The Power of Incentive Programs Will Outlast CoronavirusMarch 5, 2020
For the past six weeks, the worldwide travel industry has been getting hammered by fears of the coronavirus. Notice that I did not say the worldwide travel industry has been getting hammered by the spread of the coronavirus.
That’s because across North America, Mexico, and the Caribbean, there have been no more than a few dozen cases of coronavirus, and most of them are clustered in a few cities where abundant precautions are now being taken. Unless something unexpected happens, it seems that coronavirus issues on our side of the planet are not going to be anything like the problems happening in other parts of the world.
Unfortunately, a lot of conferences and incentives in North America, Mexico, and the Caribbean have been postponed over the past six weeks, for dates as far out as mid-summer. While I understand the abundance of caution being taken for a situation the world rarely sees, I also feel very badly for the qualifiers of incentive-travel programs who are not going to have the wonderful experiences they worked so hard to earn. They might get a cash award instead, or they might get a trip to a place that’s closer to home—perhaps a driving-distance destination to keep them off an airplane. But as a reward that these winners work all year to achieve, those replacements are pretty small consolation.
I really hope that people pay attention to the facts that come from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about the spread of coronavirus in North America, Mexico, and the Caribbean. I also hope that companies running incentive trips as well as individual vacationers will keep their travel plans unchanged unless they hear of a wider outbreak in our part of the world than what we have seen so far. Given that the typical seasonal flu is much more widespread every single year than coronavirus has been in our part of the world, I think the odds are good that facts and logic will win out, and that companies will keep holding their meetings and incentives.
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