SITE Global Conference Brings 500 Incentive Travel Professionals to Dublin

The organization’s first in-person meeting in two years offered timely sessions, honored top programs held in difficult times and featured plenty of Irish craic.  

A highlight of the SITE Global Conference was the Crystal Award ceremony, honoring top incentive programs and their planners (above, with SITE leadership).

The charming host city of Dublin gave a huge Irish welcome to the Society of Incentive Travel Excellence’s 2022 Global Conference, which took place April 20-23 in the Convention Centre Dublin. The meeting, which drew 500 international attendees, marked the first time the incentive organization had gathered in person since Jan. 2020. 

The 26 education sessions focused on timely topics such as sustainability, how companies pivoted their programs during the pandemic and new best practices for incentive travel. During the panel "Expect the Unexpected," planners Kristin Huston, director of experience and engagement for Penn Mutual Life Insurance; Becky Pappas, travel account manager for Maritz Global Events; and Cosimo Bruzzese, vice president of global sales for PRA Business Events, stressed the importance of strong communication with partners and winners, managing participants' expectations in light of supply-chain and service shortages, and remaining flexible when programs get disrupted. In another presentation, Nick Woodward-Shaw, vice president of communications at Forever Living, shared a fascinating case study of how the aloe-vera-product company's annual travel program was translated into a virtual celebration for 150,000 participants who spoke 23 different languages.

A highlight of the conference was the SITE Crystal Awards gala, which honored memorable incentive programs that “demonstrated creativity and practicality during the most difficult period the incentive travel industry has ever faced.”

“This is an incredibly special group of Crystal Award winners,” said Kevin Edmunds, MS, CITP, vice president of AIC Hotel Group and current president of SITE. “They are all leaders in our industry, with the programs we recognized at this year’s Crystal Awards Gala standing out as shining examples of incentive travel programs being run smoothly and safely that still achieve the exacting, incredibly high business aims all of us set out to deliver.”

Crystal Awards chair Ellie MacPherson, CITP, senior vice president of Canada operations for the Creative Group, and a member of SITE’s international board of directors, added, “By gathering together in person as a global SITE community to celebrate the achievements of this year’s Crystal Award winners, we are sending a strong signal as to the immense power of incentive travel and its global business impacts. Our industry will continue to rebound and recover, with incentive travel set to play an increasingly important role in generating business results for corporations while also reinforcing values and company culture.”

Following are the winners of the 2022 SITE Crystal Awards:

Excellence in Incentive Travel, North America: Liberty Mutual Insurance, Trek to Quebec 

Most Creative Solution Deployed at a Time of Crisis (tie): H&R Block and Maritz Global Events, 2021 Top Performers, and Motivation Excellence, Gem Club 2020: From Kauai to Concierge

Best Standalone Virtual Celebratory Event: Forever Living Products International, Forever Global Rally at Home 2021

Best Virtual Motivational Experience: Event Partners Ireland DMC, The Cream of the Crop

Most Impactful Effort Toward Corporate Social Responsibility as Part of an Incentive Program: HMI Performance Incentives, Manning Destination Club

At the close of the conference, SITE revealed that the 2023 Global Conference, which will mark the organization’s 50th anniversary, will be held in New York City.