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Incentive Trends For The Year Ahead.

Updated: Jan 9, 2023

According to the Incentive Research Foundation’s (IRF) Industry Outlook for 2022, overall incentive budgets are expected to increase by 34% this year. With this in mind, wouldn't it be good to find out what makes a great incentive?

The wait is over as we are sharing with you a round-up compiled by Charlotte Flach, Premium Content Editor at Conference & Incentive Travel. Here she lists this year's most important trends to keep employees engaged and motivated whilst making your next incentives a success. Thank you, Charlotte.

Focus on building company culture With a growing remote workforce, creating a sense of connectedness is an important part of any incentive program. Incentives should be designed around linking employee decisions, behaviours, and actions to an organisation’s wider pandemic recovery strategy. There should be a strong focus on post-pandemic, culture-building company goals.

Be inclusive Many incentive programs have traditionally focused on top performers and senior team members. But as companies battle to attract and hold on to talent, these need to include employees at all levels as part of a wider retention strategy. Incentive and recognition programmes should include a combination of rewards, such as travel points and merchandise. This combination helps to reach part-time employees, and those who make up the majority ‘middle-ground’ of workers.

Generate healthy competition Points reward programs are good at motivating employees across a large group or organisation. The impact of points also goes beyond the initial buzz, as employees feel gratitude when points are awarded, anticipation as they plan for and select their reward, and finally the excitement of redeeming points for the reward. It also means rewards can be given more frequently, gives individual recognition among their colleagues, and drives their engagement with the company.

Level-up personalisation On-demand and tailored shopping services such as Uber Eats, Netflix and AirBnB, means delegates now expect the same from incentives. There will be an increased desire for rewards to be delivered and presented in meaningful ways which celebrate the recipient. Programmes should take a growing number of workstyles and lifestyles into account, and data collection will be key to getting this right.

Expand reach with hybrid While companies launched virtual recognition and reward events out of necessity during the pandemic, many incentive planners are still including hybrid elements to share the experience with a bigger audience. Not only is this an opportunity for an incentive trip to reach more people, being able to see what happens is a strong motivator for other employees who didn’t get to go in-person this time.

Prioritise delegate comfort and wellbeing After several years of intermittent social isolation, many delegates are still nervous about crowds or busy areas. Participants want less crowding, more open spaces, and remote areas. Shorter flight and travel times and a central location are often preferred and also cater to individuals’ growing concerns around sustainability. To manage this, larger incentives can be held in smaller waves or through regional events. Individual incentive travel is becoming more popular, especially if the employee isn’t comfortable with a group trip, but this is likely to be adopted sparingly. Mental health and emotional wellbeing can be factored in with more flexibility and options regarding the agenda, breaks, and spacing.

Communicate frequently Increasing communications before and during an incentive will empower attendees to make decisions and manage their expectations. Information can be broken down into easily digestible bites, coupled with a master document or detailed webpage, to avoid overwhelm. This also means details can be easily and quickly updated, especially in a landscape where rules and requirements can quickly change.

Maintain high standards The labour shortage is impacting the full incentive travel experience, including the availability of flights, restaurants, and local activities. This is compounded by the demand for more space due to distancing rules or delegate preferences. Restaurant buy-outs, bringing additional staff on-location, and partnering with DMCs are all strong options for maintaining incentive-level experiences.


If you need a platform to showcase your next hybrid incentive trip we have partnered with ezy Virtual Events for many successful virtual and hybrid events that can help you generate wider engagement with a measurable outcome. For more information click here or e-mail

If you need a reliable Destination Management Company to help you organise your next incentive trip, check on the MICE Concierge page here. Whatever incentive trip you are planning next, our partners will help you dream it, design it and do it!

Lastly, one idea for team engagement and building company culture is to run a personal brand DNA class helping your team better understand their own personal brand and its value to the company contact us for more details.

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