One of SITE President Philip Eidsvold’s strategic objectives for 2019 is to launch SITE upon the road to digital transformation and, as off last week, following a period of meticulous preparation, the journey has formally begun!
As a member of SITE, what’s in it for me, you might ask? Firstly, a more seamless member experience when it comes to SITE matters - membership renewal, event registration, community access and so on; secondly, easy, intuitive and on-demand information and inspiration to enhance your work as an incentive travel professional; thirdly, an integrated digital experience that brings everything into one place.
The Digital Transformation Task Force, under the direction of SITE President-Elect, Jenn Glynn (who previously headed up the CITP project) met for the first time in Paris thanks to the generous support of Meenaz Lilani of Accor Hotels. Our meeting was hosted at the rather dishy Pullman, Bercy, one of the upscale marques within Accor’s panoply of brands but we also got to see and experience Molitor Hotel, M Gallery - another Accor brand – and the Pullman, Eiffel Tower with its unreal views of the iconic structure.
Pullman hotels are, apparently, “where the new nomads find inspiration and make connections” and that pretty much summed up our experience – a dozen road warriors living and working as far apart as Manchester, Singapore, Dublin, Minneapolis, Brussels, Delhi, Toronto, Monte Carlo connecting in Paris around a common commitment to bring SITE right into the digital age. We were joined by 3 great people from DRPG, the global agency that we recently appointed following a competitive RFP process to help us with our digital transformation project.
Over 2 intense days we deep dived into our core task, quickly agreeing that digital transformation is not merely about building a new website for SITE, but rather an evaluation and eventual future proofing of the ways that SITE lives and moves and communicates with our 4 core audiences – our members, the industry, the business world and society at large.
One of our key deliverables will be, of course, a new fully integrated web platform but work on that will only start once we have defined our project KPIs, scoped out fully what visitors to SITEGlobal want (via persona development) and designed the overall visitor journey. So we’re just at the beginning of a journey that will take us 18 – 24 months to complete.
While in Paris we were also hosted for dinner at Hotel Plaza Athenee, one of the city’s foremost “incentive” properties which has recently undergone a stunning renovation. Guest rooms there are truly sumptuous with some affording magnificent views of the Eiffel Tower. We dined at Le Relais Plaza and enjoyed a magnificent repast served with all the pomp, ceremony and style you can only experience in a grand hotel in Paris. All our transfers in Paris and to and from our airports and stations were generously sponsored by our great friends at Lafayette Travel, one of Paris’s longest established DMCs.
This Digital Transformation project is one of the most important projects at the heart of our association. When SITE was founded almost 50 years ago digital highways existed only in Sci-Fi novels and movies. As we look to the next half century, we need to embrace the undoubted advantages of these highways while confirming that SITE will always be about real people, in real places in real time.
Watch this space for updates on our digital transformation project.