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IRF Releases Top Incentive Trends for 2017

By Jillian Fehrenbach on Jan 20, 2017 in Employee Loyalty, Group Travel, Incentive Travel, Team Engagement

If you have plans to launch an incentive program this year, you'll want to know what trends are shaping the industry. The Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) has just released its 2017 Trends Study, which highlights the top ten trends for incentive travel, and reward and recognition programs for the coming year. It identifies key areas for change and the implications for employee engagement, incentive travel and recognition. Following is a hitlist of the trends.  

1.  An Increasing Demand for Non-Cash Rewards and Recognition: The number of U.S. businesses using non-cash rewards has risen from 26% in 1996 to 84% in 2016.

2.  Mastering the Changing and Challenging Regulatory Environment: Almost 60% of respondents in the latest IRF Pulse Study said they agree or strongly agree that government regulations are making it more difficult to design reward and recognition programs.

3.  Incentive Travel Market Growth and Challenges: Nearly 40% of U.S. businesses now use incentive travel to reward and recognize their top performing employees, salespeople and channel partners.

4.  Merchandise and Gift Card Expansion: Merchandise and gift card programs continue to expand in the United States with 60% and 70%, respectively, of all U.S. businesses using these types of rewards.

5.  Shifts in Safety, Perceptions and More Frequent Disruptions:  Zika, terrorism, hurricanes... Almost 60% of planners have experienced some form of disruption in their events, estimating that almost a quarter of their events have been affected in some way.

6.  The Emerging "Next Level" of Experience – Individualized Experiences and the Importance of Emotion: Tapping emotional engagement through a strategic choice of rewards and incentives is a powerful way for businesses to motivate their stakeholders.

7.  Technology Changes: Almost 90% of large businesses report having technology in place to support their incentive and reward programs. Technology trends include a drive toward social, wearable, predictive and view-altering technologies.

8.  The Evolving Design of Reward and Recognition Programs: The Incentive Federation measures over 12 different reasons organizations are running employee reward and recognition programs and 9 different objectives for sales programs.

9.  Industry Consolidation: The incentive and rewards industry continues to consolidate, not only on the supplier side, but also among incentive houses and meeting service providers.

10.  Globalization: Once thought of as only affecting the incentive travel side of the market, globalization now influences all types of reward and recognition programs—merchandise and gift cards included.  

To read or download a copy of the complete study, simply click here. To explore further how to structure an incentive program to help you achieve your goals, please contact us at VIKTOR.