SITE’s Events Director Takes on Türkiye
Guest Blog Post by Jacqueline Acomb
As the Director of Events at Society for Incentive Travel Excellence — more commonly known in the industry as “SITE” — I am thrilled to be bringing SITE’s annual Global Conference to Istanbul, Türkiye, in February 2024.
We chose Istanbul in part because it’s the perfect destination to embrace our conference theme of “Building and Bridging Cultures,” as a country where East really does meet West, and cultures collide and collaborate in the best ways possible.
Here are just three reasons why I encourage event planners to explore the many options Türkiye offers, no matter what corner of the planet you’re coming from.
Excellent airlift connects much more than just East and West
It’s one of the first thoughts that floats into any planner’s mind when considering a vibrant global locale: how do I get attendees to my event quickly, safely, and ensure the journey is just as special as anything I’m planning onsite?
Turkish Airlines is a fabulous airline to partner with that absolutely hits the mark on these criteria and more. For those upgrading to its business class offerings (a natural fit for the incentive market), unique perks like an onboard chef who oversees in-flight dining on certain long-haul routes only elevates offerings.
It makes travel a breeze, in an era where travel can sometimes be anything but — and makes it easy to tick off majorly important boxes on event planning check lists.
“Türkiye is the only country in the world where you can be in Europe in the morning and then Asia later in the afternoon! The unique culture, delicious cuisine, authentic experiences and genuine people all make Türkiye a fantastic destination for incentives!” – Sam Nicastro, head of Business Development at SITE.
Stunning cultural heritage venues: a true planner’s dream
Türkiye offers an incredible base for planners to present back to clients, especially when “wow” moments are a must.
As SITE’s event planner, I’m particularly excited about Conrad Istanbul Bosphorus, which will be our homebase for the 2024 Global Conference.
There are plenty of other incentive-ready five star hotels throughout the country, alongside other culturally significant and architecturally astounding event spaces. These range from Ottoman palaces, to spots along (or even on!) the Bosphorus River. It’s jaw-dropping to find yourself in venues that date as far back as the Byzantine Empire, like the Basilica Cistern in Istanbul: regularly recognized as one of Istanbul’s quirkiest spots!
Experiences that are truly unique
With generations Y & Z moving into event attendee and, increasingly, into decision-maker roles on client teams, there’s a voracious appetite for event planners to deliver stunning, never-been-seen-or-done-before experiences, especially as part of incentive travel programs.
As just a few examples — events are increasingly about bringing communities together; the very same purpose the 16th century Turkish hammams were designed to deliver. A guided tour of the Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque is a gem in any program itinerary. And rooting around for their own treasures at the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul makes for a gifting experience unlike any other.
“Having visited Istanbul in 2019 with our Executive Summit, it proved that Turkey was an ideal destination for our pinnacle event, the SITE Global Conference. Turkey is vital to the incentive landscape and we are thrilled to show off the destination to our membership” – Kevin Edmunds, President of SITE Global 2022&2023