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BELFAST

The jewel in Northern Ireland’s crown.

Titanic Belfast Opening April, 2012

SEPTEMBER.OCTOBER 2011

Also Inside The fine art of creative budgeting P.26 Wrap-Ups: WEC and IncentiveWorks P.12 + 17 Wrap-Ups The group-friendly charms of Hamilton, Ont. P.46

PM 40069240

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At every InterContinental®, the custom-tailored Insider Collection offers a range of memorable delegate experiences designed to make the authentic local culture an integral part of the meeting. Add the legendary hospitality, the genuinely warm welcome, the impeccable attention to detail, and this is a meeting nobody will forget anytime soon. Nor will you. Because, right now, you can earn up to 500,000 bonus Priority Club ® points for every meeting booked by October 31, 2011 and consumed by December 30, 2011. And up to a million bonus points for every meeting booked by January 31, 2012 and consumed between January 1 and March 31, 2012. Which could definitely help you create some memorable experiences of your own.

MONTREAL TORONTO CENTRE For more information, visit intercontinental.com/meetingbonusca Meeting Planner and Referring Third Party must be members of Priority Club Meeting Rewards prior to booking. Offer available at participating InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Latin America for a qualified meeting. Qualified meeting must be booked by October 31, 2011 and conducted by December 30, 2011. A qualified meeting or group stay requires twenty five or more paid guest rooms for at least one peak night of the event and must include qualified catering/banqueting events. Subject to availability and blackout dates. Cannot be combined with any other offer. Not valid with group bookings affiliated with city-wide conventions. Planner must request bonus points offer and it must be recorded in the hotel sales contract at time of booking. Priority Club is a registered trademark of Six Continents Hotels, Inc. ©2011 InterContinental Hotels Group. All rights reserved. Most hotels are independently owned and/or operated.

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Do you live an InterContinental life?

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contents

meetings & incentive travel september.october 2011

features

17 INCENTIVEWORKS WRAP-UP A two-page photo essay wrapping up M&IT’s highly successful 2011 IncentiveWorks trade show and conference. 24 THE FUTURE OF INCENTIVES The incentive industry isn’t what it used to be. But who said that’s a bad thing? By M&IT staff 26 CREATIVE BUDGETING Regardless of the size of your event budget, there are ways to maximize bang-for-buck. With a little creativity, it can be done. By Allan Lynch

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departments

4 WHAT’S NEW ONLINE We re-launch former M&IT publisher Steve Dempsey’s blog. By Don Douloff 6 FROM THE EDITOR Destination Misperception. By Don Douloff

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9 MEETING POINTS New products; money-saving tips, and more… By Don Douloff 50 CHECKLIST Hotel Contracts. By Monica Simmie

columns

20 MARKETING + STRATEGIC PLANNING Small Budget, Big Strategy By Ken Wong

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22 SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING Low-Cost Communication Strategy By Kevin Durkee

PHOTOS NotedCo, Quatrefoil Restaurant

45 EXPERT OPINION Engaging the Generations By Seth Mattison

destination reports

46 HAMILTON Close to Toronto and the Niagara Region, Hamilton offers a wealth of activities for group programmes. By Don Douloff 48 BELFAST With years of political strife behind it, Northern Ireland’s capital is re-energized. By Donna Carter

COMING NEXT ISSUE M&IT’s 40th Anniversary Feature. To mark M&IT’s four decades, we will list 40 Things the Meetings Industry Can Do to Improve Our Industry During the Next 20 Years. MeetingsCanada.com

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+INCENTIVE TRAVEL

VOLUME 40, NUMBER 5 SEPTEMBER.OCTOBER 2011 Publisher | Sonja Chilcott

what’s new online New Blog Launched! We’ve launched a new blog from a longtime colleague, former M&IT publisher Steve Dempsey, who has joined BIG (Business Information Group, the company that owns M&IT) M&IT as publisher of Hardware Merchandising and Canadian Contractor magazines. Steve will still manage events, but in a new industry! In The Steve Report, he shares his unique perspective and insights that could touch on any number of areas, including the meetings industry, as well as marketing/communications/online/social media. For instance, here’s an excerpt from a recent Steve Report blog: SPEAKERS: A CRITICAL VIEW “As buyers, we create the demand and, by default, determine the price and type of products being supplied to us. “Take speakers, for example. We have built a model that supports a speaker being paid for, on average, a one-hour presentation. I don’t know what an average speaker’s rate is (perhaps our friends at CAPS could tell us?), but it is no secret the range is hundreds of dollars, to as much as $250,000, plus travel, etc. For some event budgets, the speaker expense line item is as much or more than the audiovisual, facility rental and F&B combined! Steve Dempsey “Rest assured, I’m not suggesting all speakers are overpaid, nor am I saying that being a professional speaker is an easy profession. I am saying, however, that as buyers of this product, we need to start putting some industry-wide expectations in place, because I see this expense category continuing to rise without any checks or balances.

“Let’s look at facility rental: if you were returning to the same venue to run your annual event and you were using the same space for the same time period, you would likely expect the rate to increase 0-5 per cent. In the same scenario, by comparison, the same speaker could be as much as 100-per-cent more expensive. How can we mitigate the annual increases on speakers?” To read more, log onto MeetingsCanada.com, click on the homepage ‘Blogs’ button and navigate from there. Until next issue, Don Douloff, Managing Editor, M&IT

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416.510.5226 | SChilcott@meetingscanada.com EDITORIAL + ART Managing Editor | Don Douloff 416.442.5600 x 3254 | DDouloff@meetingscanada.com Assistant Editor | Christine Otsuka 416.442.5600 x 3255 | COtsuka@meetingscanada.com Art Director | Kelsey Bremer 416.442.5600 x 3257 | KBremer@meetingscanada.com Contributors | Donna Carter, Allan Lynch, Monica Simmie Cover | Donal McCann Photography Titanic Belfast / Harcourt Developments Ltd SALES Account Manager | Marci Vigeant-Christie 416.510.6819 | MVigeantChristie@meetingscanada.com Sales + Marketing Associate | Melissa Scott 416.442.5600 x 3123 | MScott@meetingscanada.com PRODUCTION + ONLINE Market Production Associate | Cathy Li 416.510.5150 | CLi@bizinfogroup.ca IT Business Support Manager | Laura Moffatt 416.510.6898 | LMoffatt@bizinfogroup.ca INCENTIVEWORKS General Manager | Robin Paisley 416.510.5141 | RPaisley@meetingscanada.com CIRCULATION & SUBSCRIPTIONS Circulation Manager | Beata Olechnowicz 416.442.5600 x 3543 | BOlechnowicz@bizinfogroup.ca Subscriber Customer Service | meetingscanada.com BIG MAGAZINES LP Vice-President of Canadian Publishing | Alex Papanou President of Business Information Goup | Bruce Creighton Meetings & Incentive Travel (M&IT) magazine receives unsolicited features and materials (including letters to the editor) from time to time. M&IT, its affiliates and assignees may use, reproduce, publish, re-publish, distribute, store and archive such submissions in whole or in part in any form or medium whatsoever, without compensation of any sort. MAIL PREFERENCES: Occasionally we make our subscriber list available to reputable companies whose products or services may be of interest to you.If you do not wish your contact information to be made available, please contact us via one of the following methods: Phone: 1-800-668-2374, Fax: 416-442-2191, E-Mail: privacyofficer@businessinformationgroup.ca, SUBSCRIPTION PRICE: Canada $76.00 per year, Outside Canada $106.00 US per year, Single Copy Canada $13.00. Meetings & Incentive Travel is published 6 times per year except for occasional combined, expanded or premium issues, which count as two subscription issues. Meetings & Incentive Travel is indexed in the Canadian Business Index and is available online in the Canadian Business & Current Affairs Database. Contents Copyright BIG Magazines LP, a division of Glacier BIG Holdings Company Ltd. Canada Post — Canadian publications Mail Sales Product Agreement 40069240 ISSN No. 1915-1125. 80 Valleybrook Drive, North York, ON M3B 2S9. We acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada, through the Canada Periodical Fund (CPF) for our publishing activities.

MeetingsCanada.com

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STAY REWARDED

EARN UP TO 100,000 BONUS PRIORITY ClUB® POINTS. Don’t miss your chance to earn The Big Reward—up to 100,000 bonus Priority Club points.The more room nights you book at Holiday Inn® or Holiday Inn® Express hotels before February 29, 2012 and use for meetings or groups before March 31, 2012, the more points you’ll earn. What could be more rewarding than that? Visit holidayinn.com/meetingbonusca to get started.

STAY YOU. STAY YOU.

