• March 5, 2024

SITE Global Conference 2024: Incentive destination trends revealed

SITE Global Conference 2024: Incentive destination trends revealed

SITE Global Conference 2024: Incentive destination trends revealed 1024 685 micebook.

Incentive planners look set to get bolder with their destination choices over the next couple of years, according to new findings from the Incentive Travel Index shared at the SITE Global Conference in Istanbul last week.

The Incentive Travel Index is joint initiative of the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) and the Foundation of the Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE Foundation) and is undertaken in partnership with Oxford Economics.

In a session led by SITE chief marketing officer, Padraic Gilligan, a panel of industry experts discussed some of the previously unshared findings from the report, which was released late last year.

The research revealed that 71% of respondents indicated an increased demand for new destinations not used before. When delving deeper into the findings, Gilligan revealed that while planners are still staying within their regions and sticking to popular destinations for incentives already booked, when asked which destinations they are considering, the responses were very different.

For example, the top 5 destinations for European buyers are currently Western Europe, emerging Europe (E.G., Slovenia, Croatia, Turkey), followed by Gulf States, South East Asia and South America.

However, the top 5 destinations being considering by European buyers are Oceania, South East Asia (Bali, Thailand, Vietnam), North East Asia (China, Macau, Hong Kong and Japan), Mexico and Central America, suggesting a return to and renewed confidence in long haul incentive trips.

Asia buyers meanwhile are currently booking South East Asia in first place, Oceania second place and North East Asia in third place, followed by emerging Europe and Western Europe. But the top five they are considering are Oceania, US, North East Asia, Hawaii and South East Asia.

US buyers however are generally remaining closer to home according to the report. The top 5 destinations being booked are the Caribbean, Western Europe, Mexico, Central America and the US, and destinations now being considered are Canada, Alaska, Cruise, Hawaii and emerging Europe.

Carvie Gilikin, president & CEO at event agency MGME (McVeigh Global Meetings and Events), who was on the panel, said that destination choice is paramount to achieving the goals of the event.

He added: “Instead of picking the destination first and then trying to make the programme fit, they are looking at the needs of the group and selecting the experience first, then finding a destination that fits.”

The panel also delved into changes in program considerations with destinations perceived as safe from crime/threat a top consideration and growing in importance, followed by cost, perceived as safe from a health perspective, presence of a good DMC and ESG. When it comes to budgets, incentive buyers are spending more on F&B, Hotel, Air, Transport and Destination Experiences, largely due to rising costs.

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