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International Incentive Programs? Not So Fast

A majority of incentive-travel planners are facing changes in the first half of 2022, and many international programs are rebooking at home, according to a new IRF Pulse Survey.

Incentive planners had to be like Gumby this past winter: flexible! A new survey from the Incentive Research Foundation reveals that while most respondents began 2022 with incentive travel programs on the books for the first half of the year, by the second quarter those plans had shifted.

The IRF’s Pulse Survey, titled The Impact of Covid-19 on Incentive Travel in 2022, received 180 responses from corporate-incentive program owners, meeting planners, and third-party incentive providers, primarily from the U.S. (86 percent) and Canada (5 percent). The early-year snapshot shows an industry still buffeted by the pandemic, as Covid cases rose throughout the winter.  

In fact, 58 percent of the Q1 and Q2 incentive-travel programs reported changes to either their date, location, or both:
• 21 percent changed dates and location
• 35 percent changed date only
• 2 percent changed location only

And of the events that changed location, 80 percent shifted from an international destination to a domestic destination.

Incentive-travel planners also had to face change in their budgets, with increases needed to cover higher hotel rates and airfares as well as the cost of health and safety.


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