TM

TM

Meeting Planner and Referring Third Party must be members of Priority Club Meeting Rewards prior to booking. Offer available at participating Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express properties in Canada, U.S., Mexico and latin America for a qualified meeting. Qualified meeting must be booked by February 29, 2012 and conducted by March 31, 2012. A qualified meeting or group stay requires ten or more paid guest rooms for at least one peak night of the event and may include qualified catering/banqueting events. Subject to availability and blackout dates. Cannot be combined with any other offer. Not valid with group bookings affiliated with city-wide conventions. Planner must request bonus points offer and it must be recorded in the hotel sales contract at time of booking. Priority Club is a registered trademark of Six Continents Hotels, Inc. STAY YOU.™ is a trademark of Six Continents Hotels, Inc. ©2011 InterContinental Hotels Group. All rights reserved. Most hotels are independently owned and/or operated.

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from the editor

Destination Misperception Facts, not word-of-mouth or ingrained perceptions, should dictate selection of group destinations.

on the cover This issue, we feature Belfast, the re-energized Northern Ireland city that has put years of political strife and civil unrest behind it and become a top-flight destination for groups. In her piece, Donna Carter highlights a number of must-visit convention facilities, restaurants, hotels and attractions suitable for groups.

In our May/June, 2011, issue we highlighted Bogota, capital of Colombia, a country that, like one of this issue’s featured destinations, Belfast, has put its troubles behind it and is also working hard to communicate that to our industry. But is anyone listening? No question, destination misperception—eliminating a city, or even country, from a list of options for incentives, meetings and events, because of the perceptions surrounding it—does happen. I was reminded of this by a session I saw on this topic at MPI’s 2010 World Education Congress, in Vancouver. Led by Eli Gorin, CMP, vice-president of global client relations at ABTS Convention Services—a housing and corporate travel provider specializing in supporting and increasing medical associations’ international attendees—the session resonates. Gorin floated this telling statistic: 82 per cent of planners surveyed reported that they base their destination perceptions on word-of-mouth. Yet the facts on a destination often tell a radically different story. And indeed, education was key to Gorin’s suggestions as to how destination misperception can be overcome, since, as he noted, planners are sometimes fed incorrect information that prevents them from making educated decisions. Gorin says planners must be open-minded and reach out to destinations they may have written off, by going on site inspections or FAMs, since websites can only tell so much of the tale, and seeing a destination first-hand can change perceptions instantly. Augment those site visits with thorough research. (Did you know, for instance, that the State of Florida—which has had its own perception challenges, thanks to perennial hurricane threats and last year’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill—offers up to $200,000 in hurricane insurance… free, to planners and their groups?) And minimize word-of-mouth. Once planners educate themselves on a destination, they must, in turn, educate stakeholders, the C-suite, attendees. Bottom line: If they’re willing to look at the facts, planners widen their destination—and therefore programme—options. Their groups deserve as much.

Don Douloff Managing Editor

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MeetingsCanada.com

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meet

outside the

box

pick muskoka’s favourite retreat for fresh perspective, real results Fire up your team with a campfire at the lake. Spice up any event with real food – right down to maple syrup harvested on-site. Reach your goals with on-site Adventures in Excellence. At Muskoka’s landmark Deerhurst Resort, you get: • A setting and expertise worthy of the G8 Summit • 45,000 sq. ft. of venues • An easy 2 hour drive from Toronto

ask about FREE teambuilding and MORE hot perks meet here 1-800-461-6522 deerhurstresort.com/meetings meet@deerhurstresort.com linkedin.com/companies/deerhurst-resort @DeerhurstResort

YEAR-ROUND ACTIVITIES • SHIZEN SPA • SHOW & ENTERTAINMENT • TURN-KEY THEMED EVENTS

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Only in Scotland is the backdrop as inspiring as your conference. In Scotland you can be sure to find a range of unusual venues set in breathtaking surroundings. Where else can you hold a conference with an historic castle as your backdrop? Or do business looking over the famous Old Course? Or even meet on the shores of Loch Lomond? And it’s never been easier to get here. So to find out more about hosting an event in Scotland, log onto conventionscotland.com/us

Attend a conference where you can’t help but gaze out of the window.

Or perhaps that should be unconventional Scotland.

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> COOL GIFT

‘Egg-Hatched’ Plant Best conversation piece ever? The Eggling looks like an extralarge egg, but crack it and discover a garden ready for sowing. Made in Japan of white bisque, the Eggling comes with a peat mixture and seeds already inside, as well as a terra-cotta tray and extra seeds. Approximate size: 2 inches high × 2 inches wide. Watch, intrigued, as the plants grow through the cracked egg shell. Available in Basil, Mint, Petunia, Daisy, Strawberry, Lavender, Spicy Pepper and Cactus. All come packaged in a colourful gift box. Canadian orders ship in one to two weeks. notedco.com

> WE NEED YOUR FEEDBACK!

40th Anniversary For the November/December issue of M&IT, to mark our 40th Anniversary, we’re publishing a list of 40 Things The Meetings Community Can Do to Improve Our Industry During the Next 20 Years. What thing(s) can we do, to make our industry better? Send your suggestions to ddouloff@ meetingscanada.com. If we choose your idea(s), we’ll give you credit in the article!

M&IT Market Report Survey in October This year, M&IT will be sending out our annual Market Report Survey in October, about a month earlier than usual. Keep an eye out for it in your e-mail inbox! We value your feedback, so please take about 10 minutes to fill it out. Your input is critical to the success of our benchmarking survey. Visit meetingscanada.com for daily news updates

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> COOL GIFT

Hoodie iPod Cover Hoodies often get a bad rap, with connotations of gangstas and drive-by shootings. Not this one. Cute as a button, the Hoodie cover stylishly swathes iPod classic, iPod touch, iPhone and various other MP3 players and phones. The polyester cover protects electronic devices from dust and, as a bonus, turns them into mini fashion statements. Available in grey and black. M&IT readers receive a 15-per-cent discount for online orders. When at checkout, type in the code, MITM15. Canadian orders ship in about a week. luckies.co.uk

MeetingsCanada.com

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Meeting POINTS > TIP SHEET

Event Planning Made Easier Naomi Wagschal, CEM, CMP, of the College of Family Physicians of Canada, each year, plans one of the largest medical meetings in the country. FOOD Work closely with the head chef to develop menus specifically designed to meet the dietary preferences of your delegates. Our delegates are family physicians and we can’t get away with serving the high-carb diet (muffins and sandwiches) usually associated with large conferences. We budget a specific per-person amount per day and then work out how to deliver nutritious fare at breakfast, breaks and lunches without exceeding that budget.

HOUSING Push for the lowest attrition rate possible, calculated on the hotel cost rate for the room, rather than the block rate. Sign conservative contracts with a few host hotels and sign open-block, SiteCanada_halfpage_2011#1MIT.pdf 1 19/08/2011 10:29:56 AM no-attrition contracts with a large group of overflow properties. Audit your block after the conference and insist that the hotels count people who booked outside the block towards your total SiteCanada_halfpage_2011#1MIT.pdf 1 18/08/2011 9:52:44 AM actualization. Have the hotel agree not to undersell your rates over your contracted dates and check these regularly.

Naomi Wagschal

DEALING WITH STAFF Begin working with event staff early, communicate often, familiarize them with your organization and the history of your event and the type of delegate expectations they may encounter. The more they understand your event, and you understand the facility practices, the easier it will be to have appropriate expectations. Mutual respect goes a long way towards resolving the inevitable, unforeseen issues that occur. HEALTH & SAFETY Do a risk assessment and develop a riskmanagement plan. Consult the Canadian Association of Exposition Management Health and Safety Best Practices guidelines, which break down the roles and responsibilities of each party.

Want to be featured in Tip Sheet? E-mail M&IT managing editor Don Douloff at DDouloff@meetingscanada.com

Site is the global authority connecting motivational experiences with business results. Site serves as the source of expertise, knowledge and personal connections that will catapult and sustain professional growth, and help build the value of extraordinary, motivational experiences worldwide. Site Canada has played a leading role in the incentive travel industry and was recognized by Site Global as the ‘Chapter of the Year’ for 2009, and runner-up for 2010.

