Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE) chapters and individual members from around the world were celebrated at the association’s annual global conference, held April 20-23 in Dublin, Ireland.
The winners of this year’s SITE Chapter and Individual Excellence Awards are:
CHAPTER OF THE YEAR | Winner – SITE TURKEY
The SITE Chapter of the Year is the highest honor a chapter can receive. It is awarded to a chapter that exemplifies the values and mission of SITE, demonstrates value to members, and establishes a sound leadership structure.
Just as SITE Turkey was starting to rebuild after previous economic challenges, the pandemic hit. SITE Turkey responded with an even deeper focus on its members and the industry. Members were supported virtually through gatherings that included breakouts with board members for intimate chats and encouragement. Industry advocacy has also always been a priority for SITE Turkey. The Chapter joined with other industry groups to petition the government to extend tax relief and short-term working allowances to industry colleagues. SITE Turkey also stands out as a shining example of giving back to the community. To ensure future generations can continue providing Turkey’s well-known traditional, warm hospitality, chapter members volunteer to tutor students in the English language and have supported 215 students to date.
KEVIN FORDE SPIRIT AWARD | Winner – CATHERINE PASCAUD, SITE France
The Kevin Forde Spirit Award is given each year to a SITE member who generously gives their time and energy to fellow incentive travel professionals and to volunteer roles in the industry.
Catherine Pascaud joined SITE in the 1990s and served as SITE France’s chapter president at that time. In 2021, when the chapter reformed, she took on the president’s role once again. She worked tirelessly with the SITE France board to create a strong line-up of virtual events for members. She also played a vital role in helping SITE’s International Board of Directors hold their first joint board meeting once the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic had passed. She willing gives her time and energy to her fellow incentive travel professionals, and is a true champion of volunteer leadership.
EXCELLENCE IN EDUCATION | Winner – SITE CANADA
This award goes to a chapter that delivers a strong industry education component in its events and communications, aligned with the SITE Education Curriculum and/or SITE Foundation research.
SITE Canada offered 13 virtual educational events during the award qualification period, and engaged 42 different speakers. Topics included incentive strategies, industry trends, and sustainable practices. Learning formats included dialogue dens and small group discussions. SITE Canada deployed surveys after each session to gauge member satisfaction with the content. Their largest event was attended by 200 attendees, with 25 percent attending from outside their chapter area.
MEMBER OF THE YEAR | Winner – MARINA PARRA-Flechsig, SITE GERMANY
The SITE Member of the Year Award is presented to a volunteer who has left an indelible mark on SITE throughout the year.
As president of SITE Germany during one of the most difficult periods the industry has ever faced, Marina Parra-Flechsig kept the chapter’s membership steady and fostered a strong, enthusiastic board. She helped create a series of virtual events – “No PANE, no Gain” – through which the chapter showcased suppliers and buyers, created networking opportunities and provided quality education. Marina is also involved in SITE Global events such as SITE NITE Frankfurt and is extremely well-known throughout the association’s chapters.
EXCELLENCE IN VIRTUAL ENGAGEMENT | Winner – SITE TEXAS
This award recognizes the chapter that demonstrated creative and innovative approaches to engaging with their members through online, virtual and digital platforms such as a virtual event, social media campaign, webinar or other online activity.
SITE Texas targeted social channels and virtual events as a way to engage and support members, earning them this year’s award. The Chapter created a new board position specifically to enhance engagement across all social channels. They also updated sponsorship packages to include virtual engagement. Finally, the Chapter created a cohesive online campaign to lead, shape and inspire its members, while also providing relevant data and trends. Five of six SITE Texas events included a virtual component, and the Chapter utilized various virtual platforms for each event to explore and share available technology. This virtual engagement led to an increase in new members and strong member retention.
EXCELLENCE IN YOUNG LEADERS | Winner – SITE POLAND
This award is offered to a chapter that has supported a strong and vibrant young leader community through various chapter initiatives, with a focus on personal growth and development of these young leaders within the larger SITE community.
SITE Poland implemented two key Young Leader initiatives. First, it created a Group Action Learning program that brought Young Leaders together on a regular basis to learn, share, and become more familiar with SITE. Second, it implemented a mentoring program. To ensure its success, chapter leaders reached out to four other chapters with similar programs to gather best practices and help provide formal training for mentors. As a result, the Chapter saw strong engagement, with one of its Young Leaders appointed to the Chapter Board and another continuing to lead its YL programming.
EXCELLENCE FOR A SUSTAINABLE EVENT | Winner – SITE FLORIDA & CARIBBEAN
This award recognizes a single chapter event or activity that demonstrates excellence in sustainability.
SITE Florida & Caribbean have sustainability guidelines in place for all of their events, that also align with the Chapter’s sustainability roadmap. One event in particular that stood out in the chapter’s winning application was a series of four beach clean-ups over the Chapter’s geography. This series engaged 300 participants, who collected a whopping 280 kilos/620 pounds of waste! Prior to the clean-ups, participants also took part in education session on how trash impacts sea turtles, motivating members to then pick up even the smallest size particles to prevent harming turtles and other sea creatures.
EXCELLENCE FOR A SPECIAL EVENT | Winner – SITE TEXAS
This award recognizes the chapter that demonstrates creative excellence in delivering a signature event or activity that highlights the benefits of SITE membership and promotes advocacy for incentive travel in a truly memorable way.
SITE Texas never waivered from its mission to deliver member value, and understood that members needed event solutions with both virtual and hybrid components. The Chapter designed a hybrid event in the early days of the pandemic, incorporating safe meeting practices for 33 live attendees and utilizing a never-before-used platform developed specifically for hybrid events that supported 500 virtual guests. Survey results indicated that the event met or exceeded expectations for 95 percent of attendees. Best of all, SITE Texas also leveraged relationships to make the event complimentary for all attendees.
EXCELLENCE IN MEMBERSHIP | Winner – SITE AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND
This award goes to the chapter that has provided incredible value for its members during the qualifying period. It considers member recruitment, retention, and engagement.
Member growth and engagement were top priorities for SITE Australia and New Zealand, as demonstrated through the Chapter’s personal outreach to members to welcome them and encourage volunteering. The Chapter deployed surveys to ensure their event roadmap aligned with members’ desires, and members were granted special value access to events. After a loss in 2020, this Chapter then grew membership by 7 percent the following year thanks to their deepened engagement.
RISING STAR AWARD | Winner – SITE AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND
This award recognizes a developing chapter that delivered exceptional benefits for its members across a number of key areas.
Building or rebuilding a chapter is not easy, especially during a pandemic. SITE Australia & New Zealand demonstrated their resolve to not only support local communities, but to grow them as well. The Chapter increased regional awareness of SITE with strong email and social media outreach, as well as educational webinars. They also fostered a welcoming environment with personal phone calls. Along with further establishing the Chapter regionally, SITE Australia and New Zealand assembled top agencies together as a think tank, sharing confidential trade data and uniting to petition their governments to remove certain taxes as a stimulus to the economy.
Chapters earning Sustainability Certification
It was also announced at the 2022 conference that 13 more chapters have earned the association’s Sustainability Certification introduced in 2020. These chapters are:
- SITE Africa
- SITE Australia & New Zealand
- SITE Chicago
- SITE India
- SITE Mexico
- SITE Poland
- SITE Spain
- SITE South America
- SITE Southern California
- SITE Southeast (US)
- SITE Scotland
- SITE Turkey
- SITE Thailand