The Society of& Travel Executives has made several efforts to clear up misconceptions around incentive travel, which it says have been fostered by the media since AIG’s controversial meetings this fall in the wake of a government loan.
On November 5, Brenda Anderson, SITE’s CEO, sent an e-mail to members calling the media coverage “a flurry of distortion in the media about the value of meetings, exhibitions, events, and incentives.” On November 20, the association hosted a webinar on how to manage the changes in the industry.
And in its new member newsletter, Front & Center, SITE published a letter by Steve O'Malley, vice president–strategy, practice, and industry relations, Maritz Travel Co., who called for an increasing emphasis on incentiveto counter the bad press. “Unfortunately, the back draft of the desire to rein in inappropriate executive compensation has caused many legitimate travel and incentive programs to be called into question,” he wrote. “The negative publicity has begun to chill investment in this area, not just in financial services, but increasingly across other industries… It’s more critical than ever that organizations make a concerted effort to invest in understanding, tracking and reporting on the business value created by travel and incentive investments. Immediately investing in Return on Investment (ROI) and Return on Objectives (ROO) measures and instituting an organization-wide approach for ensuring the efficacy and transparency of their investments in this area will mitigate the reputational risk associated with running programs in the current climate.” The letter was endorsed by Anderson.