Site Texas Chapter President Pat McCain, CMP is the Director of Sales, South Central for Hard Rock Hotels All Inclusive Collection. Pat is a seasoned meeting professional with more than 25 years of experience in the industry; she oversees group and convention sales throughout Texas, Colorado, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and New Mexico. Prior to joining Hard Rock Hotels, Pat was a National Sales Manager at the Hilton Anatole Hotel. Pat is most known for her 20 years with the Krisam Group & Global Events Partners office in Dallas.
Site: What/who motivated you to volunteer for a Chapter Leader position?
McCain: I had been a Site member in the past but had let my membership lapse. Three years ago, when I joined Hard Rock Hotels, former Site Texas President Wayne Wallgren, a very good friend and mentor, encouraged me to renew my membership and also asked me to join the Site Texas Board. Throughout my career, I have always believed in giving back by becoming actively involved in organizations that allow me to contribute to the growth and betterment of the local industry and community. In Texas, we have a lot of different types of companies that use incentives in their business. Site Texas members believe in and are very passionate about the use of incentive travel and motivational events to drive business results.
Site: When recruiting new members, what do you tell them are the greatest personal and professional benefits of being a Site member?
McCain: I think the biggest benefit is being a member of a respected global network of like-minded people that understand the business. As a member of the Site, I have access to industry professionals all over the world that I can call on for information and support. Whether I am interested in traveling to a specific destination or have a business issue or challenge I know that I can reach out to Site members for advice and recommendations and they are always willing to help.
Site: What are some of the key opportunities or challenges impacting the incentive travel industry in your region?
McCain: 2013 was a phenomenal year for the industry and 2014 is predicted to be even better! We are definitely experiencing an increase in businesses use of incentive travel. Companies that had not held an event in a couple of years are now returning to the market. As the recent Site Index predicted, companies are booking programs into 2015 and 2016.
Budget constraints are still the biggest challenge. In our region, a large majority of events are mid-level incentive travel programs where costs become more important. Planners are always looking for creative ways to leverage their investments. That is another reason why it is so great to be a member of the Site community. You are able to network with Site members to source ideas on how to create meaningful and memorable motivational experiences while at the same time keeping budgets in check.
Site: Site Texas has gotten off to a fast start in 2014 holding several educational and networking events in January. What are some of the other activities the Chapter has planned for 2014?
McCain: The Site Texas vision is “To grow and engage our membership for success.” Therefore we are committed to making sure that all of our events include a strong educational component. The January kick-off, “Lessons on Sales Contracting and Leadership”, featured Steve Rudner, a well-known lawyer in the hospitality industry to talk about group sales contract issues. We also featured Steven Foster, as very popular speaker on developing business savvy, character and leadership skills. On March 3rd we are hosting an event featuring Doyle Girouard of the Cypress Group who will be speaking on the latest industry statistics and trends. This is the third year we have featured Doyle as a speaker and we are pleased to say that his 2013 predictions came true.
For the second year in a row, we will be hosting the Site Texas Technology Summit, 1-4 May at the new Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya. This 3-day educational event and hosted-buyer program is focused on the use of technology to help buyers and suppliers become more efficient in their jobs. The sessions are designed to be very practical and hands-on. Technology guru, Corbin Ball, will return as a keynote speaker and Master of Ceremonies and Stormi Boyd, Senior Events and Conventions Manager at Keller Williams Realty, will again facilitate a full-day session on event management. The Summit will coincide with the grand opening of the hotel and, in keeping with the Hard Rock theme, we are planning a special celebration with big name entertainment.
Site: At the Site Global Conference in December, Site Texas received the Chapter Excellence Award in Leadership. How has the chapter been so successful in attracting new members?
McCain: Because Texas is a very large state and members are spread throughout the region. We have executed a multi-city strategy to expand the reach of our events and attract new members and leaders who will continue to move the chapter forward. Our long-term goal is to continue to grow by establishing brand ambassadors across the area and identifying industry professionals who share a passion for education and networking. Through this personal, multi-city approach, the chapter is targeting key prospects one-by-one to build critical mass and grow our membership. For example, in January we held “Secrets to Rocking Incentive Travel” member-only networking events in both Houston and Dallas. Since the beginning of the year, we have already added ten new members to the Chapter.