IRF Reports Incentive Trips Postponed, Not Cancelled

by Jillian Fehrenbach on April 23, 2020 in Articles

According to a new IRF Report, the majority of 2020 incentive trips are being postponed, rather than cancelled. Their recent survey gauges our industry’s pulse on the impact that COVID-19 is having on this year’s incentive travel award programs. More than 250 incentive providers participated in the survey during the first two weeks of April.

Although the ongoing coronavirus epidemic has had a big impact on the events industry, encouragingly, results of the IRF’s report indicate that organizations still value their travel incentives programs and are setting aside the budgets for them.

Key findings of COVID-19’s Impact on the Incentive Travel Industry include:

  • The majority (61.5%) chose to postpone incentive trips to Q3 or Q4 of 2020.
  • Budgets remain intact for 70.25% of postponed incentive travel rewards.
  • The 30% reducing their budgets are scaling back offsite events and activities, entertainment, and number of program nights.
  • Among cancelled trips, 75% will recognize winners with award substitutions, including merchandise and individual travel.
  • Majority (64%) are sticking with their current rules about qualification criteria and timing.

Stephanie Harris, IRF President, has said, “During this time of tremendous uncertainty and extraordinary work circumstances, individuals need to feel valued and recognized for their contributions more than ever, whether through incentive travel or via other recognition programs.” We couldn’t agree more.

The Incentive Research Foundation is a private, not-for-profit foundation that funds pragmatic research studies and develops products serving all segments of the global incentive industry. You can download the full report here.

Source: Andy Schwarz,