The Society for Incentive Travel Excellence Great Britain (SITEGB) on Thursday held their inaugural SITE Incentive Summit at the Four Seasons Hampshire Hotel. The event, which was attended by over 60 delegates, was a chance for the SITE GB Chapter to showcase what it offers the incentive travel industry in the UK, underlining its role as a cohesive hub for the sector.
The programme featured keynote speakers and panels. The opening keynote was delivered by Tracy Halliwell, director of business tourism and major events at London & Partners, where she provided the delegates with a market update for the capital. In her speech, Halliwell cited that the MICE sector is worth £177m to London alone, and that between 1963 and 2015, annual visitors to the capital has risen from 2m to nearly 19m. She went on to say that “the importance of letting the world know London is open has never been so great as competition now exists around the world.”
Soolnua managing partner Patrick Delaney also provided a talk, focusing his unquestionable energy on the importance of networking, while Spectra managing director and SITE member Paul Miller offered a detailed explanation of SITE’s global presence. Events professional Matthew Wall rounded off the speakers list by offering insight into which trends to keep an eye on in the coming months and years.
Panel topics discussed the importance of destination management companies and the role they play and whether or not FAM trips are still relevant in the modern age.
Lindsay Hyde, president, SITE GB was pleased with the association’s maiden conference. She said: “There has been lots of interesting content and it’s been a great networking exercise, too. It’s been great to give people more of an idea of what we do. The panel discussions have allowed us to bounce ideas off each other and discuss different opinions. This is a major factor in the collaboration approach that we see as being so vital to the incentive travel sector.”
Hyde went on to explain who had attended the conference. She added: “In attendance we have representatives from several angles of the industry. Around 40% are DMCs, agencies, and corporate event professionals, while the rest is made up of hoteliers, convention bureaus, suppliers, event companies and even those that specialise in teambuilding.”
When asked if the format of the conference will stay the same in 2018, Hyde responded by saying, “We may adapt the format [for 2018]. We will send out a survey to everyone who came along today asking for their feedback. We want stakeholders to know what we are here for them and will tailor our approach to suit the needs of the industry.”
The conference was rounded off with activities including a zip line and ‘Power Fan’, before delegates gathered for a BBQ in the grounds of the Four Seasons Hampshire Hotel.
A detailed summary of the conference will appear in the October issue of Conference News.