New study finds incentive delegates to be the highest spending business event segment

26th May, 2015

New research released by Business Events Sydney (BESydney) reveals that Asian incentive delegates are Sydney’s highest yielding delegate, outspending holiday visitors by an average of 6.5 times, and up to as much as 9.4 times.

Asian incentive events in New South Wales: expenditure and retail impact, follows BESydney’s 2014 leading investigation into measuring the accurate value of ‘new money’ to destinations that host conferences and is the latest in a series of research studies aimed at fostering credibility, transparency and accountability within the global business events industry.

Commissioned by BESydney and developed in collaboration with the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), the study analyses the corporate incentive market, with a focus on Asia. The report measures the expenditure of both delegates and organisers of Asian incentives in New South Wales (NSW), and includes insights into the retail impact of such events.

Speaking at the Sydney media conference at IMEX Frankfurt (20 May 2015), BESydney CEO Lyn Lewis-Smith commented, “It’s our goal to establish robust reporting across the industry to ensure our long-term credibility, accountability and sustainability. As we increasingly engage outside our industry with government, business and industry in partnerships that deliver greater returns for our clients and our communities, the imperative for quality data will become even greater.”

Launching the study in Frankfurt, UTS Business School researchers Dr Deborah Edwards and Dr Carmel Foley said tourism was emerging as a foundation of prosperity for many economies.

"It’s important that governments and communities understand the benefits that business events bring to their destinations, so they get the right support,” said Dr Edwards. "We also hope the knowledge generated by this study will inform innovative and strategic activities in business events tourism in the future.”

Ms Lewis-Smith continued, “This is the first study we’ve undertaken on the corporate incentive market from Asia and it’s an important one for us. We’ve seen 20 per cent year-on-year growth over the past decade in the value of events secured from Asia and this market now accounts for almost half of the business we secure and deliver each year. The research provides valuable insights into the overall experience sought not only by companies, but their delegates, to enable cities to further refine the delegate experience, and help companies to achieve their organisational goals."

Shopping pursuits were revealed as a key part of the delegate experience for Asian visitors. The research found that incentive travellers were likely to shop extensively because it was considered an important part of the leisure experience to shop in a location other than their home because it demonstrated affluence and achievement, and because most of their expenses were covered by the incentive trip itself. It also found that ‘quality of goods’ and ‘value for money’ rated highly for this segment, which was most likely to be drawn to Western brand names.

The key findings from the report:

  • the incentive event market is the most lucrative segment of the business events market, with international incentive delegate expenditure on average 6.5 times more than holiday visitor spend; which is A$974 compared to $151
  • international incentive event delegates to Sydney can spend up to 9.4 times more than holiday visitors spend ($1,418 compared to $151) and five times the spend of other business visitors
  • shopping experiences rate highly in incentive destination choice
  • on average, the highest expenditure across incentive event and nationality were on clothing, handbags and shoes, followed by souvenirs, jewelry and toys
  • incentive delegates are knowledgeable and savvy travelers who want more immersive experiences
  • more than two-thirds of respondents considered Sydney as either the ‘best incentive event destination’ or ‘better than most incentive event destinations’.

(Photo: BESydney CEO Lyn Lewis-Smith)

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