Keeping the bigger picture in SITE: CN meets SITE GB president Lindsay Hyde

SITE GB president Lindsay Hyde is working to streamline the incentive travel industry association’s UK strategy, with the aim of increasing membership and developing a Young Leaders programme. She tells CN what stands SITE GB apart.

By day, Lindsay Hyde is assistant director of sales at the Four Seasons UK Collection, but in tandem with this she is the recently appointed president of the Society for Incentive Travel Excellence for Great Britain (SITE GB). In this role, Hyde is tasked with showing off the very best of Britain to incentive travel bookers in the US market, home country of the international association’s HQ.

British-born Hyde spends a lot of time in the US and says that this has given her a strong idea of what our Trans-Atlantic cousins expect when they visit the heart of the former Empire.

In a crowded industry associations market, how are you trying to expand your influence and amplify the SITE GB message?

We are the only association that specialises in incentive travel, and we host educational events for our members. There is a lot that needs to be discussed at the moment such as the effects of Brexit within our industry, how we work with DMCs and, of course, security awareness while planning incentives and events.

Being incentive led we also have the advantage of having 29 chapters worldwide. Our members have guaranteed access to all members across the globe. This naturally opens them up to international business opportunities and connections.

SITE also has a strong Young Leaders programme. Headed by Oliver Palmer, SITE GB will be re-launching its young leaders programme in 2017.

How many members do you have, what are the conditions of membership, and is there a growth target?

SITE GB has 70 members. The target is 90 before the end of 2017, and 110 for 2018. Annual membership is £445, while a developing professional with less than two years’ experience can join for £200. An actively studying student can join for £50.

What is SITE GB doing this year?

In 2017 we have three main points of focus, including increased membership and have already hosted a couple of campaigns to drive this.

We have tried to ensure that our association is not London centric. Earlier this year we held an event at Clevedon House, where we invited non-members to come and have breakfast with some of our board to find out more about what SITE GB has to offer.

We also took the opportunity to find out what they would like to see from an association such as SITE GB, and that helped shape our 2018 objectives.

There is also a big focus to re-launch our Young Leaders programme. As mentioned, Oliver Palmer from the London Edition is helping us drive this forward. He has created a young leaders committee and will be working on exclusive education events for potential future leaders.

Lastly, we will be hosting our first annual incentive summit, which we hope will become an annual event. It will take place at the Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire on 7 September 2017.

The day will include a range of education sessions and panel discussions. There are some great speakers lined up, including Tracy Halliwell of London & Partners, Matthew Wall of Blog Walls World, MW Consults, and Paul Miller of Spectra DMC.

Is SITE GB more inclined to plough its own furrow or will it be co-operating with other industry associations, such as MPI UK Chapter and PCMA?

In a crowded industry of associations we all understand that we are more powerful if we work together. While we each have our own USPs, you do see more associations coming together these days. SITE and MPI have actually joined forces for our annual Global Forum which will take place in 12-14 January 2018 in Rome: the SITE + MPI Global Forum.

Does SITE GB follow the US mother association’s model? If not, what are the GB specifics of the approach?

We are trying to take on ideas and concepts that we know are successful within the US and bring them to our GB chapter.

How much has the American incentives market to the UK (and Europe) been affected by the recent spate of terrorist attacks?

There will always be a dip after a major event, be it terrorism, elections, or something one-off like Brexit. The good thing about this industry is that it always bounces back quickly, within a week. Destinations work very hard together to ensure that memorable and safe programmes can still operate. Unfortunately, world events will always be there and can happen anywhere, but we just have to keep going. Am I seeing a slow down? No, and nor are my colleagues.

Post-recession, has the market now fully come back, and how have attitudes towards it changed?

The incentive market has fully recovered but will always see a slow down in the immediate aftermath of a global event, things bounces back quickly.

I think companies know how important it is to have incentives planned in for their leadership teams. With most industries bursting at the seams, talented people are hard to come by, so companies are keen to ensure they have the best packages and incentives for their employees and this is why incentives will always play a big part.

Companies strive to find experiences that money cannot buy or something that has never been done before to keep their teams engaged and on course for success.

I think people have learned that even in an economic downturn you need your staff more than ever to be engaged by having a ‘wow’ incentive programme to work to will keep their teams pushing the boundaries to reach success.

How do you relax out of working hours? Do you have any special interests or hobbies?

I love to travel and one of the things I love the most about that is planning. I decide where I want to go and plan everything I want to do. I look at all the brochures and visit all the websites. It’s probably a bit sad because that’s my actual job!

I am also a big ‘foodie’ and love going out for dinner and exploring new restaurants and cuisine.

Lastly, I am the biggest shopaholic that you will ever meet!

What the US loves about the UK

1. British accent

2. The Queen

3. Prince William

4. The history

5. The way of life

6. Quaint villages

7. The food

8. Thatched-roof cottages

9. Original Mini

10. Red telephone boxes

11. James Bond

12. Sherlock Holmes

13. Humour

14. Simon Cowell

15. Downton Abbey

16. British music

17. Classical literature

18. The countryside

Martin Fullard

Author

Martin Fullard

Martin Fullard: journalist, presenter, producer. Martin is the Deputy Editor at Conference News and Conference & Meetings World magazines. He leads the digital channels on Mash Media’s Conference Division as well as heading up Mash TV. He is formerly a web editor at a national newspaper in the Middle East and motoring journalist.

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