Upcoming Events October 13 -15 Site Global

International Conference Las Vegas Nevada

November 8

Site Canada Education Day

December 14

Site Canada Holiday Social

Site Canada welcomes you to experience unprecedented opportunities to network, learn and improve both professionally and personally. For information about joining Site, or attending an upcoming event, please email us at office@sitecanada.org or visit our website at www.sitecanada.org 10

MeetingsCanada.com

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Visit meetingscanada.com for daily news updates

9/27/11 1:47:24 PM


Meeting POINTS > TRAVEL GEAR

Bedbug-Resistant Luggage Bag The prospect of bringing bedbugs home in your luggage is a nightmare. Voila: BugZip luggage encasements, made of heavy-duty clear vinyl that resists tears and can hold suitcases of up to 28 inches wide, as well as most large duffle bags. The three-sided, bedbug-resistant zipper allows easy access to your clothes and belongings, while ‘zipping’ out bedbugs, at night, when they’re on the move. All BugZip encasements come flat-folded in a 10-inch x 13-inch x 1-inch retail bag, which fits into most suitcase pockets. BugZip is available in Canada at Urban Traveler, in Burlington, Ont.; Journeys Travel and Leisure, in Winnipeg; and Travel Smarts, in Burnaby, B.C. Products can also be ordered online. Canadian orders ship in one to two weeks. bugzip.com

> TRAVEL GEAR

> HOT IDEA

Online Group Travel Manager

Money-Saving Global Phone Card Take your cell phone abroad and not worry about huge roaming charges, thanks to OneSimCard. This global SIM saves you as much as 80 per cent on international roaming charges in more than 200 countries —in over 75 of those, incoming calls are free. Incoming SMS text messages are free everywhere. By adding personal extra numbers to your OneSimCard account, you can receive calls made to your domestic cell phone and/or landline. And with OneSimCard, you can travel from country to country and keep your same phone number. Available from the company’s website or major retailers such as amazon.com. onesimcard.com

Visit meetingscanada.com for daily news updates

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With TripIt, group travel planning and management is a snap. No more cutting and pasting. Just forward flight, hotel and rental-car confirmation e-mails to plans@tripit.com, with the traveller’s e-mail in the subject line, and TripIt creates personal itineraries. Plus, you can organize all your travellers, all in one spot, with the TripIt for Business dashboard, which puts you in total control, so you can respond before, during and after takeoff. Moreover, every traveller has instant access to their itineraries—on their mobile phone, e-mail and the web. Everyone receives a shared company calendar to know where colleagues are, and when they’re coming back. tripit.com

MeetingsCanada.com

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Meeting POINTS > CONFERENCE WRAP-UP

MPI WEC 2011

At WEC 2011 from left to right: Geoff Mak, Allstream Centre, Christine Otsuka, M⁢ Sharfella Gill, International Centre; Trevor Lui, International Centre; Paola Silk, Tourism Toronto; and Karen Farquharson, Miami Air International

This year’s MPI World Education Congress took place July 23-26 at the Orange County Convention Center, in Orlando, Fla. The conference was redesigned for what MPI calls “The New Rules of Engagement,” to reflect the changing landscape of the meetings industry. TALKING POINTS Conference hot topics were closely aligned with MPI’s new rules of engagement, which include proving the value of meetings and measuring their performance; embracing technology, both established and experimental; and designing meetings that have positive economic, social and environmental impact. Another theme —having the courage to act, innovate and inspire—was brought to life by keynote speaker Simon Sinek, who also spoke at IncentiveWorks in 2010. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) was top of mind, with MPI organizing eight show-related CSR projects, including a soap-recovery programme, where participants help recycle soaps, collected from more than 1,000 hotels throughout North America, and prepare them for distribution to families in need. WHAT YOU MISSED The 2011 show had no trade-show component and featured two new networking experiences and an increased emphasis on the hosted buyer programme. Other changes include a downloadable smartphone app and virtual component to the show, dubbed WEC Live Online, which provided no-cost access to show content for those not in Orlando. The Hive, an interactive area tucked away from the session rooms, gave personal attention to attendees, offering hands-on learning, social media tutorials and a greater understanding of current trends and tools. There was also a stage for technology-focused presentations and access to industry experts and speakers. Additionally, MPI hinted that there will be changes to the CMP programme in 2012 that will make it more of a global standard. —Christine Otsuka

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MeetingsCanada.com

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Visit meetingscanada.com for daily news updates

9/27/11 1:47:46 PM


More. More white hats. More planning support. More sunny skies. More exibility. More energy. More direct ights. More meeting-friendly. More attendees. Find out how Calgary offers you more. Toll-free 1 877 710 6338 www.meetingscalgary.com

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Meeting POINTS > PAPARAZZI

Quebec Cup

The presentation of the Quebec Cup cheque to MPI Foundation at the June 6 golf tournament. From left to right: Joe Nishi, chair, MPI Foundation Canada; Susan Prophet, director, MC&IT, Destination Quebec/Tourisme Quebec; Isabel Gil, director general, Destination Quebec/Tourisme Quebec; and Alain Dupont, director, market strategy and business development, Tourisme Quebec.

MPI WEC 2011 in Orlando, Fla. Meeting industry professionals from around the world gathered at the Orange County Convention Center July 23-26. Above Alice Parnis, EventFusion; Susan Prophet, Quebec Tourisme/Destination Quebec; Kelly Shannon, Peller Estates. Right Jennifer Campbell, BDO Dunwoody and Leanne Hay, CMP, Maxvantage.

SITE Summer Social

SITE PHOTO Courtesy of The Image Commission

M&IT’s Don Douloff and MPI’s Leslie Wright, at the Site Summer Social, on July 13, which raised over $18,000 for Childhood Cancer Canada and the Site education fund.

CSAE Conference, Saskatoon, Sask. M&IT’s Marci Vigeant-Christie (centre, front) and rocker Jim Cuddy (centre, back), of Blue Rodeo fame, with members of the Regina Convention Team. Earlier that night (Sept. 15), Cuddy thrilled the Regina Convention Team’s 60 exclusive invited guests with an intimate, 75-minute-plus performance at Staqatto Piano House, at Tusq restaurant. The three-day conference and showcase unfolded at a number of Saskatoon venues.

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MeetingsCanada.com

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Visit meetingscanada.com for daily news updates

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UNT2


SITE PHOTO Courtesy of The Image Commission

social & corporate events • cocktail receptions press conferences • workshops • seminars

toronto

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The perfect meeting needs the perfect touch.

P L AY I N S T Y L E

Work in style at Sco�sdale’s most accommodating event destination with Four Diamond rooms and plenty of indoor/outdoor meeting space for groups up to 2,000. Then play in style with our world-class dining options, luxury spa, thrilling casino and championship golf. SCOTTSDALE | 877.724.4687 | TALKINGSTICKRESORT.COM Proudly owned and operated by the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.

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Held Aug. 23 and 24, this year’s IncentiveWorks (our 20th Anniversary edition!) saw over 5,000 people networking and doing business. This year, we offered a web-based app providing exhibitor listings, floorplan, session descriptions and more. Tourism Toronto’s Interactive Zone featured a Wii bowling competition and how-to sessions on the art of mehndi; making your personal comic strip; and the ins and outs of being a DJ. photos by Donna santos

Top: The trade-show floor; above: Porter Airlines pilot, with flight attendant; above, right: an elaborately costumed performer at Tourism Toronto’s Interactive Zone; above, far right: session presenter Seth Mattison; right: Hosted Buyers Clint Upchurch, Kate Bailey (left) and Trish Ryter; below: keynote Josh Linkner.

MeetingsCanada.com /incentiveworks

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save the date! August 21 + 22, 2012 Above: Chef Massimo Capra, with friends; above, far right: Hosted Buyers group shot; right: IncentiveWorks’ 20th Anniversary cupcakes; far right: dance troupe Sole Power; below: Jane Wallbridge enjoys a keynote session; below, right: keynote Peter Sheahan; below, left: action on the trade-show floor; below, bottom right: M&IT’s Sonja Chilcott hosts the magazine’s Hall of Fame dinner.

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MeetingsCanada.com/incentiveworks

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Small Budget, Big Strategy Understanding your message, audience and buying cycle will help you get the most out of even the smallest marketing budget. written by KEN WONG

I Ken Wong is vice-president of Toronto-based Level 5 Consulting and is a professor in the faculty at Queen’s University School of Business. E-mail: kwong@business.queensu.ca

