SITElines

SITElines August/September

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by Pádraic Gilligan is Chief Marketing Officer at SITE, and Managing Partner at SoolNua Marketing Meeting and Incentive Industry professionals will find lots to love in the Events Industry Council's (EIC) recently released Economic Significance of Meetings to the US Economy. Just consider these top line results. On overall revenues, the meetings and events industry generates $325 billion for the US economy, ahead of automotive, oil and gas, music and movies. In terms of impact on direct employment, it's even more impressive as the industry ranks second to healthcare. This is all good stuff, underlining beyond doubt that, as an industry, we're not laggards and more than pay our way. Incentive travel professionals will be happy to note that "incentive meetings" are included as a specific category, comprising 7% of overall meeting activity. Oxford Economics estimates the aggregate value of incentive meetings to be $22 billion or $1,438 per attendee, a figure 12% higher than the average spend for all other types of meeting. Compared to the 2012 study, incentive meetings showed the greatest growth increase over all meeting types and a significant increase (66%), in the number of participants. However, when compared with the average attendee spend in annual surveys of incentive travel conducted by the Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE) and the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) this figure seems low. Measuring the Value of Incentive Travel SITE Index 2018 showed values between $4,000 and $5,000, depending on the industry sector, while the IRF has an average spend per attendee of $3,915 The value of Incentive Travel is much greater That said, whenever I read studies or white papers that highlight the industry's economic impact there's a part of me that sighs with sadness. Why so, you ask? Ultimately, they mean we've allowed ourselves to be measured by implements and tools that cannot possibly provide a holistic view of our impact and worth to society. Incentive travel experiences clearly generate economic impact, but that's only the tip of the iceberg. If you only measure economic impact then you miss 90% of the value that's hidden below the surface. The true potential of incentive travel extends to the heart of society as it provides extraordinary experiences for individuals and families in and through the transformative power of travel. It facilitates human encounters, helps overcome barriers, builds understanding, cultivates connections and promotes peace. Stay tuned for the release of the Canadian Incentive Travel Market Survey results coming soon! SITElines | Issue 3 4 sitecanada.org

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