Incentive Travel –
the 'I' in MICE

By Didier Scaillet

Incentive Travel – the 'I' in MICE - is the fastest growing segment of the MICE industry and SITE is the only global association focused exclusively on Incentive Travel Excellence. We are all about the business case for incentives, the ROI of motivational travel.  As more and more companies worldwide embrace incentive travel as a business tool to improve performance, SITE is experiencing rapid growth.

With over 2200 members in 84 countries, this year is shaping up to be the best year of membership growth in our 45-year history! We currently have 28 chapters in every major region of the world and plan to open more chapters, specifically in Asia, in the next year or so. SITE members represent a wide range of industry disciplines including Corporate Planners, DMCs, Incentive Agencies, Hoteliers, Airlines, Cruise Lines, DMOs and CVBs, Academia and other organizations that provide services to the meetings and events industry.

The SITE Executive Leadership team, International Board of Directors and Foundation Board of Trustees, comprised of incentive travel industry leaders representing 12 different countries, are committed to engaging members, chapter leaders, sponsors and partners to create a strong sense of community built around the 2020 Vision developed by the boards over the past couple of years.

The strategy is being refined to focus on four key audiences - members, the industry, business and society at large – and articulate the value that incentive travel brings to all of these different audiences.

The real value of being a member of SITE is being part of a global community of dedicated incentive travel professionals. For our members, we provide education, professional certification, research and advocacy and business connections.

This year we launched Certified Incentive Travel Professional (CITP) a mid-level certification aimed at incentive travel professionals with at least five years of full-time experience. With CITP, SITE is providing much needed formal certification for incentive travel professionals between the entry-level Certified Incentive Specialist (CIS) program and the senior-level Certified Incentive Travel Executive (CITE) designation, providing the industry with a lifelong learning path in the incentive marketplace.

The SITE Foundation, a not-for-profit organization, under the direction of a Board of Trustees, benefits the industry by providing vital industry research, trend analysis, content and educational programming for incentive travel professionals worldwide.

For the business world, we’re demonstrating the business case for incentives by creating clear, compelling messaging around why incentive travel makes sense in organizations. Once the exclusive purview of sales and marketing, Incentive Travel has expanded beyond a reward for sales performance and is now being used to recruit, retain and engage all employees.

The final audience is society at large. An Incentive Travel experience is a diplomatic action. It’s people from one country or people from many countries, convening in one place and opening themselves to the culture, the society, the legacy, and the heritage of that particular place.

As incentive-travel professionals, we have an additional duty to underline the transformational potential of a travel experience. When qualifiers travel to another country for an incentive travel experience, we’re not just giving them something that has value in terms of enhancing their performance; we’re bringing them face-to-face with a different culture — and that has huge transformative value.


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