65 percent of respondents anticipate that corporate procurement departments will increase their involvement in travel program planning next year.

• A majority of respondents expect to reduce the total number of days/nights for the accommodation portion of incentive travel programs next year.

• More respondents are reporting a shift from group travel to "individual travel packages" in 2011.

Overall, 68 percent and 77 percent of Pulse Survey respondents, respectively, predict that business will be better in 2011 and 2012 than it was in 2010, although only 11 percent feel the industry is "doing enough to demonstrate the business value of incentives."

For more information about the IRF survey, including complete results, visit