2022 sees biggest events ever, for SITE GB

Anthony KellyBlog

It’s a year since I took over as President of the SITE GB Chapter, and with the support of an amazing Board, we are track with all our objectives. We aim to the voice of the GB Incentives Industry and the champion of GB as an incentive destination.

We wanted to increase our membership, introduce more events, and more value for members.

Membership is up compared to 2019, despite the pandemic.

SITE buyer members go free to all our events, and supplier members receive a hefty discount, which offsets their whole membership fee.

Last month we delivered our first Leaders’ Retreat at Down Hall, Essex. The SITE GB Summit is coming up on 24th October and the SITE GB Christmas Lunch on 19th December, each of these expected to attract some 300 attendees from the incentive industry sector.

The Young Leaders are also delivering some terrific events this year, with the Summer Social this week.

Leaders’ Retreat

At the first event SITE GB Leaders’ Retreat, 50 senior leaders from all corners of the GB Incentive Industry gathered to hear from a range of experts about the challenges facing the industry, and then focused their combined experience into coming up with workable tactics to solve each of the challenges.

The challenges presented and discussed included:

  • The recruitment crisis
  • Changing priorities of event planners
  • Make the most of mergers and acquisitions
  • The impact of digital marketing.

I chaired a panel of experts who shared their perspectives and suggestions for tackling the recruitment crisis. My panellists were Chris King of Lightening Travel Recruitment, Emma Castle of Castle Bell and Greg Mangham of A Pavement Away.

Zoe Tuffs of Times Ten Coaching said: “This was the most progressive and challenging panel session I have ever seen.”

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, and pointed out that their determination to stay in a secure post made them more committed and dedicated than more typical recruits.

Chris King of Lightening Travel Recruitment said our industry needed to become less discriminating and change its demographic to represent our more diverse population, and at the same time, treat employees like humans.

Emma Castle of Castle Bell noted that employers had begun to make their terms of employment more flexible and attractive to new recruits.

Personally, I think we need to entice fresh new talent into the industry, and campaign about the positive benefits of working in events. “You may not become a millionaire working in events, but you do get to live like one.”

Later in the afternoon, a workshop was hosted by Zoe Tuffs of Times Ten Coaching, which bought leaders together to explore the complexities of recruitment in the MICE sector, post-pandemic where the competition for talent is hotter than ever. Leaders also shared ideas on how to approach recruitment differently to better engage with existing talent and make a career in our sector more appealing to a more diverse pool of candidates

International incentive trends

A panel of planners from agencies and corporates discussed their changing strategies towards international incentives. Conference News Editorial Director, Martin Fullard, led the panel, which included Katie Pow of Sage, Olivia Savage of doTerra, and Leigh Butterfield of 2BUK.

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

Leigh Butterfield of 2BUK said that GB group incentive travel was still confined to Europe for the next year or so. Olivia Savage of deTerra said that many of her clients were introducing more business components to their incentive events.

Anthony Kelly, of Measured Marketing, presented a workshop focused on Digital Marketing. He discussed the importance of getting your website noticed, suggesting this should take around 7 months to do successfully, but surprised the audience by noting that millions of buyers were searching for event specialists and venues every day, and by tapping into this, companies can create a rich channel for new business.

Later in the afternoon a panel of agency owners shared their experiences of acquiring or begin acquired. M+A specialist Andy Day of Capital A, hosted a session that shared lessons learned and tips on how to acquire or sell successfully.

Over dinner, Manley Hopkinson, author of Compassionate Leadership, shared his theory of leadership, extracted, and developed from his experiences of sailing around the world in the Olympics.


Happy delegates offered some feedback on the event:

“I really enjoyed networking with fellow suppliers again, and meeting some buyers” Lesley Mitchel, Hosmark Hotels.

“The balance of time, informative sessions, interesting and experienced speakers from both agency, client and supplier, was spot on so there is little I can suggest to improve things.” James Dowson, DMC Advantage.

“The Leaders retreat was a fantastic opportunity to meet with industry leaders in an easy and casual way. The content throughout was very enjoyable and spaced out with enough free time in between. Down Hall Hotel was located in a stunning setting and the team did an amazing job of hosting the retreat.” Sarah Tennant, Star our World.

“Thank you for a really excellent retreat, the venue was amazing. The content was also really good, and I really enjoyed the panels. I also thought everything was the right amount of time to keep people engaged.” Kate Walsh, Hilton Worldwide Sales.

“Thanks, and congratulations on the recent SITE Leaders event. Based on the feedback I have received so far and the activity on social media I think it is fair to say the event was a huge success for all parties.” Linden Beattie, our venue sponsor Down Hall.


The SITE GB Summit
Monday 24th October
Apex Hotel, Bath

The SITE GB Christmas Lunch, with Katrina & the Waves
Monday 19th December
Leonardo Royal, St Pauls, London.