Barbara Jamison is Head of Business Development – Europe for London and Partners, London’s Official Promotional Agency and Convention Bureau. She is a passionate about her city and, with a deep understanding of the London, UK and global business event and incentive travel offerings, her role is to position London as “the best City on Earth to organize a business/incentive event.” Barbara has served as President of the Site Great Britain Chapter since 2012.
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?
Barbara: When I first started to work in the Incentive and Motivational industry I was a novice! The DMC I worked for was very involved in Site and I quickly understood that the Site members I was introduced to were more like creative theatrical producers than the travel companies I thought they would be. Now many years later that feeling of trust has motivated me to be involved in the Site Great Britain Chapter and I was delighted to be elected to the board and ultimately be elected Chapter President.
When recruiting new members, what do you tell them are the greatest personal and professional benefits of being a member of Site?
Barbara: One of the most important things about becoming involved in Site is that it provides new members immediate recognition of their skills in this industry sector. It enables them to have a voice within their own organisation and be taken seriously as a colleague. The Site network enables a new member to grow, develop and share creative ideas and the fantastic global business connections are immediate!
What are some of the educational activities and events the Site Great Britain Chapter is doing to engage current and prospective members?
Barbara: I am delighted that we have a new and enthusiastic board who we introduced at our annual Christmas Fundraiser at the Intercontinental London and raised a record amount for our charity, the Brain Tumor Trust. Many members have signed up for our Summer 10K Fun, taking place in July, to raise money for the same charity. In June some of our chapter members attended the annual Brain Tumor Trust Amber Ball.
The chapters educational theme this year is to hear from various well-known UK industry experts on a number of Site related themes such as “Why motivational programmes work even through a financial crisis?” Mike Davies, MD BSI delivered an engaging presentation demonstrating the science behind incentives to achieve ROI. We have organised presentations in iconic London locations such as Claridges and The Café Royal.
During The Meetings Show, 8-10 July in London, David Hacket of the Grass Roots Group and Martin Lewis of Meetings & Incentive Travel Magazine will lead a panel discussion focused on future trends of our industry at the unique location of the Society of Antiquaries of London. We are looking forward to our September event at the Houses of Parliament with keynote speaker, John Greenway (ex MP), Consultant to Site Member Brook Green UK and a regular speaker at the Politicians Forum at IMEX. This event on the relevance of the incentive travel sector is kindly being sponsored by IMEX.
Our new Young Leader Board Members Naomi Hall from the Lancaster London and Daniel Ayers from the Marriott Grosvenor House recently held their event at The Roof Gardens and many Site Great Britain members met up at Site Nite in Frankfurt. Other planned fun activities are a trip to the Chic Retail Outlet at Bicester Village followed by a tour and wonderful English Afternoon Tea at Clivedon, with some surprise events to be announced. With the Site Global Conference on London’s doorstep in Rotterdam this year we are planning to engage with London and Partners to bring hosted buyers to the conference.
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?
Barbara: London is seen as an “acceptable” location to organise a business event with a motivational element included and more clients are looking at our destination in a different way. This fosters growth of a new type of incentive activity that many of our Site members can benefit from. Our economy is improving and companies are valuing their employees through travel and event incentives. The expertise within the Site community needs to be highlighted and promoted. Budget allocations now have even stricter approval procedures and the question of the Bribery Act is asked more frequently. The challenge is to convince management and procurement teams that quality programmes deliver more ROI.