CIT must “wow” attendees with unusual experiences - study

There is increasing demand for CIT that offer unique experiences, and not just merely for recreation.
There is increasing demand for CIT that offer unique experiences, and not just merely for recreation.

Corporate Incentive Travel (CIT) can no longer be merely about "visiting" a destination, but must also include "WOW" experiences that are tailored for personal and professional growth.

This was one of seven key research findings about CIT shared at the Professional Convention Management Association's (PCMA) 2018 Annual Conference in Bangkok on November 9.

The Melbourne Convention Bureau partnered with PCMA Education Foundation to commission a research project to help APAC region meeting planners understand what is driving the expanding CIT market.

CIT currently represents one-quarter of the global travel industry, and continues to grow steadily. With APAC business events already valued at more than US$200 billion, the study aimed to find new ways that meeting planners could maximise CIT and develop new revenue models.

Research participants included high-performing sales staff and executives, incentive travel planners, meeting planners, event strategists and other sector experts. They came from a wide range of countries including Australia, China, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.

Apart from developing customised itineraries for incentive travel, the study also found that less-known incentive travel locations were increasingly favoured over first-tier destinations, owing to growing appetites for unique and unusual experiences.

Other trends identified by the study include an increasing need for additional research and support in creating unique delegate itineraries; the opportunity for further collaboration between planners; destination bureaus and associated services to meet the needs of the market; the increasing demand of justifying budgets and providing more or less for the same budgets; and the impact of social media on the expectations of travellers and corporate clients.

Karen Bolinger, Melbourne Convention Bureau CEO, said, "The CIT segment is proving to be a 'quiet phenomenon' as it makes up over 25% of the global business travel industry and, in Australia alone, is growing at 20% year on year. It was obvious that this rapidly growing market would generate incredible insight and new business opportunities for incentive and meeting planners in Asia Pacific."

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