After several years of pessimism driven by the economic downturn, incentive travel professionals are finally becoming more optimistic, according to a new report from the Society of Incentive Travel Executives, or Site. Released this week, the "Site Index: Annual Survey 2012" found that 89 percent of incentive travel and motivational event users believe the overall use of motivational travel will "increase" or "substantially increase" in the next one to three years.
"What makes the optimism in this Site Index release interesting is that participants represented the pulse of 25 countries," said 2012 Site International Foundation President Stephen D. Powell, senior vice president worldwide sales, InterContinental Hotels Group. "Recent world news has done a fairly good job of painting a less than positive picture but we know that for businesses to take a giant leap forward they must motivate and reward top employees and partners in their distribution networks. Reports like the Site Index can provide interesting data to discuss within our own organizations as well as with our customers. I urge the professionals who consider themselves to be consultants to their clients to really take a look at the data that is available to them here and figure out what it means to their region of the world."
In addition to economic optimism, the Site Index annual survey explores emerging incentive travel trends. Among those highlighted in this year's report:
• There is a heightened focus on the speed and ease of communications, with 62 percent of respondents indicating smart/mobile technology is important or very important during a program.
• The method for capturing customer attention may be changing once again, as the effectiveness of areas like emails, newsletters and telephone calls all declined considerably.
• Use of technology platforms and transactions will continue to increase, as 46 percent of respondents predict the use of online booking systems for group services increasing or substantially increasing over the next six months.
"The Foundation Research Committee is committed to our mission of bringing greater power to Site members through a greater awareness of key issues for the motivational experiences and incentive travel industry," said Site International Foundation Research Committee Chair Jane Schuldt, president of World Marketing Group Ltd. "We believe that research can provide relevant data that allows professionals to validate or challenge perspectives as well as champion the need to change program design or operational procedures to meet the evolving customer needs."
For full survey results, download the complete "Site Index: Annual Survey 2012" report at www.siteglobal.com.