Top Incentive Trends for 2023

A new IRF report points to the increasing importance of incentives in today's economy, the need for more creativity in programs and more.

Attendees need more downtime during incentive trips, according to the IRF's 2023 Trends Report. Photo Credit: GVS for Adobe Stock

While covid is no longer a major concern for incentive professionals, 2023 brings new issues, challenges and bright spots for the industry, according to the Incentive Research Foundation's 2023 Trends Report. The research is based on several of the IRF's recent surveys, as well as findings from the Incentive Travel Index

“As we enter 2023, incentive, recognition and reward programs will be expected to have broader reach and deeper impact,” said IRF president Stephanie Harris. “Program owners are charged with motivating a changing workforce while dealing with major disruptions, including inflation, uncertainty, ongoing supply-chain issues and limited inventory.”

Among the report's top trends for incentive programs in 2023 are:

  • Today's decentralized workforce comes with new expectations and considerations for the structure and delivery of engagement programs to inspire employee performance and loyalty.
  • The demand for incentive travel is strong for 2023, but economic and staffing issues are often forcing incentive program owners to scale back on size of trips and offerings.
  • In order to meet the needs of the changing workforce, incentive travel must be more exciting, more exclusive, more experiential, more authentic and more memorable than ever.
  • Suppliers have noted that incentive clients now expect services to be delivered at pre-Covid levels, particularly where costs are higher than they were before the pandemic.
  • Downtime is in demand: Attendees want more choices in their schedules, time between programs, and blocks of time to recharge or catch up with work.

More incentive travel trends can be found in the most recent Northstar/Cvent Incentive PULSE Survey.