Is there a future for incentive travel? Everyone in the industry is asking this question and it is fair to say that things have been looking glum these past few months. And yet, we are optimistic. Not even cautiously optimistic, but intensely, decidedly optimistic for the future of this industry. Just like we felt when we set about reforming and innovating the events industry, deploying all the technological tools at our disposal to turn this crisis into an opportunity. Yes, we believe there is going to be a future for incentive travel. For multiple reasons.
We need to travel. We want to travel. Now more than ever
While there are undeniable obstacles to the recovery of the incentive travel industry at the moment, there definitely is a demand. We are craving experiences, more than ever. We are determined to get in as many as we can and to let them count because the current crisis made it very clear to us just what we stand to lose in a world of closed borders and shelter-in-place orders. Google searches on where it is safe and possible to travel have been spiking for months. And yes, travel restrictions are still in place in many Countries – and rightly so – but wherever borders are open people are desperate to get away from the stress and anxiety of the past six months. And yes, most airlines are still unreliable to say the least, with flights being cancelled and rescheduled and sketchy refund policies, but travellers are working around that by settling for closer destinations that can be reached by train or by car. In short, the demand, at the moment, is way higher than the offer. As soon as the offer gets a few obstacles out of the way, the industry is going to hit the ground running.
We need motivation. Now more than ever.
What is the point of incentive travel? We have discussed this many times and explored all its possible uses, but in the end, there is one key factor it all boils down to: motivation. Incentive travel is the most powerful of motivational tools, even more so now that travelling seems set to become increasingly complicated and expensive. The idea of giving employees, clients, or buyers the kind of experience they would probably not buy for themselves is taking on a whole new shade of meaning. And we can all agree on the fact that, at a difficult time like this, the promise of travel has an allure that is hardly comparable to that of our recent past, when we used to take available flights and open borders for granted.
But what about safety?
Safety, of course, has to come first. And while we do believe there is going to be a future for incentive travel, we encourage everyone – and our clients in particular – to take these matters seriously. Luckily, we now have reasonably defined guidelines on how to avoid the spread of the pandemic and the whole travel industry, not to mention the hospitality industry and facilities all over the world, which can ensure safe experiences for travellers of all kinds. Italy has led the way in this respect, reopening its borders to controlled volumes of tourists from the EU and enforcing strict guidelines in matters of social distancing, PPE, hygiene, and contact tracing. This has allowed the Country to reopen without significant upswings in the virus’ spread. These remarkable results, which undoubtedly benefit all aspects of public life, also make Italy the ideal incentive destination for these troubled times. As soon as companies are able to invest in incentive travel again, Italy will be ready to welcome them with well-trained personnel, solid safety measures, and road-tested social-distancing practices.
Is there a future for incentive travel?
We firmly believe so. And we believe Italy is the right place to start if we are to build this future together.