You may be already involved with incentive travel because it involves the credit card airline miles you gain or the loyalty points you obtain by traveling with a particular airline. Those are just a few examples and there is a not-for-profit who ensures the industry as a whole is always moving forward.
SITE, which stands for the Society for Incentive Travel Excellence, aims to improve and grow the incentive travel industry for all businesses involved.
RewardExpert spoke with Julie Johnson, Director of Industry and Media Relations at SITE, to learn more about what the organization does, as well as its goals and achievements.
“SITE is a global community of incentive travel experts,” says Johnson. “Incentive travel is a proven business strategy that provides a measurable ROI (return on investment). Our focus lies in what we can achieve for our companies and clients, while also bringing value to our members themselves.”
To aid the organization’s allies, SITE offers tools that help companies in the travel incentive business improve their practices. There’s also benefit to being a part of the SITE community in terms of community — members involved with SITE have a professional organization to fall back on, and everyone has the opportunity to learn from one another. Finally, SITE acts as a “platform for industry advocacy,” says Johnson.
“As the global authority on incentive and motivational travel, SITE also bridges the gap between our members and business leaders who seek improved performance through these powerful experiences,” Johnson adds.
To date, SITE reaches over 90 countries with its 2,000 members. The organization has also managed to drill down to the regional level, with 29 regional and local chapters.
How SITE helps
The benefits of being a member of SITE has come through for many organizations during trying times, going back as far as 2001, as Johnson recounts.
“The World Trade Center in New York was attacked on September 11, and worldwide stagnation occurred in the incentive travel market for several months,” says Johnson.
The former president of SITE, Richard Ross, was one of those lost in the attack.
The travel clampdown after the attack put many SITE member companies in a tough place. SITE coordinated with other industry associations to lessen the impact on these companies during this tumultuous period.
“In an industry landscape that is constantly undergoing constant, seismic transformations, SITE stands out as a safe harbor. The repository of human values. The place where relationships still count,” says Johnson.
“This was present at the heart of SITE from the beginning and is still at its heart today.”
Advice from SITE
Johnson shares a travel tip for those out to explore the world.
“The digital environment provides travelers many opportunities to research destinations and purchase travel online,” says Johnson, “and many travelers are looking to explore new, emerging destinations.
If you are traveling to an unfamiliar destination, we highly recommend that you work with experienced travel professionals in the destination, or those that have visited the destination and are very familiar with its nuances.”
Johnson adds, “Read up on and be aware of the cultural aspects of a destination, such as accepted dress, language, currency, and etiquette.”