Background and Survey Purpose

Beginning in August 2008 it was decided that an appropriate topic for the 2008 Pulse Survey would be an incentive industry trends outlook for 2009 and with the continued economic conditions, also an appropriate topic for the trends outlook for 2010.

Given that the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) is charged with advancing the science of incentives, it surveyed industry professionals to obtain their opinions about the more salient trends affecting the industry during 2010.

To this end, the IRF asked these professionals questions on trends with regard to incentive travel programs, merchandise non-cash programs, and budget changes forecast for 2010.

In addition to the current topic on industry trends, the IRF tracks core issues of continuing interest to the industry:

  • The extent to which company financial forecasts influence incentive programs;
  • The effect of competitor reactions on company incentive programs; and
  • Sensitivity to others’ perceptions of company incentive programs.

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Research Methods

Invitations to participate in this online survey were sent to incentive providers, suppliers to the industry and corporate incentive travel buyers.

The 89 survey participants can be categorized as follows…

  • Incentive travel provider (53.9%)
  • Corporate incentive travel buyer (32.6%)
  • Supplier, e.g., hotelier (10.1%)
  • Other (3.4%)
  • …and represents, after undeliverable emails and out of office adjustments are made, a response rate of 16.7%

Data collection was conducted March 29th through April 27th, 2010.


Highlights: Core Issues

Findings indicate that the trends have stabilized and are on an upward trend for each of the core issues since July 2009. However, the trends remain lower than reported in 2008.

The trend with respect to the perceptions of program extravagance remains at an elevated level when compared to the initial data from Sept. ‘08.