Incentive travel trends of 2024 

In a world filled with uncertainty, the incentive travel industry is an industry that is susceptible to the challenges of the global environment, natural, political, business and more. In this blog, we share five key trends that are shaping the incentive travel world for 2024. Including interesting insights from the Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE) and the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) Incentive Travel Index report. We’ll shed light on how businesses are shaping their incentive programmes for the future. 

1. Travelling Shorter Distances 

Due to the current challenges of escalating costs and a heightened global consciousness surrounding sustainability, a prominent trend is reshaping incentive travel programs, and that is a preference for shorter-distance journeys. SITE and IRF’s report highlight how organisations are strategically opting for destinations that are not only captivating but also environmentally responsible. This conscientious shift aims to reduce the carbon footprint associated with travel. 

This change is not merely altruistic; it’s also a sensible response to the financial considerations that accompany incentive travel. According to the same report, hotels are anticipated to constitute the highest cost within travel programs, reaching up to 25%. This is closely followed by airfare, accounting for 22% of the overall expenses. Choosing closer destinations not only contributes to sustainable efforts but also offers a practical solution to cost-reduction, as it minimizes expenditures related to accommodation and air travel. 

Sustainable travel

2. Vital Role of Activities  

Incentive travel has never been solely about reaching a destination; it’s about the collective journey and the meaningful experiences woven into it. According to the Incentive Travel Index 60% of respondents believe in the importance of group cultural experiences as well as 58% emphasize the importance of relationship-building activities. Group dining experiences also came up high at 57%.  

Team activities create a shared experience outside the confines of the workplace, offering a unique opportunity for team members to interact in a more relaxed and informal setting. Incorporating team building activities such as cooking classes, guided tours or sports competitions can play a strategic role in engaging employees as well as create deeper connections. Whilst this is not a changing trend, it turns against the often-muted suggestion that individual travel programmes are a suitable alternative. 


team activity

3. Health and Safety Considerations  

Safety considerations, whilst always prevalent, are seemingly more front of mind for organisers of incentive travel programmes, with a noticeable uptick in their importance. Buyers are placing a greater emphasis on ensuring the security of their participants. In the report you can see a substantial 72% of respondents deem safety from crime and threats as a critical factor in destination selection. In tandem, an equally significant 58% emphasize the importance of destinations being deemed safe from a health perspective.  

To address these concerns, organisations can collaborate with Destination Management Companies (DMCs) to obtain reliable and up-to-date information on crime safety and health security in potential destinations. This collaborative effort ensures that the chosen location not only aligns with the safety expectations of participants but also strikes a delicate balance between cost-effectiveness and the delivery of a compelling and secure incentive travel experience. There are also many websites online that keep up-to-date records of different country’s safety, such as the Global Travel Risk Map.   


Stop sign

4. Evolving Purpose 

There’s been a significant shift in the balance between hard power and the increasing prominence of soft power benefits. While traditional hard power incentives, such as top seller rewards, continue to be fundamental, there’s a considerable rise in the importance of soft power elements. The report states that 56% of buyers are witnessing this trend firsthand, recognising the increasing significance of soft power benefits like a focus on company culture, employee engagement, and relationship-building within incentive programmes. 

This proves that the incentive experience is no longer solely about financial rewards but is becoming a multifaceted approach. Moreover, the report also reveals that 68% of executives acknowledge incentive travel as a key component of future workforce strategy. This acknowledgment indicates that incentive programmes play an important role in not only motivating employees but shaping a company’s culture and implementing its values onto the team. For more information on the reward side of Incentive travel read our previous blog The power of Incentive Travel : The Ultimate Reward.



5. Strategic Significance for Businesses

Incentive travel is not just a perk; it is a strategic tool for businesses to achieve broader organisational goals. The research confirms that it is important to align incentive programs with the overall business strategy. The organisational strategy, businesses can drive employee engagement, boost productivity, and cultivate a positive workplace culture that extends far beyond the duration of the trip. Integrating incentive travel can be a powerful tool to drive engagement, enhance productivity, and foster a positive workplace environment.  

The significance of this strategic alignment is confirmed by the fact that a substantial 71% of respondents affirm that incentive travel is gaining strategic importance within their organisations. Additionally, 53% of senior leaders also recognise incentive travel as a must-have, acknowledging its crucial role in shaping and achieving long-term business objectives. 

Strategic planning

The trends that we have highlighted show the impact of the external environment of the industry but also the shift in the perception of incentive travel as more than just a ‘jolly’. However in challenging times it is up to us as business and incentive professionals to ensure that the perception does not change. It is all too easy to cut budgets for incentive programmess, but in times of challenge this is when employees will value them most and when they will have the greatest power.  

Businesses that embrace will soon see the transformative power of incentive travel, bringing motivation, engagement, and inspiration to the workforce. 

If you would like help with planning your next incentive trip, contact the Black Book team today.  


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We’d love to hear from you.

Like what you see? Get in touch today and let our team help your business achieve greatness with the power of events.