2018 Trends: Incentive Travel, Reward, and Recognition Programs

The Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) recently released a 2018 Trends Study. This study emphasizes 10 crucial trends that will impact corporations, their goods and services in 2018. From industry enthusiasm to apprehensions and risk and security, the study finds top areas of revolution and their consequences for personnel engagement, incentive travel, and recognition. The IRF 2018 trends study distinctly reveals that professionals in the non-cash rewards industry keep undergoing a large amount of transformation.  From cultural changes to technical developments to an enhanced emphasis on risk and safety, the IRF is following some key industry modifications and examines how to predict and react to these trends.

According to the IRF, the following are the top Ten trends for incentive travel, reward and recognition programs in 2018:

  1. Developing a brand-asset culture turns out to be a corporate necessity. Experts anticipate non-cash awards will increase as organizations concentrate on brand, philosophy, and modernization that has grown to be an essential aspect of a corporation’s success. Companies with non-cash award programs must guarantee these programs are recompensing in several parts, brand-centric actions, flexibility, and revolution.
  2. Industry confidence causes budget expansion. Market and financial plans growth will maintain during 2018, though possibly at reduced speed/rate, with four continuing limitations: rate burdens, end-user apprehensions, government restrictions, and risk mitigation. As mergers and acquisitions persist, two central concerns through the change are trust and service.
  3. Regulations influence steers modifications. Corporations are being proactive about tackling regulatory compliance in their non-cash reward programs prior to the government passing these regulations and have modified their programs as needed. These adjustments include communications, design, rewards, and/or reporting.
  4. Fee and schedule pressures persist. Constant rising requirements for transient rooms and greater average daily rates, combined with intermittent demand growths and decreased average daily rates for group business, suggests that hotels are more concerned with transient business than in the past. In addition, properties persist in increasing the role of revenue management, allowing a larger influence with their capability to expand occupancy and profits for rooms and meeting space.
  5. Improved emphasis on controlling risk and confirming security. As safety and risk continues to be vital in incentives and rewards programs, tools have increased with the demand, as well as greater investments in alternate methods such as added on-site staff, and support services for Wi-Fi, and risk management service providers including iJET and SafeturePro. In addition to risk and safety, incentive programs are worried about data risk and security, such as PCI compliance.
  6. Growing capacity with progressively predicative analytics and intelligent technology. Using predicative analytics, meeting planners can collect data throughout many events signifying planners have a valued solution to uncovering how attendee data supplements current in-house corporate data and how it forecasts broader individual company patterns. For the gifts segment, planners are gradually utilizing human and computer-enabled predicative analytics to reduce the masses of possible merchandise gifts to improved, more pertinent and personalized gifting campaigns.
  7. Services and amenities dedicated to healthiness elements become essential. Items that are centered on fitness and experiences are now expected in programs, as well as hotels increasing organic and gluten-free selections. In all areas, there is a focus on decreasing of anxiety and increasing comfort, whether it is a hotel trying to generate a more “frictionless” experience, or planners using a relaxing product or comfortable seats at an event.
  8. Infrequent locations maintain to expand. Unusual destinations have become more appealing to planners, which is partially due to safety. These non-traditional meeting destinations typically have reduced safety measures, but their risk is also decreased.
  9. Products shifting to organic, local-sourced and custom-made. Those obtaining awards are looking for a more profound reason for choosing a product, which has shifted the goal for products to be sourced locally, and simple to tailor. For rewards to matter in our environment where everything is diverse, plentiful, and available, the reward needs to have an individual significance and a customized distribution accompanying it.
  10. Gift cards continue to increase. Employee reward programs are the largest category for these programs and the average spend will maintain and improve. The simplicity to obtain gift cards has undoubtedly influenced their use in non-cash awards programs, as well as the assortment of cards that are aimed at reward and recognition consumers.