Uwin Iwin Founder and CEO David Sand recently contributed to the Business Events Africa publication where he spoke about current trends as well as the future outlook of the incentive industry. The effects of the Covid pandemic have had huge implications on many businesses across all industries, more specifically the MICE industry. Some organisations were able to adapt, evolve and grow in dynamic ways e.g Remote or Hybrid working arrangements, while others have suffered and not had the opportunity to bounce back.
He goes on to say that now more than ever, the business of engaging people in the workplace, rewarding, recognising, and inspiring employees is still very much relevant. In South Africa, while Incentive Travel almost came to a complete halt, massive efforts went into campaigning the postponement of Incentive Trips to 2022 and possibly in smaller group sizes, rather than the cancellation of these trips entirely. Other businesses have managed to shift their budget towards other Incentive reward options.
Globally within the industry, there has been a shift toward the use of Digital Incentive Reward Programmes. The trend towards using gift cards and merchandise rewards had a significant increase during the pandemic and for the foreseeable future will continue to be a convenient choice. According to the IRF (Incentive Research Foundation), 33% of Incentive Reward programmes implemented during the P12M have shifted to using Gift Cards/ Rewards cards and 24% to Merchandise Rewards.
Factors affecting the industry
Another factor that has affected the industry is the new remote working model, this has forced organisations to look at new ways in which to keep their employees who are working from home engaged. Even with all the shifts within the industry, this does not indicate that Incentive Travel is no longer relevant. Because of travel restrictions imposed by Covid, the desire to travel and build relationships through shared experiences has increased and created a huge pent-up demand for leisure trips. With the rollout of vaccine programmes underway the resumption of Incentive Travel is imminent.
Personalisation of reward options
Personalisation of reward options continues to be a factor that is taken into consideration when creating an incentive programme. Giving employees digital reward options as a short term reward and an incentive travel trip as a long-term reward for top performers provides organisations with the opportunity to implement programmes that have a more holistic approach when it comes to rewarding employees.
He closes off to say that even with companies opting for digital reward options, the Incentive industry, especially incentive travel, is still in its recovery phase and will hopefully be in its prime once again in the not too distant future.