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t’s tough to be a small-budget marketer (SBM) in a world where sales volumes and marketing spending tend to go hand-in-hand. But the challenge goes beyond generating sales: as small media buyers, SBMs have less access to prime advertising rates and space. Small wonder, then, that in challenging economic times, these firms are often tempted to drop marketing. But smaller-budget firms should not give up. Nor should they start looking to do “marketing on the cheap.” Often, the very practices they turn to in order to “save” money do just the opposite. Here are some of the more common mistakes that SBMs make in trying to stretch their dollars. > Avoid Token Marketing The first rule for all marketers is to never spend without a specific purpose in mind. Too often, firms run generic ads or engage in other promotional activity (including buying corporate swag) just because they think it’s standard practice. These firms would be just as well served by doing nothing at all. You advertise to increase sales. But no one buys anything indiscriminately and no one pays attention to ads unless they know they will soon be making a purchase. Knowing your customer’s buying cycle is essential in order to give your marketing the opportunity to be noticed. But it is not enough to be noticed. It also needs to be acted upon. That’s why you should only advertise if you have something important for a customer to hear. You’ll know it’s important if it provides customers with a compelling reason to act. Since products are bought to solve “problems,” focus your ad around that problem, so the buyer doesn’t have to think too hard to make the link as to why they should contact you. Finally, make it easy for the potential customer to act as soon as possible. Customers won’t commit your message to memory, so the longer they wait to contact you, the more likely your marketing will be forgotten. Forget phrases like “look for

us at the conference” or “ask your dealer”; drive buyers to a source of further information or personal contact. > Be Careful of False Bargains Your ad can’t work if no one sees it. So you always want to be in the publications most-read, the radio time slots most-heard, the social networks with the most members, and so on. You will pay more to be in these locations, but less expensive media that cannot deliver audience are not a bargain, no matter how inexpensive. You can never pay too much to reach the right audience. > Know Your Media’s Audience Profile Notwithstanding the above, there is no value in reaching someone who isn’t likely to buy from you. SBMs often have a niche product that appeals to a very specific customer segment. Media charge on the basis of the size of their audience, but if the audience is diverse, you may find yourself paying to reach people outside your target segment. > Don’t Run Promotions, Manage Campaigns. If you only run an ad one time, then you are trusting that everyone who should see it, will see it. Running the ad in multiple publications will increase the likelihood that the ad is seen. Moreover, repeated exposure to the ad will help ensure your ad is understood and remembered. > Watch for Special Theme Publications These editions can be one of your most important advertising vehicles if you can forge a meaningful link between your product or service and that theme. Plus, your competitors will be there, too. As you can see from the above, there’s no magic bullet to marketing with a small budget. Nor is it rocket science. It is more a matter of taking some time to apply some critical thinking to your marketing expenditures. The biggest mistake an SBM can make is to allocate thinking time that is proportional to their budget. You need to have a systematic approach when your budget is small; otherwise, your small budget will produce small results.

MeetingsCanada.com

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Ottawa Convention Centre

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Low-Cost Communication Strategies When it comes to social media marketing, even a bite-sized budget can yield super-sized results, with a bit of research and an understanding of your customers’ tastes. written by KEVIN DURKEE

W Kevin Durkee is strategic consultant with Diamond Integrated Marketing. E-mail: kevin@experiencediamond.com

hen planning an event or conference, simply feeding and watering your guests can push your budget to its breaking point. Often, there is not a lot of money available for promotion or marketing. This means that you’ll have to dedicate some time to promoting your event yourself. Luckily, social media (for the most part) offers a number of low-cost communication channels that, if well established, can reap instant and affordable benefits. In my columns in M&IT magazine and presentations at IncentiveWorks, I have said that using social media and the inherent technology that comes along with it is a cost-effective way to spread your news, activity and information. With a few well-fuelled social-media channels, a small budget can go a long way.

SUCCINCT MESSAGE But where should you spend the money? Spend it on your message and your brand. If budgets are tight, a succinct message is your best investment. Spend the time and some dollars on a ‘style guide’ of strong messages, collateral materials and graphics, but make sure they are flexible. With your arsenal of event images, copy points and online materials, you can spend just a few hours and populate Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and Flickr groups with your content—and you’ll know that it’s all on-message. To cut further communication waste and make your money go further, follow your competitors. Within any industry, it’s critical to keep an eye on the competition. And it’s especially easy with social media. Event planners and professionals should follow and/or audit their competitors or industry-minded events, properties and conferences to understand what’s important, what’s being reviewed and what’s being consumed. There’s no sense spending important dollars from a small budget on things that are going to be ignored or unused. Check out what is working on competitive sites. Are photo galleries being reviewed and commented on? Did a video draw

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you in? Were you sent a link that asked you to sign up for more info? Look at your competitors’ socialmedia elements that are working and invest in them. There’s no point in building an expensive app on your Facebook page if your audience doesn’t have an appetite for it. DRIVE ENGAGEMENT Don’t forget to use what you have. Small budgets can be stretched if you can take your current activity and drive more engagement from it. Consider executing a mini-focus-group the next time you run an event. Contact 20 to 30 attendees through Facebook or Twitter and ask them to join you for a special ‘secret’ session to offer feedback on you, the event and their experience. It will likely only cost you a round of drinks or coffee to glean invaluable content and feedback on which you can act. Plus, by using social media, your invitees will feel special and ‘in the know,’ and in return, they’ll share their, and your, success stories with their friends and colleagues. Finally, when managing your social media elements on a small budget, remember the golden rule: You get what you pay for. When trying to maximize your operating dollars, it’s easy to get swept up in the buzz and designate ‘junior staff ’ to manage your social networks, because they ‘get it.’ But are these staff the best brand stewards for your business? Can they handle customer-service concerns? How are they in a crisis? Resist the temptation to make your social media an afterthought or just an add-on. Decide what you want to say, how you want to act with your customers/attendees, and stay the course. Put resources in place to bring your vision to life. A team member may see the increased responsibility as a promotion of sorts, hire an agency and keep them on a social-media-communications calendar to manage costs. Social media is a cost-effective option, but beware. Cutting too many corners may prove costly in the long run. How are you saving money using social media? E-mail me and I might feature your success in a future article.

MeetingsCanada.com

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feature > Incentive Trends

Times have changed and the incentive industry simply isn’t what it used to be. But who said that’s a bad thing? written by M&IT STAFF

At one time, incentives and rewards were reserved for sales programmes. However, the proven power of incentives to drive employee engagement and customer loyalty has caused incentive firms to expand their focus. Recent research by the U.S.based Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) offers insights about where this dynamic industry is heading. M&IT highlights some of the IRF’s most pertinent findings:

THE NEW NORMAL In its report, “Driving Our Future,” the IRF observes that the incentive business is settling into a new, lower level of activity. This “new normal” is not cause for alarm. Rather than cutting incentive programmes, organizations are beginning to adapt in ways that make for stronger business models. Incentive planners are developing new ways to justify programmes, focusing only on business prospects with well-qualified potential and molding travel programmes to fit into budgetary constraints.

and necessity. For some planners, that means switching to domestic travel from international travel, as well as a reduction of qualifiers, fewer management attendees, fewer room gifts and less-than-five-star hotel properties.

EXPERIENCE OVER PRODUCT With the apparent growth in affordable massage services, a rise in ‘vocation vacations’ and the incredible number of deals featured on group-buying sites that highlight experiences and services rather than products, it would appear that these days, what people want is the experience. While a memorable experience has always been the anchor of incentive travel, the IRF reports that merchandise incentives now need to incorporate experiences to reflect this change in preferences.

NON-CASH REWARDS Variable pay (pay above and beyond an employee’s salary), which was once an “alternative” reward, is becoming an integral part of companies’ compensation plans, according to the IRF. Just fewer than 40 per cent of companies worldwide have increased—or plan to increase—the proportion of variable pay in their employees’ pay packets, reports global management consulting firm Hay Group. In addition, there continues to be an unsurprisingly healthy interest in non-financial motivators. Non-cash motivators, such as praise from managers, attention from leaders and the opportunity to direct projects, are reportedly as effective as monetary methods. Clutching the purse strings provides business leaders with a chance to more effectively reward talented employees by emphasizing non-financial motivators in concert with cash rewards.

CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY An increased interest in corporate social responsibility can be felt across the planning industry. This is in part due to a reprioritization of what’s important. The IRF report estimates there are 43-million people dedicated to personal and planetary health, who make environmentally friendly purchases, support advocacy programmes and act as stewards of the environment. The Global Workforce Study found that

REDEFINING WHAT’S NECESSARY Most incentive planners, and meeting planners for that matter, would agree that we, as people, are now more sensitive to extravagance. It’s caused us to think carefully about how we define extravagance

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Source: “Driving Our Future: The Top 11 Incentive Trends for 2011.” Read the full report at theIRF.org

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corporate social responsibility is the thirdmost-important driver of employee engagement. These facts alone suggest incorporating elements of health and sustainability into incentive programmes will not only be well regarded, but expected, now and in the future.

THE VIRTUAL JUGGERNAUT Regardless of your personal feelings toward the virtual world, it’s nearly impossible to disregard the growth in all things virtual. Beyond virtual meetings and events, there are virtual employees, virtual money; the list goes on. According to U.S. research heavyweight Bernstein Research, over the next decade, virtual meetings could replace nearly 70 per cent of travel to and from an organization’s own facilities, and 10 per cent of trips to visit customers. The result? Expect to see an aggregate reduction in corporate travel spending, to the tune of more than 20 per cent. So before you push the virtual space aside, consider accommodating virtual products and solutions into your incentive plan, as the IRF deems them an important part of programmes, moving forward.

