Site Past President Hugo Slimbrouck is a Belgian born meetings industry professional with 37 years sales and marketing experience in international hotel groups, convention bureau management, destination services and the organization of association conferences, corporate meetings and events as well as motivational travel experiences. He served on the Site International Board of Directors for six years, and was president in 2007. In his year of presidency he instigated the re-branding of SITE to Site Global, a process that was completed in December 2008. He also serves as the representative for Site in the Joint Meetings Industry Council (JMIC). Hugo has been a popular speaker at international industry congresses and ministerial conferences in Belgium, Holland, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Ireland, Portugal, Greece, Hungary, Russia, Scotland, England, France, Croatia, Malta, Poland, Jordan, South Africa, Taiwan, Thailand, Dubai, India, Mexico, Panama, the United States and Italy. Through all of these activities he has established a national and international network of meetings industry professionals as well as a powerful database of clients and prospects worldwide. Professionalism, networking, pro-activity, ethics and “joie de vivre” have been key components in Hugo’s career development and he encourages all Site members to "get engaged."
The future of the incentive travel and motivational events industry is bright. In a recent marketing trends study, researchers discovered that 67% of B2B content marketers considered event marketing the most effective strategy. It’s great to know that the motivational events industry is right in the middle of this target group. If properly designed, incentive programmes can increase performance twice as much as cash thanks to face-to-face engagement with participants.
When I joined Site in the mid-nineties, the motivational aspect of the meetings industry appealed to me the most. Not only does it elevate face-to-face communication to a higher ground it is motivational for our clients and partners and for oneself as well. When I signed up as a new Site member I was reminded by other members that putting a signature under a document and paying a membership fee was just the tip of the iceberg. If I wanted to be successful and gain the most out of my Site membership, I had to engage, participate and share.
Twenty years later I can state that they were right. As a Site Member, I have learned a lot-primarily from my industry peers, rather than ex-cathedra education from faculty at the chapter meetings and conferences. Through my involvement, I have built a strong global network. Not only have I personally gained from my Site experiences, but my business owners have profited then, today and tomorrow. Camaraderie with the Site community is one of the strong elements of a professional growth strategy and can set you apart from the competition.
What you have learned you have to share as well. It’s a basic rule in life. When Site decided to concentrate on just one annual meeting, Lex Granaada, Roger Tondeur and yours truly decided not to sit back, but to help grow and educate the European membership with a regional event called the European Site Networking & Educational Programme (ESNEP.) This regional event still exists today as the Site EMEA Forum under a more formal structure.
ESNEP was like a laboratory to me. Professionally, I learned how to work as a fully engaged Site volunteer. I got involved in content management, association event management, peer-to-peer learning, event marketing, destination marketing, content sharing, mentoring young talent, audio-visual solutions and of course incentive travel design. These experiences all served as building blocks for the rest of my career and earned me a seat on the Site International Board of Directors, and as a speaker and faculty member at many meetings and incentives industry events around the globe.
So, for all Site members out there, get engaged! Site offers you the perfect platform to learn about the business and build your professional network… whilst having a lot of fun along the way.