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Incentive/Recognition Industry Starts to Stabilize

St. Louis – Sept. 14, 2011 – After more than four years of turbulence in the incentive and recognition industry, there are now indicators of a trend toward stability in both merchandise and travel programs. So says a new report by the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF).

“What we are seeing is the new ‘normal,’” said IRF President Melissa Van Dyke. “The general buying outlook for merchandise and travel program planners has moved from negative or flat, to slightly positive. There’s an underlying current of normalization – even suggesting growing optimism.”

The reason behind the uptick in confidence is a downturn in the correlation between incentive programs and outside drivers. According to the IRF pulse study, the influence of factors such as financial forecasts, competitors’ reactions and sensitivity to program extravagance has declined. Even the economy, what many consider the dominant force affecting every business decision, is lessening its grip on incentive travel planning, with half of respondents saying they feel no pressure to change destination. More than half the respondents claim that the economy has either no impact or a positive impact on the implementation of merchandise programs. An optimistic three-quarters of those queried expect no change to their incentive budgets, with a few even predicting a slight increase.

In all, a near 80 percent of planners are looking forward to a positive 2012.

Looking forward, corporate social responsibility and integration with sales management tools are on the horizon. One in four respondents indicated they now use a CSR component in their incentive programs and one in five indicated they have integrated their program with other Sales Management Tools.

IRF Spring 2011 Research Brief can be read in its entirety at http://theirf.org/6079044.html.

About the IRF

The Incentive Research Foundation (www.TheIRF.org) 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 and others interested in improved performance.

CONTACTS: Sue Voyles
734.667.2005 sue (at) logos-communications.com
Melissa Van Dyke
314.473.5601
m.vandyke (at) theirf.org

About the IRF

The Incentive Research Foundation (www.TheIRF.org) 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 and others interested in improved performance.

Incentive Research Foundation
100 Chesterfield Business Parkway
Suite 200
St. Louis, MO 63005 USA

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