MICE - Best Practice Sharing Covid-19. Micebook talks to “Incentive & Luxury Travel”.

In this edition of Micebook Talks, Chetan Shah is joined by Elliott Grant, President for SITE (Society of Incentive Travel Excellence), Holly Mills, Head of Incentives for Penguins, Chris Parnham, Managing Director of Absolute Corporate Events as well as Peter Groom, Regional Vice President Europe for ALHI (Association of Luxury Hotels International)


Together, they talk about the current status of Incentive & Luxury Travel, the domestic offering and re-carving what an incentive might look like in the future.

  • The main challenge for incentive & luxury travel is the fact that group travel is not possible at the moment. Also, there is a lack of funds to indulge in incentives and luxury travel.

  • Many companies won’t hit their targets this year. This could mean less plans for incentive travel unless these companies reset their targets.

  • Once the disease is contained, will companies still think that travelling is the right thing to do - given that we are expecting to enter the bigger recession the world has ever seen?

  • The last few weeks have been very productive in terms of building relationships with global suppliers, taking the time to reflect and forward planning.

  • Big conversations are taking place with suppliers about contracting to establish where liabilities sit.

  • COVID-19 clauses offering a more flexible cancellation policy are included in most contracts for travel up until the end of 2020

  • The majority of hotels and venues have been very cooperative as they appreciate the challenges faced by incentive travel organisers.

  • Luxury hotels have historically hidden their cleaning process by doing it whilst the guests are out or sleeping. This will change so that guests can witness the sanitation in their surroundings.

  • New sanitation rules will involve a lot of single-use items (often made out of plastic).

  • 2020 will not see much incentive travel but it will witness the emergence of more creative incentives that do not require any travelling.

  • Domestic travel will come back first and it could become bigger than it has ever been. COVID-19 has made people realise that there is a lot to be enjoyed on our doorstep.

  • Families have come closer than ever before therefore luxury domestic incentives for families & friends could become more popular than long-haul corporate group travel.

  • Bleisure (i.e. the extension of a business trip into a leisure trip) is tipped to become a trend as it will allow friends and family to join and become part  of the experience.

  • Incentive travel requests for 2021 are slowly coming through but they are mostly for the latter part of the year. Requests tend to be for short and mid-haul travel.

  • Insurance companies are thriving at the moment and they are expected to generate the highest demand for incentive travel over the next few months.

  • In the future companies will be more likely to ask to take over entire venues and charter entire flights.

  • There is a need for the MICE industry to highlight things that are going well rather than focus on the doom and gloom of the past two months. Sustainability will take up a lot of the limelight going forward.

  • What incentive and luxury travel really needs to keep moving is some clear protocols from governing bodies.

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