Site Belgium Chapter President, Sophie Coumont, General Manager of the Hotel de la Source in Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium has been in the meetings and events industry for 14 years. She joined Site in 2004 and has served on the Site Belgium board since 2010. Sophie led the EMEA Forum 2013 Host Committee supervising the Education, Sponsoring, Organization, Communication, and Budget & Finance committees in close cooperation with the Chairwoman, Barbara Jamison of London & Partners.
Site: Site appreciates that being a Chapter Leader is a volunteer position and requires a significant time commitment. What/who motivated you to assume a Site Chapter Leader position?
Sophie: After being a follower for a few years, and having benefited from the many advantages of Site, I was approached by one of the past presidents to join the board and become a leader. Motivating others is not an easy task, but if you gain an understanding of what motivates team members, you will develop their potential and help them to grow. Site is all about developing human potential for members but also for board members. Creating great events, interesting educational and motivation experiences for our Site colleagues is an amazing journey and in itself a great motivational experience!
Site: When recruiting new members, what do you tell them are the greatest personal and professional benefits of being a member of Site?
Sophie: Site is first of all a network of incentive and meeting professionals. As a member of Site you are part of an international community that respects a code of ethic. Members can benefit from this great network by finding business opportunities, exchanging information and knowledge with other business professionals and develop business with people they can rely on. It’s not about quantity it’s all about quality. Site creates great experiences and events that develop the potential of each member. Members will gain knowledge, ideas and tips to help them to develop their business. From young professionals to senior managers, everyone will find advantages in membership, because it’s human size, personal and tailor-made.
Site: What are some of the educational activities and events Site Belgium has planned for 2014 to engage current and prospective members?
Sophie: The Site Belgium organizes several activities during the year divided into two main categories:
1. Meet & Lunch: the concept of the Meet & Lunch is networking, educational and get together during the day. Everyone is very busy and time is money, but we all need to eat, exchange with peers and learn. The event starts at 11:30 with a networking cocktail, followed by introduction of the news and info from Site Belgium and Site, and then the education starts. At 13:00, lunch is served and the discussion and exchange goes on. It ends at 14:00 to allow members to go back to work.
2. Site Event on location: apart from education, Site is also about creating great motivational experiences. The incentive industry constantly moves and creates new activities, venues and experiences. Site Belgium created the “Site Event on location” to invite our members to discover new experiences. In 2014, Belgian members will discover the Belgian Brabant during a half day excursion and the amazing Friesland in Holland during a 2 day Fam Trip. Site Belgium organized last year the 2013 EMEA Forum in Antwerp and will of course support the 2014 Site Global event in Rotterdam. The full activity calendar is online http://sitebelgium.wix.com/sitebelgium#!agenda
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?
Sophie: 2014 will be a year of adapting ourselves in a changing world. The global economy is at a turnaround and is slightly moving forward. We need to change our classical way of thinking “we’ve always done in like that”. It is important to follow the new trends, listen to what professional says; adapt your way of doing business. Don’t be passive, be an actor.
The evolution of the e-commerce and emergence of many website like TripAdvisor, Zoover and many others makes everything very transparent for the guest. Clients and guests are more than ever looking for truthful partners and transparency in their cooperation. Any company or agency cannot ignore the power of the e-reputation and needs to be proactive. Site plays an important role as one its basics is the code of ethics that ensures the quality and professionalism of it members. Be prepared for 2014 and make your business growth!