The 2017 SITE Classic will be held September 13-16 at the Hilton Los Cabos Beach & Golf Resort in Los Cabos, Mexico. Hosted by the SITE Foundation, this invitation-only event will bring together an esteemed group of global incentive buyers and top industry suppliers for three days of quality education, networking and activities that showcase the destination’s natural beauty, biodiversity and global appeal.

SITE Classic co-chairs, Madelyn Marusa, DMCP, Vice-President, Industry Relations and Global Sales Director; and Michael Butler, CIS, Director, SpearOne, share with the IncentiveWise blog how the event has evolved to have a stronger emphasis on quality education and business development, and why the event is a smart investment for both buyers and suppliers.

Incentive-quality event that will deliver the “Wow”

We continue to listen to all our attendees – corporate buyers, direct buyers and our amazing sponsors – for ideas on how to improve the value of SITE Classic. This event started over a decade ago with an annual, two-day golf tournament anchoring the program. Nowadays, many attendees don’t want to spend five hours plus on a golf course. Our response has been to transition to a ‘life-style’ approach, whereby golf is included but not the primary focus.

This year’s event will feature a one-day golf tournament in a fabulous golf destination, complemented by other experiences unique to the destination—including many new and fresh ideas for incentive groups that can’t be found in a travel brochure. Although the event will be hosted at the Hilton Los Cabos, activities will be offered on and in-between both Capes – Cabo San Lucas and San Jose de Cabo. We’re poised to deliver an exceptional world-class, incentive-quality experience that will deliver the ‘WOW’ that we’re always after for the Classic.

Education to inspire action

One of our key goals is to provide dynamic and relevant education to help our guests succeed in today’s ever-changing world. Buyers expressed a desire for us to ‘beef-up’ the educational components of the Classic, so we’ve done just that. We have created a master-class workshop, specifically for corporate buyers that meet their high standards for involvement and benefit to their organizations. The workshop will focus on the power to influence change and how it can begin with a well-told story.

We’ve also consolidated our general session into the morning of day two with three, exciting keynote speakers that will provide valuable knowledge and insights into the factors shaping our industry today and, hopefully, will inspire each attendee to take action. We’re especially excited about the segment on leadership with an incentive mindset, delivered by Don Romano, President and Chief Executive Officer of Hyundai Canada, who will share context on how global business leaders view the incentive travel industry and wisdom about the effectiveness of motivation, reward, loyalty and retention.


New and unique incentive-level experiences

We are very pleased to bring the Classic to Los Cabos because it was almost completely wiped out with Hurricane Odile in September 2014. In fact, we’ll be there on the 3rd anniversary of that exceptional storm that caused severe widespread damage. It took about a year for most properties to get fully back online and it’s come back better than it was before. That’s what we are excited for folks to see. From the newly constructed highway from the airport to the hotel corridor, to the median landscape and palm trees and flowering trees that are all new since the storm, and the construction along the corridor with new builds is most impressive. In addition, we’ll be showcasing one of the world’s top all-inclusive brands—Grand Velas- with their new property, which just opened November 2016.

As far as unique activities, with the trend of ‘farm-to-table’ and ‘locavore’ food and beverage options, you won’t want to miss the activity to Flora Farms in San Jose de Cabo. We’re going to see many more of these types of venues and offerings, globally, so it’ll be a highlight for many. Also, we’re offering a Champagne Luxury Yacht Cruise and a unique Baja Barefood Spa and Wine Pairing experience. One of the highlights is a wonderful CSR event where Classic participants will distribute 1,400 backpacks and sporting equipment to the local Leonardo Gastelum Elementary School and will be able to interact with the children.

A good investment of time and resources for both buyers and sponsors

Michael: As a third-party buyer, I’ve loved this event since my introduction five years ago because it’s the one time each year that I can be an attendee on a world class event in a leading incentive travel destination. All the other times I am working, whether on a site inspection for my clients, or supporting a client’s incentive travel program. Additionally, with the strict 2:1 supplier/buyer ratio, and intimate size, it’s one of the best networking events, allowing me to catch up with executive level colleagues across the industry. The silent auction held during the gala awards dinner is bucket list worthy! Nowhere else in the industry will you have access to bid on $20-30k trips of a lifetime at a fraction of the cost—it’s exciting and I look forward to it every year. Most importantly, all of this is done to support the valuable global research and education grants offered by the SITE Foundation.

Madelyn: AlliedPRA has supported SITE for over 30 years and the Classic was the first industry event that brought together incentive travel clients and suppliers in a more intimate setting. As a supplier, it is also the one time I get to experience an incentive quality program as a participant and not working in some fashion! I am excited about how the incentive houses have embraced this event, from both a hosted buyer and sponsorship perspective. There is mutual support for the event amongst the sponsors that is unique today. Seven AlliedPRA offices support this event and they like the opportunity to spend one-on-one time with planners at the activities and evening events.

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