IDEAS ARE ONLY AS GOOD AS THEIR INSPIRATION

GROWTH OF GAMING While highly entertaining, computer games will be explored for application to motivation programmes. According to the National Training Laboratories, those who engage with games as part of an education process retain 75 per cent of the knowledge they acquire. The IRF reports that computer games are already a fixture in many organizations’ incentive-programme promotion, communication and training. Many games use “points” to award for performance and improvement and the IRF suggests it’s only a matter of time before gaming and token economies will be mainstream in incentive programmes. It’s true, the incentive industry has faced challenges, and those challenges have affected the use and perception of incentives. But as the IRF’s report has illuminated, with change comes opportunity. Planners, clients, employees and employers are bearing witness to an industry that’s adapted and evolved in spite of roadblocks, and has used alternative routes and innovated, to further integrate technology into incentive programmes and strive for another level of success.

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budgeting

Planners are always looking for ways to get the most bang for their meetings and events buck. But by digging deep into their bag of tricks, and applying a little creativity, it can be done. written by allan lynch s indicated in our 2011 Market Report Survey, planners were expecting higher meeting spends this year, with association/not for-profit planners predicting a 16-per-cent increase, and third-party planners predicting 7-per-cent growth in spend. Yet regardless of the size of their budget, savvy planners always look for the best way to maximize their bang-for-buck. With a little creativity, it can be done. Food and beverage—an integral part of any meeting, and chewing up a large part of meeting and events budget—is one key area. Heidi Bardoel, conference and event planner for a financial institution, pushes to eliminate waste by not observing an end time for her breaks. Knowing appetites and thirst last beyond a scheduled break, Bardoel says, “When I request a coffee break for the group, I request that the dirty dishes be cleaned up and taken away, but the break items and beverages, that are paid-for whether consumed or not, stay out until lunch (in the morning) or end of day (p.m. break). Our people appreciate it and have gotten accustomed to it being there.”

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REDESIGNED BREAKS While Bardoel’s company is still providing pastries, other planners aren’t. Over at Canadian Tire, corporate event advisor Dianne Smirl says the company redesigned their breaks to a more conventional coffee/juice and snack. Smirl says dropping their standard pastry or specialty ice cream bar offering from their Las Vegas convention saved $10,000 a day! But, like others, she’s drawing the line in protecting main meals. “My rule is: the only thing people remember after an event is good food and ‘did I have a good time?’ So that’s one area I’ve tried to protect as much as I can.” Francine Socket, Principal at Francine Socket and Associates Event Architects, Toronto, has a variety of ideas in her budgetboosting arsenal. “You can have food stations, which cuts down on staff and chef prep time, because when you have the little fancy hors d’oeuvres, there’s a lot of prep involved.” The size of the savings is relative to the group, but Socket is well into double-digit percentage cuts. Sarah Lowis, president of Vancover’s Sea to Sky Meeting

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Management, also plays with appearance, putting low-end items— chips and mixed nuts—in high-end containers (like martini glasses) to give the appearance of more, and elevate the decor. For meals, she’s opting to cut a course, which is saving about $10 per person (with tax and gratuity). But she warns, “you have to watch, because some hotels require you have a three-course meal, so they guarantee X-amount of revenue per meal. That’s sort of a recent development.” BITE-SIZED PORTIONS Bite-sized portions of comfort foods is another avenue to consider —creatively wrought sliders, for instance, or upscale versions of the ever-popular grilled-cheese sandwich. The bite-size philosophy also applies to desserts. Pot de creme (the trendy, cream-rich custard) lends itself to tiny ramekins, as does panna cotta, the equally trendy eggless custards. Jazz either up with intense dark chocolate, or salted caramel drizzled with chocolate, and your guests won’t even notice how small they are. Another benefit of eating stations, in lieu of passed hors d’oeuvres, is that they reduce staff costs and provide an opportunity for upscale but inexpensive snacks (say, freshly made popcorn drizzled with white-truffle oil and freshly ground black pepper; or made-on-site potato chips with exotic spices). Substitute lower-priced ingredients, with similar results. Cod, for instance, instead of higher-priced halibut, will deliver the same-quality fish ’n’ chips and still put smiles on your attendees’ faces. Opt for smaller portions of highly spiced foods. Draw on the vast and delicious Asian spice rack, and you’ll be able to dazzle taste buds and not break the bank. DECOR STRATEGIES When it comes to decor—and just about anything else—the battle cry is, ‘all hands on deck’. At Montreal-based Eviva Events, president Valerie Mondou’s team, from front office to account executive, is saving money by doing its own setup and tear-down whenever possible. Eviva is also providing some decor elements—centrepieces, linens, screens, projectors—from its own inventory. Sea to Sky is checking venue inventory, to determine the potential of building a theme with in-house items. When looking to squeeze maximum value for her event spend, Socket prefers to use lighting for decor. “You can do a lot with lighting in terms of creating an atmosphere that doesn’t require a lot of additional elements.” She further shaves costs by establishing relationships with vendors for AV and lighting. For her part, Claire Fitzpatrick, CMP, of CF Conference & Event Management Services, shows great resourcefulness and a do-ityourself attitude when it comes to decor. She bought bevelled-edge mirrored tiles from Home Depot and has used them for a number of events, and keeps them on-hand as a go-to decor element. And she uses the hotel’s votives and adds coloured-glass stones. For another event, she bought teapots at the thrift shop and put flowers in them. Socket has her own decor tricks. “Sometimes less is more! Stick with a simple colour scheme and keep things clean and uncluttered.” This results in a more modern aesthetic, she says, and is easy on the budget, too.

My rule is: the only thing people remember after an event is good food and So that’s one area I’ve tried to protect as much as I can. — Dianne Smirl, Corporate Event Advisor, Canadian Tire

“The most significant aspect of your event, and really the most memorable one, will be the room’s atmosphere,” says Mondou, “and what better way to create it than with LED lighting?” STAFF DRESS Lowis has added unique visual sparkle, and taken some strain off her budget, by concentrating on staff dress. Paying more (around $10 per staffer) to have Fairmont provide their Royal Service, which puts staff in tails, bow ties and white gloves, diverts focus from the room. Smirl has the advantage of being able to raid stores and warehouses for items to decorate rooms. Her philosophy is, “whenever possible, we use our own product. But even in past lives and working in trade shows and decoring out a booth, I was amazed at how many of our clients didn’t actually use their own products in decor. They’re out buying accent pieces that you would find at Pier 1.” Among Canadian Tire’s budget-boosting initiatives is to move some off-site retail events back into the store. For off-site events that survive, budgets are further stretched by ditching outside signage, table tents and decorative items like coloured napkins. At larger events, instead of draping the whole room, Smirl drapes only one wall in white as a backdrop for the corporate logo. It cuts her cost by 75 per cent. Decor isn’t the only area that can be creatively managed. In terms of technology, most planners are cutting back from four, to one or two, big screens for presentations. And like their dealings with chefs, they’re showing their budget to the technical people to see what they can do for X-amount of money. STAFFING On the staffing front, Canadian Tire is doing everything to cut travel costs. It cut staff participation in its dealer convention in Las Vegas in half (two instead of four), hiring replacements from a local temp agency. The company also bought registration software, bringing this function in-house. These days, you may not be able to control the budget you’re allotted, but you can control how you spend it. With some forethought, you can squeeze full value out of every loonie. — Allan Lynch is a New Minas, N.S.-based freelance writer MeetingsCanada.com

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THE BIG REWARD Book a meeting at any of our Canadian locations, and get up to 250,000 bonus points. From Edmonton to Fredericton, Niagara Falls to Montreal, Crowne Plaza® has the perfect meeting place for you—7 locations in Canada alone. And the more room nights you book before October 31, 2011 and use for meetings before December 30, 2011, the more you can earn, including The Big Reward—up to 250,000 bonus Priority Club® points. That’s ten times the usual bonus. Of course, there are plenty of other reasons to choose Crowne Plaza for meetings, including our spacious meeting facilities, our full-service dining options, luxurious rooms, plush bedding and bath amenities, and our two-hour response guarantee. To submit an RFP or book a meeting at any of our Crowne Plaza hotels, go to CrownePlaza.com/Canada.

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Meeting Planner and Referring Third Party must be members of Priority Club Meeting Rewards prior to booking. Offer available at participating Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Latin America for a qualified meeting. Qualified meeting must be booked by October 31, 2011 and conducted by December 30, 2011. A qualified meeting or group stay requires ten or more paid guest rooms for at least one peak night of the event and must include qualified catering/banqueting events. Subject to availability and blackout dates. Cannot be combined with any other offer. Not valid with group bookings affiliated with city-wide conventions. Planner must request bonus points offer and it must be recorded in the hotel sales contract at time of booking. Priority Club is a registered trademark of Six Continents Hotels, Inc. ©2011 InterContinental Hotels Group. All rights reserved. Most hotels are independently owned and/or operated.

