Site South America Chapter President, Alejandro Verzoub is President of AV Business and Communication, a full service incentive and marketing company based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Alejandro has been a member of Site since 2000, served on the Site International Board of Directors (IBOD) from 2009-2013 and was President of the IBOD in 2012. A recognized expert in incentive travel, management and marketing, Alejandro is a popular lecturer at worldwide industry events and columnist in global industry publications.
Site: When recruiting new members, what do you tell them are the greatest personal and professional benefits of being a member of Site?
Alejandro: After becoming very involved with Site I always explain to new members that everything that I am going to tell them is based on my experience with Site. That means that many of my perspectives about membership benefits are based on how I leveraged my membership. I think that is a good reference for my colleagues in Latin America to understand how to get the most value from their membership:
• To succeed in this business, you need to cover your space, representing your region and your specialty. That is why you need to join an association like Site. More importantly you need to bring your body and soul to Site events. It is not a virtual experience that you can still manage through the email.
• A great benefit to professional and business development is to participate at a chapter level and on the international level through a committee or task force. That will help you to network, get known and learn from the colleagues that can mentor you.
• As a member of Site I have learned the ABC’s and the specifics of incentive travel that I put into practice in my profession. The seminars, classes, webinars, white papers, and the exchange of information about our industry is enormous and available for everybody who joins. The only challenge is to invest the time and dedication to take advantage of what you can learn from of all this content.
Site: What are some of the educational activities and events Site South America has planned for 2014 to engage current and prospective members?
Alejandro: We are participating in the Site Educational Week in April by organizing a seminar at the Faculty of Tourism of El Salvador University. The topic will be “working in the motivational events and incentive travel industry.. I want to be like you!” The goal is to educate and inspire young people to enter the profession.
We have already defined a calendar of activities and chapter meetings that will cover different countries like Argentina, Chile, Peru, plus participation at some of the major industry trade shows like IMEX Frankfurt, IMEX America and EIBTM.
Site: What are some of the key opportunities/issues/challenges that are positively or negatively impacting the incentive travel and motivational events industry in your region?
Alejandro: Specific to Argentina there was an important currency devaluation two months ago and this has impacted business. Some of the usual clients of long haul trips are reducing their budgets and this will probably increase opportunities for regional destinations. At the same time many companies who already launched programs last year are still committed to fulfill the long haul destinations that were previously announced. On the other side, inbound business is increasing, as Argentinian pricing in US dollars is less expensive now.
The Brazil World Football Championship in June is a very popular event but has not resulted in driving concrete businesses for many reasons: high prices and limited flight connectivity between the South American Continent and Brasil.
There are some specific countries – Columbia, Peru and Chile for example - that are preparing themselves to get a better slice of the MICE incoming segment and that is a good opportunity to increase membership for Site.