Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE) Foundation has altered its approach to meet the demands of its members and the industry in an ever-changing global marketplace. While research continues to be an important component to build the business case for incentive travel, research is now just one of many types of content the Foundation produces, aligned with its updated mission: to create compelling content to inform business professionals of the bold results incentive travel produces, and to provide industry insights to further careers of current incentive professionals.
Three annual fundraising and business networking events – SITE Classic, SITE Nite Europe and SITE Nite North America – provide a majority of the Foundation’s funding. In September, SITE Classic brought an exclusive group of 250 incentive travel leaders and decision makers to Los Cabos, Mexico for valuable business networking and education. SITE Nite Europe, held in May in Frankfurt, gathered IMEX Hosted Buyers, SITE members and industry colleagues to bridge distances and forge connections with peers around the world. SITE Nite North America, one of the most popular events of IMEX America week, sold out with more than 1200 people in attendance at the Brooklyn Bowl in Las Vegas. And,for a third year, the Foundation hosted Auction 2.0, an online auction, where the public was invited to bid on more than 70 unique travel experiences.
“On behalf of the Foundation Trustees, I would like to thank all of our sponsors and guests for their generous support of our fundraising initiatives. Through this year’s events, along with the silent and live auctions and raffles, the Foundation raised over $500,000 to enable continued investment to advance our mission, respond quickly to shifts in the marketplace and translate new intelligence into strategies that meet the needs of our customers and members,” said Rhea Stagner, CIS, SITE Foundation president and division vice-president, sourcing and supplier relations, Maritz Travel – a Maritz Global Events Company.
Since July of 2016, the Foundation has amped up investment to provide a regular cadence of valued incentive content. This year the Foundation unveiled Motivate – a dynamic online intelligence hub that serves as a repository of content for the incentive travel industry, centralizing all resources in a single, online location. Motivate features a comprehensive array of timely, relevant thought leadership content produced by the Foundation, as well as content created in collaboration with other organizations, sponsors and influencers.
During the SITE + MPI Global Forum in January in Rome, John Iannini, CIS, CTC, vice-president meetings and events North America, Melia Hotels International, will accept the gavel as SITE Foundation president 2018. “I am honored to be serving as SITE Foundation President working with our Board of Trustees to carry-out our mission. For next year, the Foundation has committed to invest nearly $400,000 for new curriculum development (intermediate level certification), content creation and member and chapter grants. We continue to achieve our vision –to ignite passion for incentive travel through knowledge sharing – by enhancing the knowledge and professional growth of our members and providing proof of the connection between incentive travel and business results.