Skip to Content

Top 5 Incentive Travel Reward Trends for 2019

2018 is coming to a close and now is the perfect time to start planning next year’s corporate incentive trips to motivate your top performing sales teams and channel partners. And what better way to start planning than by knowing what the top incentive travel trends are for 2019.

Our inventive travel predictions are backed by the latest data collected from 500 salespeople between the ages of 21-65 years old who work in one of five industry sectors:

  1. Automotive/transportation
  2. Life sciences/medical/pharma
  3. Technology
  4. Telecommunications
  5. Retail

So what exactly is motivating to them?

1. Curated experiences

Almost two-thirds of travellers value experiences higher than material possessions and 86 percent of salespeople are motivated by individual travel designed as experience-focused.

With consumer-grade expectations filtering into business travel, travel reward participants want more unique, personal, and authentic travel experiences that connect them to a destination. For example, Millennials want to go to the trendy new restaurants that are in the neighbourhood and want to stay at more boutique-style hotels. Genuine local experiences are what visitors remember and share with their peers on social media.

2. Individual incentive travel rewards

When given a choice between an individual and group travel rewards, 90 percent of salespeople are more motivated by individual travel.1

Rather than rubbing elbows with other top performing salespeople at a corporate event, Millennials and Gen-Xers would rather spend five days or more doing what they want, when they what, and with whom they want.

If having the team together is beneficial and a crucial part of your culture, consider starting with a short group travel event and then offer options for nearby fan-out experiences for individuals and their guests.

3. Edu-travel

Travel reward participants don’t just want to see things. They want to learn something new. Offer a travel reward with an educational twist. Tie learning to professional development while exploring a new area. For example, a visit to The Cliffs of Moher, Ireland might include a discussion about the formation of the cliffs which could relate to continuing to build and reinvent oneself. Participants will come home with new memories and new inspiration.

4. Choice is everything

When salespeople achieve their goals and earn a travel reward, they want control over the destination (93 percent), timeframe (88 percent) activity (87 percent), and duration of the trip (87 percent).The ability to choose makes the experience more personal and far more memorable. Where you can, offer options for activities that might appeal to different personalities and interests such as a bike tour through Dublin, Ireland or a genealogy appointment with an expert.

5. Ditch the agenda

BI WORLDWIDE’s study shows that “unplugging” is the most popular activity for salespeople over any other choice—by 4x, in fact. Providing opportunities for pure relaxation, like yoga, spa or beach time, may be the rejuvenation they need to hit the ground running when they start working toward next year’s goal.

Final thoughts

We live in a rapidly changing society where trends quickly fade. However, right now, incentive travel that combines authentic experiences, individual travel, education, choice, and an opportunity for relaxation can conquer the hearts of your Millennial, Gen-X, and Boomer employees. And that's not our words. That’s the words of 500 sales panellists, representing five industry sectors.

Create your next incentive travel program with one or more of these trends in mind and watch your number of achievers – and their performance – start to grow.

Read more incentive travel trends for the year ahead.

Submitting your information allows us to reach out to you in the future.


[1]  2018 study by BI WORLDWIDE with 500 salespeople between the ages of 21-65 years old who work in one of five industry sectors: automotive/transportation, life sciences/medical/pharma, technology, telecommunications, and retail.