“I want to attend SITE Global Conference but my boss is not so sure” Tips, tricks and resources to make the perfect pitch

We’ve all been there. We love our boss but sometimes she’s a bit blind and doesn’t see value where we see value. You’re certain that attending SITE Global Conference in Dublin is essential across so many metrics but somehow she doesn’t see it, and won’t sign off on the USD$3000 (or whatever your figure is) it’s going to cost to attend (Registration + Air + Accommodation + Incidentals). So how do you convince her?

Firstly, let’s agree: this is not really a money issue. Money may be in short supply in your organisation due to present circumstances (it’s that way for most of us!) but if your boss was convinced that your attendance at SITE Global Conference was “mission critical” then the money would be found. So how do you convince her that it IS mission critical?

This is not a money issue, it’s a MarCom issue.

What you need is a marketing strategy, the aim of which is to prove to your boss that your SITE membership and attendance at SITE events – especially global conference - benefits your entire organisation.

We’ve got some useful tools to help you with this – here’s a link to a great article entitled How to convince your boss to send you to a conference. This article provides a foolproof, step by step plan – and massive thanks to Kayleigh Weaver, Communications Manager at Clear Impact for posting it.

We’ve also prepared this Why join SITE? PDF for you. They outline the tangible and intangible benefits to your SITE membership and help you case-make when you’re debating with your boss. There is a clear, bottom line benefit to SITE membership when you calculate the total value of the discounts and concessions you get as a member (it effectively pays for itself). However, we think the intangible benefits are even more valuable. These involve your personal brand, moral standing and reputation – check them out on the PDF.

In her article Kayleigh advises you to profile the conference and get your facts in a row. Well, SITE Global Conference has been the go-to annual gathering for incentive travel professionals for almost 50 years, ever since SITE started back in New York City in 1973. It has taken place on all 5 continents – in line with SITE’s truly global community – and with its connect | learn | discover | shape structure, attracts the global leadership in incentive travel. It’s returning to Dublin, Ireland after a 30 year hiatus, having been hosted in Ireland’s capital in 1991.

Kayleigh also suggests that you study the educational program and pick out specific sessions and tracks that align with your own objectives and mission as an organisation. You can do that on our digital platform where we’re adding content on a daily basis. Our overall theme for Dublin is DARE. With the pandemic still dominating conversations all over the world, these are daring times indeed but, together, we can face any challenge, defy any odds, reach any goal. So let's dare to share, to be different, to innovate, to diversify, to shake it up, to dream, to try something new, to care to consolidate, to expand. To ask to go to SITE Global Conference!

A good way to frame your request to attend Global Conference is to craft an email or letter to your boss, requesting permission to attend and formally outlining why your participation will benefit your organisation. Dispatch the email / letter in advance and then seek a face to face meeting with her to discuss its contents. In her article Kayleigh provides a great example of such a letter but here’s one written specifically from the perspective of a supplier incentive travel professional. You’ll need to edit it to suit your own style, voice and circumstances but it covers the key points.

Best of luck!

Suggested Template for Formal Letter of Request to attend SITE Global Conference

Dear Boss,

SITE Global Conference takes place in Dublin from 27 – 31 January 2022 and I strongly believe [our organisation] should be represented at it. Including registration, return flights, accommodation and incidentals, I estimate the entire investment to be about [USD$3000] but am convinced the benefit to us would be 10x that amount or more.

SITE Global conference is built on 4 pillars – connect, learn, discover, shape – with each pillar delivering both tangible and intangible returns on our investment:

  • Connect - Target participant numbers for Dublin are 450 with about 40% in a buyer / influencer role. Thus there will be 180 delegates present with potential business for us. True, some of these will already be known to us, but SITE’s new hosted buyer program will ensure fresh faces and brand new opportunities.
  • Learn – besides brilliant plenaries, SITE Global Conference includes master classes on [sustainability and diversity], 2 core topics that are impacting our business now, and in the future. These are delivered by global experts in an interactive, participative session the outcomes from which will provide us with a blueprint for our own sustainability journey.
  • Discover – Ireland is a major competitor destination for us and SITE Global Conference immerses us in its secrets, gets us up close and personal with its DMCs and allows us to discover what we need to do to compete more effectively.
  • Shape – participating at SITE GC allows [our organisation] play an active role in shaping the future of incentive travel, thanks to the Manifesto program that’s been part of SITE Global Conference for the past 2 editions. In Dublin, we’ll create The Dublin Manifesto and set out our collective vision for the future of incentive travel. It’s vitally important that [our organisation’s] voice is heard here too.

One confirmed piece of business as a result of my attendance at SITE in Dublin is likely to represent at least a 10x return on our initial investment. However, the learning, benchmarking and thought leadership benefits likely amount to even more than this.

Can we really afford not to be there?

Written by

SITE Staff


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