Sidney Alonso, President 2021 of SITE (Society for Incentive Travel Excellence) South America Chapter, was invited to the third Coffee Talks with Vicky Marmolejo to comment on the experiences offered by Latin America and the current situation of incentive travel during tourism reactivation.
With more than 30 years in tourism, Sidney is clear that it is essential to take advantage of these adverse times to strengthen the incentive segment, as companies already miss these activities.
“We have many challenges, on the infrastructure side and in political aspects. I think we have to create a common agenda. Each association brings its agenda and implements it. Still, in the end, it would be better for most associations to work towards global guidelines and see the MICE industry as a whole,” said Sidney Alonso.
Issues such as sustainability and the protection of historical sites and natural areas motivate people. Another focus for improvement is effective communication.
“Incentive programs will grow as they are made known. However, sometimes they don’t seem worthwhile because we don’t properly communicate what we do. We have to make it clear, make it digestible, because although the return on investment of an incentive is not easy to measure, clearly there are results,” explained Alonso.
The destinations are preparing themselves to avoid becoming viral hotspots; this process requires respect and commitment. That is why Sidney is confident that the reactivation will be steady and gradual.
“Incentive trips are a way to motivate people long-term, but we must be more inclusive. Not only incentivize the winners, but it’s also a way to be empathetic. So many employees try to win, and for different reasons they don’t,” recommended Sidney.
Another interesting point that the founder of Avant Garde touched on is the diversity of the type of incentive given. Some options include the opportunity to create more knowledge or develop skills for employees. She also emphasized the importance of supporting young talents and avoiding their departure to other industries.
Sandra Reed, CEO of Meetings Alliance, joined Vicky as moderator for the virtual meeting. To view the show, click here.