Incentives weather the economic storm
2 Nov 2018 - by Chana Boucher
There are signs of things picking up for incentives with more companies returning to use travel as a tool to motivate staff.
“Incentive travel is definitely growing in the SA market. Companies are realising that consumers are motivated more and more by experiences, and travel offers countless varied experiences to suit every kind of person,” says Ross Volk, md of MSC Cruises South Africa.
While Mandy Lerena, Virgin Atlantic commercial manager South Africa, agrees that there has been growth she feels that the pace has been a bit slower in SA than abroad. She says that in the last few years, there has “certainly” been an increase in incentive travel, but adds: “This trend is true in our international markets and we can slowly see the demand increasing in SA.”
A motivational tool
Teresa Richardson, md of The Travel Corporation, says sales-driven companies use incentives to drive the right behaviour to increase productivity or sales. “We know that travel is high up on the wish list of the average South African and an incentive trip in exchange for targets being achieved has always been a successful driver.”
But what is it about travel that makes it so effective as a motivator? For Dalene Oroni, groups manager at Development Promotions, travel works effectively as an incentive because people generally can’t afford to travel in their personal capacity. “Everyone wants to travel, so they will work hard to achieve their targets in order to do so,” she says.
Samuel Herman, team leader at FCM Events, says while incentive travel is booming, he’s found that budgets are not up in the South African market as a result of the poor exchange rate. He adds that in the current economic climate, money incentives tend to go toward paying off debts. “Travel, on the other hand, still offers exciting experiences and memories,” says Samuel.
Martine Sanderson, group sales manager for World Leisure Holidays, says while there is constant growth in incentive travel, there is definitely a push to be more cost-effective. “Due to the negative currency fluctuations, we are seeing very last-minute sporadic booking patterns and a trend to drive more cost-effective destinations.”
David Sand, ceo of Uwin Iwin Incentives, argues that incentive travel is “definitely booming, judging from the number of tender processes we are taking part in”. But he says budgets aren’t up and because of currency fluctuations, clients frequently have to adapt. “This sometimes means cutting a day or some excursions.”
He says although travel is a highly sought-after experience for people, luxury travel is still out of reach of some employees. “This makes an incentive trip so much more aspirational. If you look at the overall expense burden on companies, it has proven its value as a stand-out reward. South Africans are travel crazy and that is why it is so successful in this market.”