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Asian incentive delegates to be the highest spenders

  • Published by Ozgur Tore

asian shoppersBusiness Events Sydney (BESydney) released a new research which 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. 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.

Launching the study at IMEX 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.”

BESydney CEO Lyn Lewis-Smith said, “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.

“These results, in tandem with on-the-ground insights gathered from our in-market teams, will allow us to better understand the Asian incentive traveller and ensure Sydney is best placed to meet this market’s growing and changing needs well into the future.

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’.

BESydney will continue to survey and explore the motivations, needs and satisfaction of incentive visitors to Sydney, across a broader cross-section of source countries, to develop a more rounded and robust data set and ensure Sydney continues to deliver outstanding programs that reward, motivate and inspire better than anywhere else in the world.

To date, Sydney has welcomed corporate incentive events worth over $35 million to NSW in 2015.

There are a number of reports that highlight growth, not just from Asia, but in incentive travel globally. This segment currently makes up about 25 per cent of the business travel industry revenue and has been on the rise for the past two decades.

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