Movers & Makers – Renee Jacobs

MGME Movers & Makers Presents: Renee Jacobs, Executive Vice President of Commercial


Inside the Planning of SITE Events with MGME Movers & Makers


MGME is a sought-after agency that’s staffed with passionate subject-matter experts and our expertise was on display for SITE in Istanbul, Türkiye. We spent some time with Renee Jacobs, Executive Vice President of the Commercial Department, and together we delved into what it takes to successfully produce an event attended by some of the world’s top experts in the MICE industry. No pressure!


Q: Can you please introduce and explain what SITE is?

Of course. SITE is the Society for Incentive Travel Excellence, an association dedicated to education and networking within the incentive travel industry. SITE brings together buyers, suppliers, and professionals in the industry, including venues, destination management companies (DMCs), DMOs, incentive meeting planners, and others interested in organizing incentive travel experiences.


Q: What is your role at MGME and what is your involvement in planning events for SITE?

My role at MGME is Executive Vice President of the Commercial Department. SITE has been a client of MGME since 2022 and we produce three events annually for them. These events include their Global conference held in the spring, SITE Classic, typically held in late summer or early fall, and SITE NITE, which precedes IMEX. We recently produced SITE Global in Istanbul, Türkiye. As a strategic partner, we provide various in-kind services to support SITE's initiatives.


Q: How do you approach the planning process for SITE events, considering their unique requirements and objectives?

Our planning process involves close collaboration with local DMCs, venues, and other partners, focusing on logistical and operational details. We hold weekly meetings with these partners and the client to ensure alignment, run through the project timeline and address any challenges or immediate needs. Additionally, we have separate calls to discuss sponsorship deliverables, as managing relationships with over 50 partners requires careful coordination. Our team is divided internally to handle operational logistics and sponsorship requirements efficiently, ensuring a seamless planning process. It’s important to have those dedicated teams because so much goes into managing each of those roles.


Q: Can you share a challenging situation you encountered while planning one of SITE's events and how you navigated it?

For SITE Global in Istanbul, one challenge was coordinating with numerous local partners to ensure alignment and strategic focus. Managing expectations and ensuring effective communication required significant effort, especially when some aspects, such as transportation, were managed by local partners. However, through proactive communication and strategic planning, we successfully navigated these challenges and delivered a memorable event with some amazing professionals in Istanbul.


Q: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment in planning SITE events, and what lessons did you learn from it?

Operationally, our team's successful execution of SITE Global in Istanbul stands out as a significant accomplishment. Delivering an exceptional attendee experience, especially in a competitive industry, was a proud moment for us. It highlighted the importance of meticulous planning and collaboration with partners to meet lofty expectations. Moving forward, we aim to build on this success and continually improve our event planning strategies.


Q: How do you adapt your planning approach to accommodate the cultural differences of each event location?

Incorporating local flair and culture into SITE events is essential to enhance the attendee experience. We collaborate with local partners to brainstorm ideas and ensure each event reflects the destination's unique characteristics. From food and entertainment to venue decor, we strive to create an immersive experience that highlights the local culture while meeting SITE's objectives.


Q: How do you leverage technology to enhance the attendee experience at SITE events?

Technology plays a crucial role in enhancing our attendee experience. For example, we utilize mobile apps to provide event information, facilitate networking, and engage attendees through interactive features like polling. It also facilitates event reporting and analytics. At SITE Global in Istanbul, 88% of attendees downloaded and utilized the event app, demonstrating its effectiveness. We continually explore innovative solutions to leverage technology and enhance the overall event experience.


Q: How do you identify and mitigate potential risks to ensure the safety and security of attendees?

Risk management is always top of mind during the planning process. We assess potential risks in collaboration with local partners, including security concerns and regional challenges. By conducting thorough evaluations and establishing contingency plans, we mitigate risks to ensure the safety and security of attendees.


Q: How do you incorporate sustainability practices into these events and what initiatives have been implemented to support this?

Sustainability is a key focus in planning all SITE events. SITE partners with hotels and venues that prioritize sustainability practices, such as waste reduction and energy conservation. For example, Conrad Istanbul Bosphorus, the venue for SITE Global, has a robust sustainability program. Additionally, we eliminate single-use plastics by partnering with sponsors like IHG Hotels for hydration stations. We also promote local and sustainable food options to minimize environmental impact. Overall, sustainability is integrated into various aspects of our event planning to support SITE's commitment to responsible practices.


Q: Looking ahead, how do you envision the future of incentive travel and role of events organized by organizations like SITE?

People are looking for new and unique locations that are those bucket list locations. Instagrammable locations that aren't your typical incentive destinations.


If it’s a bucket list destination with a myriad of logistical challenges, then MGME is the first name in top-notch production services.