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A record-breaking 640 incentive travel professionals from 42 countries came together for the Society for Incentive & Travel Excellence (SITE) Global Conference at the JW Parq & DOUGLAS Autograph Collection in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, January 24-27, 2020.
SITE’s 2020 President Jenn Glynn, CIS, CITP, Managing Partner Meeting Encore, was delighted with the success of the first SITE meeting under her leadership:
“Limitless was the theme of this year’s conference and I couldn’t be prouder of the limits we pushed with the event design. Tahira Endean, SITE’s Head of Events, had a vision to create a festival experience, which allowed for a higher level of engagement for our attendees. The energy and emotion that was felt from the main stage to the dialogue dens and through our immersive destination experiences all helped to create lasting memories.”
First time attendees to seasoned veterans of SITE were impressed by the education and networking opportunities this conference afforded:
“As a first-time attendee to the SITE Global Conference I was so impressed by the varied topics of education. From the keynote speakers to the informative breakouts, there was something for everyone. Time to collaborate with fellow chapter leaders was priceless. I also loved the focus on overall health and mental well-being. Education, experiences and most of all connections and reconnections with those in the Incentive industry was the return on the time invested,” said Mary Clare Darland, CIS, CITP, Director, Sourcing, Maritz Travel – A Maritz Global Events Company.
Legacy SITE member Joost de Meyer, CIS, CITP, Chairman & CEO, First Incentive Travel, added: “This is the best SITE conference I’ve attended in my 20 years of SITE. Everything was so well organized and there was so much energy in every educational session.”
Educational input ranged from highly personal sessions on self-care with tips for weight loss and support for depression and loss to more traditional career building sessions on Designing and Innovating Incentive Travel Programs and 7 Deadly Sins of a Proposal. During the conference attendees could avail of mental health breaks at the Restoration Lounge sponsored by InHouse Physicians and participate in morning 5k runs, yoga and SoulCycle classes. Cultural breaks included a tour of the murals of the city and a visit to the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, among other tours.
Keynotes included a talk by Joost Rigter, who became blind in his 20s. He had the entire audience don blindfolds to experience life out of their comfort zone. New York Times best-selling author Ben Nemtin, challenged everyone with the question (also the title of his book) “What Do You Want to Do Before You Die”, tying into the “Limitless” theme.
The Crystal Awards, sponsored by IMEX Group, were presented during a festive lunch at the conference. Considered the highest honor in the incentive travel industry, the awards recognize creative, practical and truly memorable incentive programs.
Technology was front and center as more than 7,000 people watched SITE’s Facebook live programming this week, as well.
“SITE Global Conference in Vancouver has been record-setting across so many metrics most notably attendance at 640 attendees, our biggest ever event by far. We also delivered 40 distinct educational sessions across four different stages, creating a truly festival feel. Following on from last year’s Bangkok Manifesto we developed the Vancouver Manifesto, moving from aspiration to action and setting out an agreed set of deliverables for 2020,” said Didier Scaillet, CIS, CITP, SITE’s Chief Excellence Officer.
Paul Mockler, Head of Meet in Ireland and Convention Bureaux of Ireland, host of the final lunch of smoked salmon and Irish lamb stew, made the big reveal: Dublin will be the host of the SITE Global Conference February 3-7, 2021.