SITE Minnesota Chapter President, Anne-Marie Rogers is Director of Meetings & Incentives for Direct Travel (formerly CTS). She has been a SITE member for over 15 years and has held various roles on the board of the SITE Minnesota Chapter for the past 8 years. Anne-Marie and her husband, Britt are the proud "parents" of two foreign exchange students Rafael Loureire from Brazil and Thomas Hartman from Germany.
is hosting their annual Education Day & Boat Cruise on Wednesday, 6 August. To register for this popular event go to www.siteminnesota.org.
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 Chapter Leader position?
Anne-Marie: When you are part of an organization such as SITE, in order to get the most out of the experience, I believe you need to be involved. Several years ago the Minnesota Chapter was languishing. Due to the significant efforts and commitment from SITE Minnesota leaders Mary Macgregor, Joanie Phillips and Kim Smith, the Chapter has flourished and grown over the past three years. These leaders have been my inspiration and role models and were the primary reason I chose to serve in a Chapter Leader position.
SITE: When recruiting new members, what do you tell them are the greatest personal and professional benefits of being a member of SITE?
Anne-Marie: One of the greatest benefits is the opportunity to network and share experiences with other industry professionals and have direct access to industry leaders across the globe. SITE provides excellent education and research to help you stay on top of industry trends and expand your personal and professional development. When I first became a member, every year I had to justify the investment. My management now understands and appreciates the value my membership in SITE provides to the organization.
SITE: How has SITE Minnesota been so successful in achieving an equal ratio of both buyers and suppliers at chapter events?
Anne-Marie: The SITE Minnesota board strives to offer excellent programming and interesting venues for our events, such as the upcoming Education Day & Boat Cruise on 6 August. We recognize that members are very busy and their time is limited so we try to ensure that our events provide valuable and relevant education and are designed as experiences that motivate and inspire members. Because Minnesota is a hub for incentive travel companies, we are fortunate to have a strong buyer and supplier base. In order to ensure that we achieve strong representation from all industry disciplines at our events we encourage suppliers to host buyers.
SITE: What are some of the key opportunities/issues/challenges that are impacting the incentive travel industry in your region?
Anne-Marie: The good news is that business is definitely up! Since so much of the purchasing and program planning is now being handled digitally, clients are expecting instantaneous response which is requiring buyers and suppliers to become much more nimble. In some cases budgets are flat or down and, with procurement influencing more of the purchasing process, costs are being closely scrutinized and we are having to adjust our pricing models. We are also experiencing some proposal requests where ultimately clients choose to go direct. This is causing us to become much more judicious about responding to some RFP’s.