Top 5 Incentive Research Metrics

Posted on August 9th, 2017 by Mike May

Here’s my Skimm (for Millennials) or CNN Headline News (for Boomers) of the Top 5 Incentive Research Metrics of 2017 summarized visually in an ever-so-popular infographic!  Plus, a little extra commentary.

IRF Net Optimism Score = 26

Incentive Research Foundation invented a new, simplified metric to track the economic outlook for the incentives industry.  This one-number metric uses the same logic as the popular NPS (Net Promoter Score). The “NOS” (Net Optimism Score) is the % of respondents providing a positive outlook for the incentive industry minus % with a negative outlook.

The 26 NOS score indicates a positive, or optimistic, outlook – and should give all U.S. companies the courage to continue investing in their most valuable asset — people!

Read more in the IRF 2017 Outlook Study.

Avg Incentive Travel Budget = $3,755 pp

Metric #2 is the most misleading. The budget average is pushed lower by short 2-3 night trips. In my experience, most Fortune 1000 clients are investing $5,000 per person & up on incentive club trips for 4-5 nights.  As further proof, the IRF reports that 40% of companies spend more than $4,000 pp.

Read more in the IRF 2017 Outlook Study under “Key Findings for Incentive Travel.”

More Budget Needed

Metric #3 is the most actionable. As 2018 budgets are prepared, you can march into the CFO’s office and slam this research on the desk and yell “mo’ money!  I need mo’ money!” The Amex 2017 Global Meetings and Events Forecast predicts group hotel rates in North America will increase 3.7% in 2017, after a 4.2% increase in 2016 (see page 15), but penny-pinching CFOs have kept budgets holding steady at approximately 1% increase (see page 12). An obvious disconnect that meeting planners feel every event! The IRF reported the same situation – “that costs are increasing more than budgets—placing all stakeholders in a difficult position.”

84% Use Non-Cash Rewards

This 4th metric shows an astounding increase in U.S. companies using non-cash rewards across the last 20 years – from 26% in 1996 to 84% in 2016. It demonstrates that small and medium businesses on Main Street have followed the lead of Wall Street to invest in people via rewards and recognition programs.

Three Generations

Multiple research studies, including the 2017 IRF Trends Study, advise that meeting and incentive designs must personalize the experiences to address the varied preferences of three distinct generations: Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, and Millennials.

Mike May

President | Expertise is channel marketing, discovery and solution design for new clients, and matching perfect destination/venue to your audience.

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