5 Events and Incentive Travel Trends for 2018

2 January 2018

2018 is going to be an incredible year for events and incentive travel. With budgets looking buoyant, improvements in events tech, and the way that people relate to their events and incentives changing, business cases for events and incentive travel are looking more compelling by the day.

But what are the big trends for 2018? What do people want their events and incentive travel trips to look like? What do they want them to achieve? What impact are those millennials we’ve all read so much about having on the events and incentives landscape?

Contact Us About Your Events & Incentive Travel in 2018

It’s going to be a year to remember – let’s take a closer look at why.

1. It will be experiences that matter

2018 is the year that organisations fully embrace the hard to describe and the impossible to repeat in their rewards and incentives.

Imagine a camel trek followed by a night staying in the foothills of the soaring Atlas Mountains, or snorkelling with sea turtles off Mexico. Think piloting a dinghy with your group over white-water rapids, or steering a husky sled across the Norwegian wilderness before a hot toddy under the Northern Lights.

Increased personalisation will be key here too – from specially commissioned transport to the widespread adoption of personal incentive trips.

2. Tech & Social Will Get Increasingly Useful

Social tech and widespread connectivity have changed the way that events and incentives work. As millennials establish themselves as a significant presence in the workforce (1/3 workers are now millennials), their social activity on mobile is fast becoming a pivotal - and leverageable - part of incentive trips and events.

90% of millennials use social media, and 80% of social traffic is now from mobile according to Infusionsoft and Marketing Land. Real-time social conversations around hashtags, picture-sharing opportunities and live, multi-platform social walls will be a key part of both engaging both those on the trip and inspiring those back at the office.

3. Wellness Will Matter More than Ever

Wellness will be one of 2018’s biggest incentive travel trends. The global wellness market was worth an estimated $3.7 trillion in 2015 (up over 10% on 2013), with the combined wellness at work and travel markets worth over $600 billion according to the Global Wellness Institute.

The workplace has finally begun to appreciate the relationship between bottom lines and the mental and physical wellbeing of its employees, with mindfulness consultants, free gym memberships and more becoming commonplace. Incentive travel will also see a similar shift towards positive, healthy experiences in 2018.

4. The ‘Who’ and ‘How’ of Incentives & Rewards Will Be Broadened

As organisations push to dismantle damaging information silos, democratise their businesses and introduce global cultures of data and strategy sharing, they’re realising that a huge number of people outside Sales departments make valuable contributions to revenue generation – and it’s well past time those broader teams were recognised and rewarded.

Also expect to see organisations taking a more tiered incentives and rewards approach. Imagine a day-to-day points collection platform supplemented by quarterly incentive travel rewards, and your 10 highest performing channel partners being offered an incentive trip, with the top 3 staying on for longer, or being rewarded with extra experiences on the trip.

5. Incentives Will Get Closer to Home

Until recently a lot of incentive travel was focused around a few key cities in the US, Middle East and Asia. While recent years have seen some incredible emerging destinations (and the continued popularity of some of the big hitters – see our ’10 Hottest Incentive Travel Destinations for 2018’), economic and political uncertainty in the UK has seen many organisations looking closer to home for incredible incentives.

The UK has some of the world’s best cities and skiing on its doorstep, with Austria, France, Italy and Switzerland just a short flight from London. Even closer to home the UK is capable of delivering outstanding incentives – see our top 5 UK incentive destinations for ideas.

It’s a very, very exciting time for incentive travel and events. Budgets are stretching further, incentives and events are getting ever more spectacular, and results across organisations are showing the benefits.

Contact Us About Your Events & Incentive Travel in 2018

Events and incentive travel should be life-affirming, jaw-dropping and delivering measurable ROI. Let us help you make 2018 the year you deliver the exceptional.