Focus on Technology. The Site International Foundation has released the results of the Site Index: Focus on Technology and Social Media. The study examines the ever-changing role of technology in the incentive travel and motivational events industry and concentrates on the use of social media in designing, promoting and delivering programs and events. The previous Site Index Technology study was conducted in 2010, and this latest study clearly shows that new technology and social media are playing a vital role in the industry. Almost across the board, survey respondents say their use of these tools has increased dramatically in the past two years, with almost a two-fold increase in the percentage of respondents using social media to do business.
“The Site Index study on technology and social media is another valuable example of the insights that Site International Foundation research provides to industry professionals,” stated Stephen D. Powell, Foundation President and Senior Vice President of Worldwide Sales for InterContinental Hotels Group. “When comparing this Site Index report to the 2010 Index, it is clear how the tools of our industry can change in a relatively short period of time. Businesses are missing important motivational and revenue opportunities if they are not actively using social media in the promotion, on-site communication and networking of incentive programs. Moreover, the best use of social media is when everyone on the management staff is utilizing and engaging social media for the program's success. This Site Index study provides compelling documentation for industry professional to build the business case that social media is an effective communication vehicle to drive the momentum of motivational programs.”
Leading observations from the study:
- A large majority (81%) of the respondents report that their companies are connected to clients through social media platforms, with 76% of these companies maintaining corporate profiles on two or more platforms. Facebook is the leading social media platform at 70%, with LinkedIn closely following at 65% and Twitter at 28%. A little over one-third of the respondents have developed an app for their company.
- Companies are using more technology for sales and marketing purposes. For those respondents that reported using social media in their daily business, 46% use it for marketing promotions and communications and/or their incentive program operations. Forty-one percent (41%) reported that the means of communication is determined by the generational make-up of the program participants. Twitter is used by 30% of respondents during an event to motivate non-participants to aspire to attend future programs.
- Respondents shared various means for measuring the return on investment (ROI) from social media with the most common measurement being increased hits to their website. Other reported ROI metrics include increases in the number of comments such as “likes,” “shares” or “Tweets,” or number of connections such as “friends” or registered participants. Sixty-three percent (63%) of respondents employ a dedicated staff member to manage their social media.
Mark Bondy, Chair of the Site International Foundation Research Committee and Partner/President of Viktor Incentives & Meetings, commented, “The results of this survey on technology and social media reflect opportunity. In recent years, social media has transcended individual use to become a key marketing tool for the business world; yet, the opportunity has eluded many as they grapple with new concepts and technological options. This study will help industry professionals improve their business. We encourage practitioners to employ new strategies identified through our Foundation’s research and to contribute their own views and insights by signing up and participating in future Site International Foundation surveys and studies.”
Data for the Site Index are derived from the collective experiences and perspectives of a global group of incentive travel and motivational event users and providers. For this survey, responses were received from 106 peo ple in 16 countries with 91% identifying themselves as Incentive Providers/Planners. The survey was supervised by Scott A. Jeffrey, Ph.D., Monmouth University, and Marion Joppe, Ph.D., University of Guelph, and was sponsored by the InterContinental Hotels Group.