In our latest Young Leaders Board Member interview, we chat to Deborah Crosswell, who has worked at several leading event agencies throughout her career including Sledge, Grass Roots and MCI. She’s currently Director of Sales, The Collective, BCD Meetings & Events, her second stint at the global agency having worked for the business from 2017-2019, where she is responsible for “identifying new prospects, understanding exactly what their requirements are, showcasing what we do best with my incredible team and forging great relationships with clients by delivering some truly memorable experiences.”
Why is the SITE Young Leaders’ program important and what are the benefits for young incentive professionals who get involved?
Being part of SITE young leaders provides fantastic networking opportunity with industry peers who have the same passion for incentive travel. Not only does it offer valuable industry insight through shared best practices, but it also provides members with additional training and qualifications for all levels.
The thing I most love about working in events and incentives is…
Travel and unforgettable experiences. Incentives are all about motivating and rewarding teams who have performed exceptionally, so these trips are designed to inspire and re-energise them. Team bonding forms a huge part of this so when you see teams forging relationships and creating lifelong memories together, there is something incredibly magical and wholesome about it.
As international incentives recover post-pandemic, what changes/trends are you seeing in terms of client demands?
The main trend we are seeing across our clients is a big push on sustainability, something BCD globally is hugely passionate about also. We have been working away globally on producing the first ISO accredited carbon tracker tool which we are excited to launch shortly. It will be a huge support to our clients with their corporate goals. The second trend we are seeing is lead times on proposals and events becoming incredibly short.
‘Pivot’ was a massive buzz word for our industry back in 2020 when the pandemic hit and we all switched to delivering virtual events, but our industry is constantly pivoting and it’s what makes it such an exciting industry to work in.
What destinations are popular with your incentive clients right now?
Top trending travel destinations right now are Mykonos, Croatia, Dubai and Malta. The UK is also extremely popular still, including luxury hotels like Chewton Glen, Cameron House, and London of course! I think the pandemic has reminded us of the importance of reward and recognition across teams to motivate and retain talent, and it’s great to see incentive travel coming back with a bang across the sector.
Describe your dream incentive…
My dream incentive would need to be a mixture of action and adventure with a luxurious finish. I always love twin centre options so you can incorporate a bit of both. Good food and wine are also incredibly important.
Belize, in central America would be my personal choice. It has some incredible new hotels (also some very stylish glamping if for those that fancy being a bit closer to nature). The tropical jungle offers everything from ziplines and waterfall rappelling. The destination is also home to the world’s only Jaguar preserve, while the barrier reef (UNESCO World heritage Site) provides some of the most incredible diving and snorkelling experiences, not to mention sun set boat trips and the miles of unspoilt beaches.
Which destinations are top of your personal bucket list?
My bucket list is quite extensive to be honest and every time I cross one off, I seem to add two more. My top three would be Santorini, Bali and Belize (as above), two of which I am lucky enough to tick off the list this year.
When I’m not working, I’m most likely to be…
Travelling and exploring new destinations, trying new things and meeting new people. If I’m not on a plane, you can find me out in town testing out the new luxury hotels, restaurant hotspots and rooftop bars with friends (all for client research purposes of course!).