Eighty incentive travel professionals gathered at the twin resort to connect, learn and discover how incentive travel programs can be successfully delivered in line with public health protocols developed specifically for the event by SITE in collaboration with event managers, Unbridled.
In advance of attending the event, all participants had to sign up for SITE Safe, the association’s health security framework. Mask wearing and social distancing were observed at all educational and social events. In addition, all attendees were given antigen tests on arrival and again prior to departure. One hundred percent tested negative for COVID-19.
“Incentive travel experiences are like a Swiss watch—putting them together takes skill, precision and attention to detail. This is even more the case when public health protocols come into play,” said Tahira Endean, CMP, CED, DES, CITP, Head of Events, SITE. “With event partners, Unbridled, and our wonderful host destinations, Aspen Snowmass, we developed our plan, a large part of which focused on health and risk management. But we wanted the extensive health security infrastructure to protect participants, not intimidate them. The feedback we received would indicate that we were successful!”
Rebecca Wright, CIS, SITP, interim executive-director, SITE, added: “With such pent-up demand for quality incentive travel experiences, there was a palpable joy amongst participants as SITE returned to live, in-person events. Symbolically this event was crucial for us, but also for the industry at large.
“With ISA we have demonstrated unequivocally that it’s possible to stage incentive travel programs and motivational experiences safely, with due regard to public health restrictions and guidelines. In particular, I’d like to thank our hosts Aspen and Snowmass, and our event partners, Unbridled, for working with us with such diligence, commitment and vision to make it happen.”
Aspen Snowmass, Aspen Chamber Resort Association and Go Snowmass hosted the SITE Global members participating in the event. They were assisted by the destination’s entire hospitality community, with W, St. Regis, Hotel Jerome, The Little Nell, Limelight Aspen, Viceroy Snowmass and The Collective Snowmass featuring in the program, and RMC Aspen and Imprint Group – a DMC Network company providing DMC support.
The education component of the event included a keynote on peak performance delivered by award-winning author Ross Bernstein, and a panel discussion exploring how the industry will “unmask our future” was sponsored by Kerzner International.
Posting on LinkedIn after the event, Ross Bernstein, wrote: “Kudos for putting on such a first-class event that was not only fun and elegant but safe and responsible. I mean providing rapid Covid tests for every single attendee as well as the entire hospitality staff? Unbelievable!”
ISA also featured a silent auction that raised more than $16,000 USD for SITE Foundation’s work on behalf of the incentive travel industry in research, content generation, education and advocacy.