Site International Foundation President Jane Schuldt Shares the Foundation's Path of Progress

fbhjbcyb.jpgGreat strides directed by C.L.E.A.R objectives at the beginning of 2013 guided the Site International Foundation in designing and delivering research products, tools and resources, as demanded by incentive travel professionals and our various global constituents. The following objectives, C = Communicate, L= Leverage, E = Educate, A= Advocate, R= Reach Out help maintain our focus on our core mission, namely, producing research strategically aligned with Site Global’s educational needs.

Building on the improved quality of research that began last year with the groundbreaking Participants’ Viewpoint, we’ve continued to expand the scope of the research, and enhanced market delivery and sponsorship opportunities. Importantly we’ve added five new research publication sponsors, convinced of the benefit of aligning themselves with the Foundation’s work. We are working to trumpet Site’s Incentive “Voice” in the MICE industry through:

1) Strategically placing communications in the media and at events

2) Extending our distribution of printed research

3) Adding our voice in collaboration with other like-minded industry associations such as CIC, IMEX, MPI, ADMEI and PCMA.

The Foundation Research Committee focuses on delivering two main types of primary research: Site Index Studies (Currently Topical) and Site Partner Studies (In collaboration with other organizations). In addition to the popular Site Index studies, in August the Foundation released a second Partner study addressing the DMC discipline. The study, supported by ADMEI, focused on the role of the DMC in the supply chain, monitoring the changing landscape of how the business of destination management is sourced and delivered. Also underway is a Partner study with the Cruise Line Industry Association (CLIA) that will explore matters of relevance and importance in the cruise industry as it relates to the incentive market. The results of this study are being integrated into Site’s learning curriculum to be introduced at the Site Global Conference 2013 in December in Orlando, Florida.

New in 2013, the Foundation also introduced and published a new White Paper series titled “Incentives Move Business.” Its purpose is to raise awareness and educate the business community and the general public to facts supporting the positive impact incentive travel and motivational events have, not just on companies, but also on the global economy. “Incentive Travel: The Smart Business Proposition,” the second paper in the series, focuses on how incentive travel and motivational events, when properly designed, can help companies achieve many corporate business objectives and provide a measurable return on investment. In October, we are releasing a third paper, “Risk Assessment/Management for Incentive Events”, emphasizing that managing risk is important to all members of the supply chain, and is a key differentiator applied by customers when selecting suppliers. Insuring proper risk assessment has been performed and appropriate risk management plans have been put in place at all levels is a new fact of life, and makes sense in today’s world.

The Foundation Research Committee has been hard at work creating a two-year plan designed to deliver an even more robust and relevant agenda of new research, White Papers and education modules in the coming years. Early next year, the Foundation will release a second Partner study, “Motivational Travel Purchasing Practices”, in conjunction with the IMEX Group. Utilizing the combined databases of the Site Index panel and IMEX Group, this study will revisit the study released early this year on how purchasing practices for incentive and motivational travel are changing.

As follow-on to the groundbreaking and compelling “The Participants’ Viewpoint” series, the Foundation will be releasing a revealing report in 2014 on the “The Executive Viewpoint”, exploring corporate purchasers’ and decision-makers’ views on incentive travel and motivational events – why they do or do not know of or use these important tools to change behavior and drive measurable business results. The other major study approved by the Trustees is also already underway focused on “Regional Economic Impact” of a single destination or region in order to measure the specific ancillary economic impact generated by the motivation events and incentive travel industry and identifying spend unique to this segment apart from what has been studied by anyone in the past. The plan is to develop a research study model that can be applied in various destinations around the world, the results of which will provide the rationale to local and national governments why it’s in their interest to support an industry that measurably adds benefits into their economies.

October is our busiest month of the year as we host the Foundation’s two biggest fund raising events – Site Nite North America and the Site Classic. Site Nite, 14 October at The Palms in Las Vegas, held in conjunction with IMEX America, has been sold out for months. We will welcome more than 1,200 attendees, including Site members and IMEX America hosted buyers. This single event raises funds for ongoing research and learning programs such as the Site International Foundation Education Grant Program, which provides donations to global Site Chapters to produce relevant regional education.

Our premiere annual fundraiser for research and educational programs, Site Classic, 27-30 October, at Newport Coast, California, is also a sold-out event. Participants at this annual event gain valuable business networking time over a two and a half day program with corporate customers and supply-chain business leaders. Sponsors of the Site Classic realize additional exposure through contributions to the Site Classic Live and Silent Auction.

Outside of these successful events, the Foundation is creating a dynamic fund-raising mechanism that will offer a year-round (24/7/365) auction solution appealing to all Site Global members and their friends, family, colleagues, customers, regardless of their home base. The “Around the World Rally” is being designed to feature popular two- city itineraries, connected by some mode of transport – to highlight the global nature of Site and maximize Site members’ opportunity for involvement and exposure to a worldwide audience. Expected to launch at the 2013 Site Conference in Orlando, watch for more information on this exciting inaugural event designed to create an on-going funding mechanism for the Regional Economic Impact Research project. Any Site member wishing to participate as a sponsor of one of the ‘Rallies’ should register their interest with Christie Pruyn. Exciting commitments from Asia and Europe are already in.

The Foundation is always exploring new avenues to expand Site’s exposure on the global MICE stage through collaboration and affiliation with other industry associations, exhibitions and media partners worldwide. We are very excited to share that we have established an important partnership with PCMA and, beginning with the December issue, editorial from Site and the Site Foundation will be featured in an exclusive, quarterly insert in Convene Magazine.

Only six years ago, the newly constituted Site International Foundation was born with a humble beginning, from a standing start, but with the mission in mind that what Site Global needed and was asking for were in fact not only possible, but also exactly the right mission for its Foundation. The gratitude due the founding trustees and the original sponsors cannot be overstated. It is thanks to them and their tireless efforts that the Foundation itself has grown in importance, relevancy and stature, and in so doing, elevates all Site members in the process and importantly, positions us to provide the necessary support to Site Global.

Today, we are working lockstep with Site Global to deliver on promises the Foundation makes to its members, and on providing tools to members needed to grow the industry, which along with such growth, generates their own. We can all revel in being part of a great and positively impactful industry.

In closing, it is because of you - Site Global members - placing rightful demands on us to do our part in supporting your mission by providing practical research, world-class networking opportunities, industry advocacy, and global recognition that we continue on the path of progress and lay the groundwork for collaboration going forward.

Jane Schuldt, CITE, CIS, President, Site International Foundation & President, World Marketing Group, Ltd.

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