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Budget-Friendly catering Tips

7. Find out what your overset is for F&B. Incorporate it

into your guarantee.

Looking for more ways to save? Here are some tips from M&IT Hall of Famer and veteran planner Marsha Jones, CMP, CMM, Luxury Coach:

8. Choose buffet or boxed lunches; this will cut costs.

technical production

transportation

9. Eliminate redundancy in equipment. Maximize its

use during the programme.

Look into two-way transfers vs. shuttle. 2. Piggyback transportation—use the same transportation for day and evening. 1.

registration

10. Get a quote on in-house providers and

outside sources.

decor

11. Use candles, candles and more candles. Lots of look

3. Pre-register your group—the more info you can

for little money.

gather, the more successful you can plan and budget. 4. Coincide sign-ups and registrations with contract release dates.

12. Don’t create ceiling displays. Labour is costly!

5. Select venues with on-site food and beverage.

14. Source local entertainers.

facilities + venues

6. Negotiate staff and entertainment accommodation

rates for suppliers and crew.

Meet

13. Schedule installation/dismantle during regular hours,

so as not to incur overtime charges.

entertainment

15. Incorporate your preferred entertainment more than

once throughout the programme.

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quebec

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A Model Of Meeting Success Versatility, prestige and exceptionally high standards have earned Centre Mont-Royal its stellar reputation over the last decade in the Canadian business events community.

entre Mont-Royal has carved out an enviable niche in the Montreal meetings landscape, from its inception, by remaining ahead of the curve. When it opened its doors 10 years ago, Centre MontRoyal was the only facility of its kind—a true-to-form meeting environment with a strong commitment to business events. While evolving to offer even more to their clients, through special-events space and business amenities, Centre Mont-Royal has maintained its celebrated status as a chameleon-like conference facility as it celebrates its tenth anniversary. Meetings Matter Centre Mont-Royal is a true meeting environment, with 50,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, while its downtown Montreal location puts delegates mere steps from 3,000 finely appointed hotel rooms. At Centre Mont-Royal, there are no mundane banquet halls. Instead, the multi-purpose facility features a grand ballroom, foyers with floor-to-ceiling windows and a VIP lounge. A plethora of boardrooms and bright and airy meeting rooms accommodate 10 to 850 guests. Meeting spaces feature soundproof rooms and individual room-climate controls, to ensure meetinggoers are both focused and comfortable. An outdoor terrace, overlooking Mansfield

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Street, provides the perfect setting for cocktail receptions for up to 100 people. One of Centre Mont-Royal’s most enticing spaces is the Symposia Theatre. The ultramodern 730-seat amphitheatre has earned a reputation of its own as a remarkable backdrop for awards ceremonies, concerts, plenary sessions and performances. Centre Mont-Royal’s technical capabilities have been designed to meet the most sophisticated standards. The facility offers on-site audiovisual and multimedia services provided by CCR Solutions, which include: simultaneous live webcasts to different rooms or countries; press rooms; wireless delegate voting response systems; production facilities for immediate distribution of tapes or CDs; high-quality videoconference facilities for off-site speaker participation; and wideband high-speed Internet access for participants and exhibit booths. To The Highest Standard Centre Mont-Royal’s high standards and commitment to meetings—seen in the details, such as ergonomic swivel chairs and laminated, non-reflective writing tables—has earned the facility an accredited membership with the International Association of Conference Centres of North America (IACC), which holds its members to the highest standards in the meeting industry.

Centre Mont-Royal is truly a high-calibre “meeting space,” hosting the likes of former president Bill Clinton, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, former athlete and speaker Lance Armstrong and musician Akon. The level of corporate speakers and performers who have graced the Symposia theatre stage is a testament to Centre Mont-Royal’s high standards for its facilities and events. This commitment to quality extends from Centre Mont-Royal’s meeting facilities to its culinary offerings. Understanding that the perfect meeting and gastronomic experience go hand-inhand, Centre Mont-Royal’s renowned culinary team is on-site to create everything from simple, local fare to the most complex, original menus for your group. Renowned executive chef Yves Malenfant and his culinary brigade will whip up creations that are sure to please even the most discerning palate. Sample the chef’s salmon with vermouth and pink peppercorns, emince of beef with peppers a la Provencale, or a raspberry dome of white chocolate mousse and raspberries and see for yourself. Facing McGill University’s historic campus, in the very heart of the business district, Centre Mont-Royal is easily accessible by car, through the underground city or via public transit. The meeting facility is a 15-minute taxi ride from Montreal’s international airport and multi-level parking is available on-site. With a convenient location, versatile and well-designed meeting space and an emphasis on quality food and beverage, Centre Mont-Royal continues its reign as one of Canada’s most unique venues for meetings and events.

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QUEBEC

Tourism Montreal

Style and Substance With its modern and historic event spaces, luxury and boutique hotels and world-class congress centre, Montreal delivers remarkable meetings and exceptional events. ew cities in the world rival Montreal. Historic and modern, charming and chic, Montreal provides an enchanting backdrop for meetings and events. The city’s sophistication, historic buildings and event spaces have not gone unnoticed. Quebec’s largest metropolis is also North America’s first UNESCO City of Design. But on top of that, Montreal is a city of style and substance. Ranked one of the top North American cities for international association events by the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), Montreal has hosted countless international events for associations and companies such as TELUS, The International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine and the International Fertilizer Association. In 2017, Montreal will host the World Fire and Police Games. It’s no surprise North America’s most bilingual city has international appeal, given both its accessibility from almost any destination (more than 40 airlines offer nonstop service to Montreal) and its incredible collection of deluxe hotel chains, boutique properties and special event venues. The piece de resistance is, undoubtedly, The Palais des congres de Montreal. With its downtown location, the city’s convention centre is in the centre of it all, linking Montreal’s business district, international district,

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the old city and Chinatown. The ultramodern and generously lit Palais has more than 550,000 sq. ft. of rental space, including 113 meeting venues and three terraces. Rest assured, the Palais is within walking distance of 15,000 hotel rooms, 4,000 of which are connected to the Palais via an Underground Pedestrian Network – the largest of its kind in the world, which consists of 32 km. of weather-protected passageways that connect to the subway, hotels, shops and restaurants. Montreal provides a wide array of exceptional off-site venues within walking distance of the convention centre. If you’re looking for an inspirational venue, the Montreal Science Centre has incredible panoramic views in modern, industrial spaces. For something more traditional, try the Windsor Station. Built in 1889, this former train station has been converted into office and rental space that can accommodate groups as large as 1,000. Or for that certain “je ne sais quoi,” the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts provides a cultural backdrop to your next reception, with dazzling spaces such as the appropriately named Glass Court, that can accommodate up to 500. At the end of a long day, delegates can relax at one of Montreal’s wide array of superb hotels, which include six five-star properties, deluxe and international hotel

chains and gem-like boutique hotels. Nearly 27,000 guestrooms (15,000 of which are downtown) provide planners with ample choice. For multi-hotel bookings, Montreal features pockets of hotel properties, such as the Golden Mile or the Power of Five. Beyond the city’s grand hotels and event spaces, explore what makes Montreal appealing the world over, all within walking distance of the downtown core. Old Montreal, the city’s historic quarter, will enchant your group with its mix of Old World charm and modern flair. Cafes, boutique hotels and gourmet restaurants can all be found along cobblestone streets. Dine around North America’s gastronomic capital at any one of its 6,500 restaurants, representing 80 different cuisines. Whether you prefer local fare, international chefs, quiet bistros, or five-star dining, Montreal has it all. Find that special something along Sainte-Catherine Street, a nine-mile stretch of downtown Montreal comprised of 1,200 boutiques. Or when the weather turns cool, head to the Underground Pedestrian Network, filled with shops, movie theatres, restaurants and more. Whatever your pleasure, Tourism Montreal’s team and industry partners will work together to build an inspired programme to suit the needs of your group.

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In Montréal, we’ve got all the nuts and bolts to help you plan a successful event— like our ultramodern convention centre, the Palais des congrès (with more than 500,000 sq. ft. of meeting space), over 26,500 downtown hotel rooms and Team Montréal, always on hand to make sure your event runs flawlessly. To top it off, Montréal is just next door. Experience the artfully creative culture that doesn’t hesitate to pull out all the stops. tourisme-montreal.org/meet

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QUEBEC

Le Westin Montreal

The Extra Mile Le Westin Montreal boasts modern meeting spaces and city views, but it’s their commitment to service and satisfaction that makes them stand out from the pack.

he history and elegance of three restored heritage buildings combine with the sleek sophistication of an ultramodern 22-storey hotel tower in Le Westin Montreal. Ideally located across the street from the city’s main convention facility, the Palais des Congres, Le Westin Montreal’s dedication to exceptional, stylish meetings is apparent from all angles. A stunning glass-bottomed pool provides a lobby focal point, while three dedicated elevators that travel from the lobby to the meeting floors ensure not a second is wasted. Le Westin Montreal’s staff goes the extra mile to ensure planners receive everything they need. Planners can expect their own windowed office on their meeting room floor—a rarity in hotels—and superior service, which at times can include surprises with a personal touch. The newly designed eighth floor provides the perfect setting for exhibitions. The open-concept hall accommodates 80 booths and features eight breakout rooms. Planners can feel good about their decision to choose Le Westin Montreal. The hotel’s green initiatives have earned Le Westin Montreal a Four Green Key Eco-Rating, and the hotel is dedicated to securing a Five Green Key Eco-Rating by the end of 2012.

