Current trends

Mandy McEvoy of Club Travel Corporate, says South Africans are now travelling closer to home, reducing flying times and packing more into shorter incentives to reduce total spend. “Croatia, Victoria Falls and Zambia are very popular now.”

Cindy Williamson, XL Turners Travel consultant, says groups and incentive travellers prefer destinations that don’t require visas, such as Mauritius, Zanzibar and Thailand, with sports events in SA increasingly popular.

‘Bleisure’ is the new trend in hospitality, says Greg Hoffmann, Birchwood Hotel & OR Tambo Conference Centre’s marketing manager, with groups wanting to combine a business stay with a vacation. “And with budgetary restrictions globally, corporates are combining events such as seminars, exhibitions and year-end functions rather than hosting separate events for each.”

Cathie Bester, World Leisure Holidays’ marketing relationship manager, says tight budgets mean short-stay packages that include unique events for companies, like private group dinners as part of the package price.

Corporates are spending less on incentives as they don’t want to be seen to be spending excessively in the current economic climate, says Ramon Geldenhuys of 360 Degrees Travel.

Gillian Hurford, manager of Superlative Incentives & Events - a TAG company, says incentive travel is on the rise in the SA market but budgets have remained static. “With clients still expecting the same ‘wow’ experiences as in previous years we recommend they reduce trip length or participant numbers.”

Requests for extraordinary destinations such as Norway, Iceland, Russia, Cuba, Vietnam and Cambodia and for regional travel destinations such as Mauritius, Swakopmund and Zanzibar, are increasing, adds Hurford. The Far East also offers good value.  “Corporates are also seeking mobile apps that enable travellers to interact with one another throughout their travels.”

Air Mauritius’s Wouter Nel says groups have been smaller due to the economic climate, but Mauritius remains hugely popular as a MICE destination.

Sarah Welton-Blake of SWB Consulting, says almost all her incentive clients are seeking a conference component to their incentive trips with motivational speakers, a CSI element and cultural experiences.

Liane Venter, Africa Stay sales and marketing manager, has seen a shift to better value options such as Zanzibar, Victoria Falls, Mauritius and Mozambique. “We encourage our clients to book all-inclusive offers along with some prepaid activities for their groups to save on costs.”

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