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June 24, 2014

Site: The Value of Incentive Programs for Businesses

At the recent World Meetings Forum in Mexico’s Riviera Maya, Site President Paul Miller gave a presentation on determining the best incentive program to improve business, sharing some significant stats on the value of incentives to the global workforce. 

"As the global economy improves, the use of incentive travel is on the increase.” Miller told International Meetings Review after the session. “Research released earlier this year by the Site International Foundation revealed that optimism about the use of incentive travel is at a four-year high and is predicted to continue to grow through 2016.  

“This is great news for the industry,” he continued, “but it does create a dilemma for planners.”  Planners are increasingly required to plan much further in advance, and must deal with the increased pressures of rising prices for hotel spaces and F&B costs, which makes managing incentive budgets difficult.  

Incentives as Motivation

Miller began his presentation by asking the international crowd one multi-layered question: “What is your motivation? What motivates you to get up in the morning and do what you do and be who you are?”  

Many people are motivated by two goals that are frequently confused for one another: Rewards and recognition. The two are very different, Miller stated, especially when it comes to incentive travel. People want to feel that they have earned their incentive rather than winning it (“It’s not a lottery ticket,” Miller noted), and want to feel that they have joined an elite group—the best of the best. The sense of achievement and bragging rights last longer than any material good, he added. 

A Wirthlin worldwide survey found that when cash is the incentive, 28 percent of recipients tend to spend it on bills. Material prizes, meanwhile, often become just more clutter.  

But incentive travel programs increase individual performances by 22 percent, and team performances by 44 percent, Miller said. 

The Site Annual Analysis and Forecast for the Motivational Events Industry found that optimism about the overall use of incentive travel experiences is at a four-year high, and that almost half of respondents say its use will increase or substantially increase in the next six months. A full 69 percent of respondents are similarly optimistic about the next 6 to 12 months, and the optimism carries over to expectations for the next one to three years, with 87 percent believing it will increase or substantially increase.

Incentive Drivers

Miller noted four key incentive drivers for work performance: acquiring, bonding, retaining and learning. All of these can apply to incentive travel, he said. 

Acquire: A full 61 percent of participants felt that competing in a motivational travel program that offers multiple levels of earning opportunities was more motivating. Sixty-seven percent of survey participants who did not earn a spot on a travel program said that they would  work harder in the following year to earn the trip. 

Bond:  Seventy-seven of participants surveyed said that earning the travel award increased their feeling of being part of the company. Fifty-three percent of participants noted the emotional impact of a group travel experience.
Retain: This driver applies more for executives, 95 percent of whom are concerned about retaining key employees. (And they should be, Miller noted, as 47 percent of top performers are actively looking for other employment.)

Learn: Fifty-seven percent of participants agreed that feedback is important in motivating them to participate in a program, and that involvement in a program motivates them to create solutions to achieve desired results. Seventy percent of participants believe that freedom in destination choice and activity on a program motivates their behavior.

Human performance can never be under-estimated, Miller summarized. “All of us in this room probably have no idea what we can really achieve by reaching our full potential—and most of us never will. Push the boundaries and always evolve,” he advised

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About the Author: Jena Tesse Fox

Jena Tesse Fox





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