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SITE GB reveals industry leaders’ insights

SITE GB reveals industry leaders’ insights

By Catie Owen.

SITE GB has shared insights from its inaugural Leaders’ Retreat, which took place 4 July at Down Hall, Essex.

At the Leaders’ Retreat, 50 senior leaders from the incentive industry attended talks from a range of experts about the challenges facing the industry.

They also discussed tactics to solve each of the challenges, as outlined below:

The recruitment crisis

A panel of experts shared their perspectives and suggestions for tackling the recruitment crisis. Chris Parnham, president of SITE GB, chaired led the panel. 

Greg Mangham, CEO of A Pavement Away, introduced his company as a free recruitment agency placing previously homeless individuals and ex-convicts into hospitably roles. Mangham stated that his client’s determination to stay in a secure role made them more committed and dedicated than more typical recruits.

Chris King, MD, Lightening Travel Recruitment, explained that the industry needed to become less discriminating and change its demographic to represent our more diverse population. Additionally, Emma Castle, co-founder and director, Castle Bell, noted that employers had begun to make their terms of employment more flexible and attractive to new recruits.

Parnham, commented on the industry’s need to campaign for new talent into the industry, particularly by discussing about the positive benefits of working in events.

A workshop was also hosted by Zoe Tuffs, talent development coach, Times Ten Coaching. 

Tuff’s workshop covered reinventing the employer brand to make it appeal to new talent, focusing on the experience of employment rather than the job description. and launching a national campaign to promote the positive experiences of working in the events sector.

Changing strategies

A panel of agency and corporate event planners shared their changing strategies towards international incentives. The panel was led by Conference News editorial director, Martin Fullard, and which included Katie Pow, event director, Sage; Olivia Savage of doTerra, and Leigh Butterfield, director, 2BUK.

Pow revealed that her company had introduced cash as an alternative incentive during Covid-19 and is now considering implementing incentive travel rewards that include employees’ family members. Pow added that long-haul travel was no longer an option for Sage due to its negative effects on the environment, but that most of the panel had already begun to offset the negative effects of their events.

On international travel, Butterfield stated that GB group incentive travel was still confined to Europe for the next year, whereas Savage explained that many of her clients were introducing more business components to their incentive events.


Anthony Kelly, founder and CMO, Measured Marketing, presented a workshop focused on digital marketing. He discussed the importance of improving search engine optimisation (SEO), suggesting this should take about seven months to do successfully.

Kelly noted that many buyers were searching for event specialists and venues daily, which means that companies have opportunities to develop channels for new business.

Mergers and acquisitions

A panel of agency owners shared their experiences of acquiring or being acquired. Andy Day, merger and acquisition specialist, Capital A, hosted a session centred on shared lessons and tips on how to acquire or sell successfully.

The event featured a dinner where Manley Hopkinson, author of Compassionate Leadership, discussed his theory of leadership, which was extracted and developed from his experiences of sailing around the world in the Olympics.

SITE GB’s delegates commented on the benefits received from attending the Leaders’ Retreat. Lesley Mitchel, sales manager, Hosmark Hotels, said: “I enjoyed networking with fellow suppliers again [at the event], and meeting some buyers.”

SITE GB Summit will take place in October, followed by the SITE GB Christmas Lunch in December.