Fashion WeekFriendly Service

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2011 marked the third year that Le Westin Montreal played host to numerous delegates of Montreal Fashion Week. The 21st edition of La Semaine De La Mode de Montreal drew designers, stylists, models and fashionistas from across the globe to stay at Le Westin Montreal. A handful of guests of Le Westin Montreal were treated to a VIP weekend at Montreal Fashion Week, which included limousine service to the runway shows, backstage access, makeovers from top stylists and makeup artists and meet-and-greets with designers and models.

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Luc-Antoine Couturier

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FACE TIME: THE IMPORTANCE OF MEETING Did you think that advances in telecommunications would eliminate the need for in-person meetings? Think again! Now more than ever, complex issues require a common vision, close collaboration and joint effort. This unique combination is difficult to achieve via a screen… BY KARINE HUSSON

Imagine a Christmas dinner in which the guests are all seated, not around the table, but at their desk, each in their own home. Onscreen, they can see Grandma in high definition and can all raise their glass in unison. A marvel of modern technology? Maybe. But one key ingredient is missing: human contact! The same contact is vital in the business world. Yes, new technologies shorten distances and save time, but how do they affect professional relationships? To what degree can a virtual meeting truly rally the troops? Face-to-face meetings have undeniable power: to make connections, give interactions meaning and create long-lasting results. In a world in which success is hinged on creativity, giving your team the opportunity to meet, share a clear vision, set goals and come up with new ways to reach them is a wise investment. But that is not all. At a conference, participants are not in the same mind frame as in the workplace, a controlled environment that targets specific issues. They are more

open, more receptive. And most importantly, they are available. Convinced? Now where to hold this meeting… Look no further! Absolutely nothing compares to Québec City. Your time is precious? The airport is only minutes from the downtown area and there are no traffic jams to slow you down. Your participants are demanding? Québec City is known for the quality of its hotels, dining and meeting rooms. What is more, the city’s historic charm, cultural vitality and numerous attractions never fail to impress. With a destination that holds this much promise, we bet your event will meet—even exceed— its objectives!

“Giving your team the opportunity to meet, share a clear vision, set goals and come up with new ways to reach them is a wise investment.”

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Québec City Convention Centre

CENTRE OF THE WORLD What makes Québec City so appealing? It thinks big while remaining charmingly small. The city has carved a choice place for itself on the international scene, with the Québec City Convention Centre playing a key role. QUÉBEC CITY CONVENTION CENTRE Meeting rooms: up to 33 Exhibition space: 9,270 m2 (99,780 sq. ft.) Largest hall: 7,500 seats Largest banquet hall: 4,780 seats

ACCOMMODATIONS Total number of rooms: over 12,000 Prestigious rooms located near the Convention Centre: 3,284 Rooms linked to the Convention Centre: 948

15 MINUTES THE DOWNTOWN AREA AND AIRPORT ARE ONLY 15 MINUTES APART.

Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport

ALL ROADS LEAD TO QUÉBEC CITY A business destination extraordinaire, Québec City has several points in its favour, including easy access and proximity to key locations, two advantages worth their weight in gold! BY PLANE Only 15 minutes from the downtown area, the newly modernized JeanLesage International Airport offers several daily flights to and from Montréal (16 per day) and several hubs, including Toronto, New York (Newark), Washington, Chicago, Detroit and Philadelphia.

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BY TRAIN A rail network facilitates travel between Québec City and Montréal, Ottawa and Toronto. There are two train stations: Gare du Palais, in the Old Port, and Gare de Sainte-Foy, at the west entrance to the city.

BY COACH The city has two bus terminals: Terminus d’autobus de Québec, in the Old Port, and Gare d’autocar de Sainte-Foy, west of the city. Connections throughout Québec and the neighbouring provinces.

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Free YOU’LL NEVER FIND SUCH A MOMENTUM ON LINKEDIN!

edition

In the Web 2.0 world, face-to-face meetings are still the best way to generate momentum. Nothing beats face time for fostering direct communication, instant feedback and team spirit—and nothing beats Québec City as the business destination where it all comes together. With its world-class convention facilities, outstanding accommodations and services, and unique blend of Old World French charm and modern North American convenience, Québec City has everything you need to generate the momentum that will make your event a success. Our Account Execs help you every step of the way on the road to success. Logistical experts, they have boundless ideas for making your business meeting a truly sustainable event. RÉGIS FLEURY Account Executive regis.fleury@quebecregion.com 418-641-6654, ext. 5424

Québec City Tourism and its partners are proud to offer you the second edition of Momentum magazine to help you discover everything the Québec City area has to offer. We look forward to hosting your next business meeting!

HAPPY READINGS! Order your copy or read it online at www.quebecregion.com/business

NANCY DACRES Account Executive nancy.dacres@quebecregion.com 418-641-6654, ext. 5427

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QUEBEC

Montreal Airport Marriott

A New Standard With its award-winning downtown style, the Montreal Airport Marriott Hotel will change the way you think about airport hotels. he Montreal Airport Marriott is setting a new standard. Ideal for meetings, the newly built 279-room hotel features ample meeting space, with over 14,000 sq. ft. conveniently located on one floor. Floor-to-ceiling windows provide generous natural light in nearly all of the property’s 21 soundproof meeting rooms. Two glassenclosed boardrooms, floating atop the U.S. Departures terminal, are an example of the modern, sleek design that won the hotel the FERDIE Award for best interior design in the hotel category. The hotel is connected to the Montreal-Trudeau airport, a timesaver for meeting delegates and cost-saver for meeting planners, as no transportation is required to the hotel. The Bijou Bar serves up local fare created by executive chef Steve Chang, who won the 2010 ACE Award of Culinary Excellence. Beyond the trimmings, it’s the hotel’s outstanding service that has catapulted the Montreal Airport Marriott to new heights, including a top rating in its area on TripAdvisor.

THE NEW MONTRÉAL AIRPORT MARRIOTT YOUR GATEWAY TO MONTRÉAL The more events you book, the closer your dream vacation becomes. • Over 14,000 sq. ft. of exquisite meeting and event space • Floor-to-ceiling windows in 7 rooms, featuring natural lighting • 6,905 sq. ft. Opal Ballroom, perfect for large events To learn about Triple Rewarding Events, contact the Sales Department at 1-514-828-5188!

Montréal Airport Marriott 800, place Leigh-Capreol, Dorval, Québec H4Y 0A4 Canada www.montrealairportmarriott.com © 2011 Marriott Hotels and Resorts Canada, Inc.

Full of Festivities Check out a selection of what’s happening in Quebec in 2012, and align your event dates to take full advantage of what the province has to offer. QUEBEC CITY Quebec Winter Carnival Jan 27- Feb 12, 2012 carnaval.qc.ca Festival d’ete de Quebec (Quebec City Summer Festival) July 5-15, 2012 infofestival.com MONTREAL Festival International de Jazz de Montreal June 28-July 7, 2012 montrealjazzfest.com Just For Laughs Festival July 2012 dates TBA hahaha.com Grand Prix du Canada F1 June 8-10, 2012 circuitgillesvilleneuve.ca

LAURENTIANS Tremblant International Blues July 2012 dates TBA tremblant.ca OUTAOUAIS Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival August 31-Sept 3, 2012 montgolfieresgatineau.com Snowflake Kingdom – Winterlude February 3-20, 2012 gatineau.ca/fete DRUMMONDVILLE Mondial des Cultures de Drummondville 30th edition July 5-15, 2012 mondialdescultures.com

Advertising supplement to Meetings & Incentive Travel magazine

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Looking for more Quebec venues? Search MeetingsCanada.com for additional resources for your next meeting or event and much more...

