Skip to content

As Demand for Incentive Travel Increases, Suppliers Manage Staffing, Cost, Service Level Challenges

Washington, DC and New York, NY (August 4, 2022): Incentive travel is trending up for 2022 and beyond, according to nearly two-thirds of respondents in a recent survey of more than 700 incentive industry professionals. Open for Business: Incentive Expectations and Reality in the Hospitality Industry is a new study jointly produced by the Incentive Research Foundation and Questex LLC, a leading information services and event company with a strong portfolio in the travel and hospitality industries. The study examines how ready the industry is to meet this renewed demand for incentive travel. Open for Business explores how issues such as staffing shortages, service levels, and cost increases impact the planning and execution of incentive travel programs.

“Incentive travel planners are on the front-end of the demand, pushing downstream partners to deliver on needs,” said Stephanie Harris, IRF President. “Unfortunately, many downstream partners, including hotels, destination management companies, and tourism boards, continue to struggle with labor and readiness challenges. Transparency on both sides is required to help set everyone up for success.”

The study was conducted from late April through June 2022. A total of 710 respondents completed the survey, represented four stakeholder groups, incentive planners / third party agency, hoteliers, tourism board/convention & visitors bureaus, and destination management companies.

“Questex has long been committed to informing, inspiring and connecting our communities,” said Alexi Khajavi, Group President, Hospitality, Travel & Wellness at Questex LLC. “This study speaks to our mission and provides the candid perspective of each stakeholder group. Knowing these challenges and opportunities can help all partners work together to bridge the gap between the expectations of incentive travel planners and the suppliers’ ability to deliver.”

Key insights presented in Open for Business: Incentive Expectations and Reality in the Hospitality Industry include:

  • 54% of incentive travel planners cite the ability to maintain and deliver expected service levels as their primary concern
  • Every supplier group reported struggling with hiring and retaining staff and managing cost increases resulting from inflation
  • DMCs are seeing price increases due to cost of talent, transportation / fuel surcharges, and venue rental costs
  • 84% of hotel respondents report offering daily housekeeping services, and 95% of hotels reported having all food and beverage outlets available
  • Tourism boards and CVBs are in a strong position to help inform planners as they evaluate destinations, and can help fill gaps in knowledge and service in many cases
  • Planners noted that Tier 2 destinations that have a strong product, are appropriately staffed, and have funding, are well positioned to win business in the current environment

To download the full study and white paper, visit the Open for Business: Incentive Expectations and Reality in the Hospitality Industry webpage.

Open for Business: Incentive Expectations and Reality in the Hospitality Industry was supported by Questex LLC.


Andy Schwarz 
IRF Media Relations 

IRF Logo
QTX Travel Color Logo

About the IRF

The Incentive Research Foundation funds and promotes research to advance the science and enhance the awareness and appropriate application of motivation and incentives in business and industry globally. The goal is to increase the understanding, effective use, and resultant benefits of incentives to businesses that currently use incentives, as well as businesses interested in improved performance.

About Questex

Questex helps people live better and longer. Questex brings people together in the markets that help people live better: travel, hospitality and wellness; the industries that help people live longer: life science and healthcare; and the technologies that enable and fuel these new experiences. We live in the experience economy – connecting our ecosystem through live events, surrounded by data insights and digital communities. We deliver experience and real results. It happens here. 

The Questex Travel portfolio includes Travel Agent Central, Luxury Travel AdvisorMeetingSpotlight the Caribbean & Mexico Meeting & Incentive Travel Exchange and the Global Meeting & Incentive Travel Exchange.