Not everyone has a million-dollar budget and can offer million-dollar dreams for their clients. Depending on the meeting or client, you may have to get crafty in finding space and a destination that is functional and budget savvy! In the event industry, we are always searching for that perfect venue for our clients. Making their dreams come into focus while doing everything we can to think outside of the box for a truly original idea. Here are a couple of unique and cost-effective venue ideas to consider when booking your next meeting.
The Incentive for Excellence
Incentive travel: two words that roll off our tongues as easy as our own names and, many times, with little thought. I recently was given the opportunity to obtain the CIS (Certified Incentive Specialist) through the support of SITE SoCal and my company, JNR.
For those of you who are unfamiliar, CIS is an entry-level certification program facilitated by SITE to provide a greater understanding of the theory and practice of creative and effective Motivational Programs and Motivational Travel. It was a fun experience to go through this process with some of my favorite industry colleagues, but also enlightening to go “back to the basics” of Incentive Travel and remember why we are in this profession in the first place.
The Greater Los Angeles area stands out as a success story in U.S.-bound tourism in 2017, the last year for which we have conclusive data.
While overall numbers of visitors to the United States declined, within the first seven months of 2017, the USA had 41 million international visitors, a 4% decline from the same period in the previous year, according to the Commerce Department.
Research prepared for the Visit U.S. Coalition by the U.S. Travel Association shows that global travel volume increased 7.9% from 2015 to 2017. But the U.S. slice of that fell from 13.6% to 11.9% in the same period. That is the first drop after more than a decade of consistent growth.
However, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and LATCB President and CEO Ernest Wooden Jr. had good news to report.
On January 10th, they announced that Los Angeles welcomed 48.3 million visitors in 2017, setting a new tourism milestone for the seventh consecutive year.
Celebrate is our word of the year! With our 20 years in existence, our strong, vibrant chapter and our outstandingly successful Holiday Event, we have a lot to be proud of and thankful for when it comes to our SITE SoCal community.
Education is an important element of what membership in SITE provides, and the Certified Incentive Specialist (CIS) designation provides a first step on the road to formalizing the on-the-job training that many of us have undertaken, including me. My first on-my-own incentive program for which I was responsible was in Montego Bay, Jamaica, and this was before days of email and mobile phones. I was given two weeks’ notice that I was going and this wasn’t long after I had started with the company. I mostly winged it (the program was a success) but I can’t help thinking that some advance formal education about incentive travel might have been helpful!
Just as a side note…
I joined the industry quite by chance – a friend of a friend asked me to look after their office for them – and the company turned out to be an incentive travel company, specializing in high end international programs. I was hooked. I had found my niche in the work world and the opportunities it has given me have been priceless. I consider myself very fortunate and SITE has been an important component in how my life and work in the industry evolved.
So, back to education…
With the creation of the CIS designation, SITE offers an opportunity for your incentive travel knowledge to be formalized and recognized throughout the industry. The CIS exam is offered at test sites around the world, at private events and shows such as IMEX Frankfurt, as well as online. SITE SoCal decided to set up its own customized CIS test site, taking advantage of the lower online exam rate but also providing an on-site exam preview session. For that we turned to Dana Weaver, CIS, a member of the SITE Board of Trustees and a Past President of SITE Chicago. With Dana on hand to review the material on site with participants, we are combining the convenience of online testing with the opportunity to benefit from his extensive experience within our industry, with SITE, and the testing process.
Our special member-only event is taking place on July 12th at the lovely Ranch at Laguna Beach, a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World. We are grateful for the ongoing generous support of the Ranch, and in particular Don Chock, CMP, Director of Marketing and Operations and Patty Bell, Associate Director of Sales and Catering for working with us. An invitation to participate was sent out to our membership this week so we do hope you are able to join us and add some initials to your name! If you missed the email, you can find full details here.
The CIS is a great foundation step towards taking the recently-available Certified Incentive Travel Professional (CITP) which is the next designation up in the incentive world. The CITP is aimed at mid-to senior-level professionals, both supplier and buyers, working across the niche spectrum of incentive travel. Regardless of where you fit into the incentive world, these designations will help identify you as a bone fide incentive professional. Currently in redevelopment and following on from the CITP, there will be a Certified Incentive Travel Executive (CITE) designation available for highly-experienced, director-level professionals.
Thank you for being part of our very special community of SITE SoCal professionals – we appreciate each and every one of you. You help make our incentive world a better place!
As Director of Incentive and Cruise Sales, I am proud to say that the SITE organization has given a great deal to us in terms of important contacts and friendships over the years. SITE Southern California has been a strong ally in helping get the Air Tahiti Nui name out to the industry, by way of branding recognition, since SITE’s beginning.
And the Holiday Event is one of the most important industry events of the year! This event brings our industry together in an important way while giving back to local grassroots charities. We are honored to donate to this important cause.