Editor's Blog

23/05/2018
Is this a demotivating time for the motivation business?

Out here in meeting and events land, things can get very cyclical; everything changes, everything stays the same. We look back long term and we see the industry endure – with varying different levels of success – the consequences of economic downturns, recessions, the impact of austerity, scrutiny on fat-cat spending and squeezes on employee investment.

For those long in the tooth enough, or brave enough, an economic tragedy is merely a sign that an uplift is on the way. But 2018 feels different. 2017 was a tough year for everyone, but it saw many in the industry stabilise and grow, leading to more and more enthusiasm for 2018 and for the growth to continue. But economic figures don’t back that up, and it looks like we’ll all be wading through treacle – albeit, slightly lighter treacle – for a bit longer yet.

Jenner Carter, head of marketing at Lime Venue Portfolio, says that team building, training and incentives is a market where the impact of this cyclical economic outlook can be looked as almost a micro-climate.

"This is a market sector that is historically cyclical in its behaviour; just as we can’t believe the world can get any better, a recession or economic lapse hits and it seems that the switch is turned off", she says. "Far from incentivising staff, businesses are laying them off, motivation becomes a job and a pay check and not a wonderful Christmas party or the promise of an ‘enhancing’ trip for the team.

"Sure, there are always outliers, different sectors keeping the market going, but all in all a bad economy spells bad news for those in the team building industry."

However, after having their endurance well and truly tested, small green shoots can be seen with the return of the training market. This is a sign that the economy has gone from ‘cut’ to ‘invest’ and businesses start with staff. Teams are now under pressure to grow and perform in a tough market and they need the support of training and development.

"At this point those in the incentive market get very excited because the next stage is reward and this is where those guys come good," says Carter. "Reward means motivating those people to perform, teams to grow together and usually comes in tandem with business, industry and finally economic growth. We’ve seen it in the past and we’ll see it again in the future.

"But 2018 has a strange feel to it and the post/pre-recession feeling seems to be getting longer. We’re still in the cycle where training has come back with a vengeance and we’re seeing some good performance in the team building market. But with the economy stuttering, it will be interesting to see if there is still growth in the incentive market or have we just seen it? In short, if this is cyclical, then is the wheel getting bigger or smaller?

“For us at Lime Venue Portfolio, we’re surrounded by smart incentive companies, many of whom are reporting some great market performance and are riding on the crest of a wave. They, like others in the meetings and events industry, are also doing incredibly well in justifying what they do to the wider business community and are moving from a luxury to a commodity. Businesses are understanding that if incentives are used, even in the bad times, the effects are still the same and often better. Incentivised staff drive businesses forward regardless of the economy.

“It’s for this reason that we suspect that there is continued growth for the incentive and team building world ahead; that the wave may still have a way to go, and even, just maybe, that the bubble burst may not be as a big and dreadful as we’ve all had to endure before.”



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