July, 2022

The Incentive Research Foundation’s Incentive Travel Destination Preferences & Their Impact on Motivation reports that group incentive travel was considered highly motivating by 91% of North American employees surveyed the IRF. Building upon the 2021 study, Incentive Travel Destination Preferences & Their Impact on Motivation reports many trends that demonstrate a return to pre-pandemic incentive travel activity.

“Employees expressed very high levels of enthusiasm for incentive travel, and comfort levels are back up for many incentive travel related activities,” said Stephanie Harris, IRF President. “Survey respondents indicated they are ready for air travel, cruising, returning to larger metropolitan areas, and mingling with large groups.”

Top destinations indicated by employees were Hawaii, the Caribbean, Western United States, Western Europe, and Southern United States. Using data from the IRF survey, Cvent, and 3D Cruise partners, the study examines the top employee destination preferences and compares them to actual bookings and quote requests.

Incentive Travel Destination Preferences & Their Impact on Motivation looks at the aspects of how experiences are designed to determine the elements that provide maximum inspiration to earn the award. Key insights include:

A Strong Preference for U.S. Based Destinations: Of the top ten destinations preferred by employees, six were U.S. based (including Hawaii and Alaska). With the exception of Western Europe, the top ten was rounded out with closer locations: Caribbean, Mexico and Canada.

Attendees Appreciate a Slower Pace: 87% rated ample time to relax as important. A trip between 4-6 days was considered “ideal” by half the respondents.

Luxury and All-Inclusive Trips Preferred: Having 5-star luxury accommodations was nearly as important as an appealing destination. Cvent’s booking data reflects this increased booking of luxury accommodations (84%).

European Cruises Are Growing in Popularity: 29% of cruises booked in 2022 were European / Mediterranean routes - up from 18% in 2021.

Mexico Rebounding, Both in Preferences and in Bookings: Participant interest in Mexico increased by a net 22% over 2021. Cvent booking data also reports an increase in Mexico bookings.

Reference: The IRF