Photo. Amrit Ocean Resort

The Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) has released a study on the incentive market in Europe and Canada. The report, The State of International Incentives, focuses on the priorities and challenges faced by European and Canadian incentive planners, as well as their perspectives on the US as an incentive destination. 

In April, the IRF in conjunction with The Palm Beaches, gathered a group of corporate incentive program owners and third-party incentive house executives from Europe and Canada who met in person at The Breakers Palm Beach, Florida. The group participated in roundtable discussions and shared their insights on the primary influencers and drivers of incentive destination decisions from the standpoint of European and Canadian buyers.

European and Canadian buyers are seeking destinations that offer unique luxury experiences,” said Stephanie Harris, IRF President. “They also have a desire to work alongside hotels, CVBs, DMCs, and vendors who can help them navigate regional business practices and adapt to European or Canadian attendee preferences.”

Photo: The Palm Beaches

Insights shared by European and Canadian incentive travel buyers in The State of International Incentives reveal several key considerations. Long-haul incentives involve significant time and cost limitations as well as sustainability concerns related to extensive flights. For both budget and experimental reasons, buyers are also seeking new North American destinations beyond the usual hotspots like New York, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas, with Palm Beach emerging as a surprising and exceptional choice. However, pricing in the United States poses challenges, as buyers struggle with budgets due to the prevalence of “++” proposals that add taxes and service fees separately.

Some budget challenges can be mitigated with tax rebates, as seen in places like Canada, Dublin, and Abu Dhabi. Despite the general perception among European buyers that the US is an expensive destination, many US locations offer valuable experiences and significant motivational impact. Lastly, the tipping culture in the US can be off-putting and confusing for European travellers.

To learn more about IRF, visit

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