Wait a minute… 2017? That’s right. If you’re planning an incentive travel program, it would be a good idea to firm up your 2017 plans now.
10 years ago, most incentive travel programs booked about 18 months in advance. The summer was the booking season. Then the program would be announced on January 1 and run all year, in preparation for winners in the early spring.
The recession changed all that. Increasingly organizations were unable to commit to programs that far in advance. Hotel rooms sat empty. Shorter incentive programs and last minute bookings were the norm. Budgets remained very tight in this buyers’ market.
As we have emerged from the recession, however, the travel market has exploded. We have gone from the lowest occupancy rate and lowest prices to the highest occupancy and highest prices ever. It is very much a sellers’ market.
Many organizations have not kept up with the change in the market and find themselves searching for rooms in the most desirable destinations when it is simply too late.
Here’s what we recommend, in the current marketplace:
- Book early. 18 months or more is recommended, to have the best rates and availability.
- Be flexible. It may be necessary to be flexible about the destination or dates. We’ll be on the hunt for the very best options for you.
- Be strategic about budget. Hotel prices have surged. An accurate proposal will help to ensure that your guests have an unforgettable experience, and you are on target with your budget.
- Be aware about the air. Ticket prices are high. Airlines now charge premium fees to seat your winner next to their guest. Secure group air blocks as soon as possible to keep your budget under control.
Whether the destination is Vancouver or the U.S. Virgin Islands, there are some amazing options to keep program participants focused on your goals. It just takes advance planning!