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QUEBEC

Outaouais Tourism

Energize and Engage in Outaouais iscover the beauty of Outaouais. In West Quebec, on the very edge of the province, the region offers an escape from the ordinary, where groups can enjoy sophisticated metropolitan attractions in a spectacular natural setting. This multifaceted destination combines the cosmopolitan with country life, to offer something for everyone. Situated next to the nation’s capital, Ottawa, and located less than two hours from Montreal, Outaouais is among the province’s most popular business destinations. More than 170,000 sq. ft. of meeting space and 2,500 executive guestrooms can be found in Outaouais. While the region’s main city, Gatineau, has the necessary infrastructure to host all types of events and conferences, the region’s spectacular countryside resorts also offer a wide range of luxury amenities and activities for groups. The region’s largest conference venue, the Palais des Congres de Gatineau, has recently undergone a substantial renovation, ramping up the convention centre’s meeting space to 55,000 sq. ft. across 16 column-free rooms. The Palais’s meeting space features 23-ft. ceilings and its largest room—the Outaouais Room—can accommodate up to 4,500 guests. Meeting planners should check out the new Holiday Inn Plaza la Chaudiere, which will soon be re-branded a Crowne Plaza

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property, resulting in a major refurbishing project. As well, the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel and Conference Centre Gatineau-Ottawa completed a multimilliondollar renovation in July that includes a new guestroom design, a refreshed pool, fitness area and lobby, as well as L’Ardoise, an open-concept restaurant. Outaouais’s resorts strike a chord with corporate groups. Chateau Cartier Hotel offers delegates a peaceful escape only minutes from Ottawa. Amenities include an 18-hole golf course, first-class health club and spa, an indoor swimming pool and the new Ekko de Brasil restaurant. Less than an hour’s drive from Gatineau, you’ll find the five-star Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello. This 211-room hotel features 19 meeting rooms (including a brand-new, $6.2-million pavilion equipped with the latest technology), an 18-hole Stanley Thompson Golf course, a 4,000-sq.-ft. spa and the first and only Land Rover driving school in Canada. The region’s largest hotel, the Hilton LacLeamy, in Gatineau, is a stunning five-star property featuring a world-class casino, six restaurants, 349 guestrooms and nearly 51,000 sq. ft. of meeting and banquet space, including a 1,100-seat theatre. To further accommodate its business clients, the resort offers a 17-treatment-room spa and three executive floors with panoramic views. When it’s time to shake off the workday stress, explore the great outdoors. Take on North America’s highest bungee jump or, year-round, trek through the largest natural caves on the Canadian Shield. Discover the countryside with nearly 400 km. of bike paths or, during the cold season, enjoy cross-country skiing on one of the largest networks of trails in North America. Brave the heights with Outaouais’s three aerial parks or navigate trails and rolling hills on a dogsledding excursion…in all seasons! Indoors, groups can scale the walls of an old church converted into an indoor climbing and slack-lining venue, called Altitude Gym, or feel the rhythm of African hand drums through a creativity-promoting workshop, ideal for corporate team-

building. If training is on the agenda, kick it up a notch with Theatre Derives Urbaines, which creates plays adapted to client training needs, such as problemsolving methods and managing change. Few places offer the unique blend of city life and countryside for which the Outaouais region is known. From inspiring woodland retreats to conventions in the heart of downtown Gatineau, Outaouais Tourism can accommodate groups of all sizes and tastes. Experience all the region has to offer and let Outaouais Tourism’s team of professional consultants design the ideal experience for your group.

PHOTOS Casino du Lac-Leamy, Four Points by Sheraton and Paul’s Boat Lines.

The Outaouais region’s urban landscape and natural attractions are ideal for both business and pleasure.

Advertising supplement to Meetings & Incentive Travel magazine

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PHOTOS Casino du Lac-Leamy, Four Points by Sheraton and Paul’s Boat Lines.

DON’T TAKE PHOTOS OF YOURSELF ON YOUR BUSINESS TRIP TO THE OUTAOUAIS REGION. YOU’LL LOOK LIKE YOU’RE ON VACATION. BOOK A MEETING IN THE OUTAOUAIS AND GET AN iPad 2 !* WWW.OUTAOUAISMEETING.COM // 1-866-979-0929 * Visit our Website for more details.

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Fairmont Le Château Montebello Montebello

Fairmont Le Château Frontenac Québec

Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth Montréal

Fairmont Le Manoir Richelieu Charlevoix

fou r i n s pirin g s etti n g s in qu é b e c

Business and pleasure in equal measure. www.fairmontmeetings.com Meet@fairmont.com

Four landmark hotels, four singular locations. Whichever you choose, each will provide an inspiring setting for your meeting. After all, we welcome business in special style—with state-of-the-art meeting facilities, extensive professional support, superb accommodations, exquisite dining experiences, and vibrant cultural and sporting activities right at your doorstep. Together, we’ll make your next meeting a memorable one.

information & reservations

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1 866 662 6060

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Engaging The Generations No longer can one size fit all. The modern meeting planner needs to create events that speak to everyone from the formal traditionalist CEO down to the fickle Millennial intern. written by SETH MATTISON

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lease put your cell phones away! These are the famous words that almost always precede my introduction to the stage. As a speaker, I appreciate planners who do all they can to ensure the audience is fully engaged before a speech. However, you have to wonder if forcing attendees to put away the most collaborative tool ever created is the best way to capture their attention, especially that of the newest generation of attendees? The Millennial generation (born 1982-2000) basically emerged from the womb with a cell phone in hand, and while they may be comfortable listening to a speaker with technology open, the older generations may be more comfortable to sit back and listen, while taking notes on a piece of paper. Now, it’s not that either group is right or wrong; it’s that they’re different. And that’s the point. Today, we have four different generations showing up at events and planners are tasked with creating meetings and experiences that will communicate successfully to these vastly different age groups, without alienating any of them. For those who are up to the challenge, here are a few tips to help you engage every generation. WEBSITE Bring your events to life. Before you can create opportunities for the generations to collaborate, we need to make sure they actually show up. Time to put “butts in seats.” To Millennials, your website is who you are. Use this opportunity to showcase the look, feel and content of the event. Use pictures and videos from last year’s event and post testimonials from prior participants. By creating an interactive webpage with multimedia, you’ll give potential participants the opportunity to see and experience the vibrancy of the event. In addition, social media can be an excellent promotional tool, if you keep it conversational and provide attendees with useful information about what they can expect and what they will learn. Remember that this isn’t just an excellent place to reach the Millennials and Gen Xers (born 1965-1981)—Facebook is the number-three most-

visited site for Traditionalists (born prior to 1946), according to a 2011 Nielsen survey. Communicate what’s in it for them. The things that motivate one generation to attend your event can be very different from what motivates another. Long-term veterans who have already established a first-rate network might be coming to stay on the cutting edge of the latest trends. On the flipside, Millennials might be more motivated by opportunities to build their network and connect with other leaders in the industry. Once you’ve identified the key drivers for each generation, it’s critical you communicate them through your website and social-media platforms. NETWORKING Start connections early. In a recent survey conducted by Pathable, people cited networking as the number-one reason to attend an event. However, meeting new people can be scary and stressful. You can remove some of the fear by creating opportunities for the generations to connect before they even show up on the trade-show floor. Through invitations on Facebook, LinkedIn and Pathable, potential attendees can find out who is already attending and reach out and introduce themselves before the conference even begins. Create mentoring relationships. One of the best ways to foster collaboration between the generations is through mentoring relationships. The good news is, Millennials are eager for mentors, and knowledge transfer is a key ingredient in the success of companies. Talk about a win-win. Creating an environment where mentoring relationships can naturally occur is critical. Two of my favourite techniques for bringing the generations together are through theworldcafe.com and openspaceworld.org. I highly recommend you visit these sites and see for yourself. Use these tips to create meaningful meetings and events that can resonate with every generation. When Millennials, Gen Xers, Baby Boomers and Traditionalists constructively collaborate, the end result is an impressive combination of expertise, innovation and success.

Guest columnist Seth Mattison is a generation expert and speaker with BridgeWorks, LLC. He’s the voice of the Millennials in The M-Factor: How the Millennial Generation Is Rocking the Workplace, and he spoke at this year’s IncentiveWorks show. E-mail: mattison@generations.com

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Hamilton Harbour

Hamilton About an hour from Toronto and even closer to Niagara wine country and Niagara-on-the-Lake, Hamilton offers first-rate activities and amenities for groups. written by DON DOULOFF

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Recently renovated, the 301-room Sheraton Hamilton features 14 meeting spaces and a 6,000-sq.-ft. ballroom. Provides indoor access to Hamilton Convention Centre. starwoodhotels.com The Crowne Plaza has undergone a makeover and offers 214 guestrooms and more than 19,000 sq. ft. of banquet and meeting space. ichotelsgroup.com Courtyard by Marriott Hamilton offers quick access to John C. Munro airport, 136 guestrooms and up-todate meeting spaces. marriott.com Opened in summer, 2011, 52-room Carmen’s C Hotel is Hamilton’s first European-style boutique hotel. An intimate ballroom hosts 125. carmens.com

A 2,700-acre oasis close to downtown, the Royal Botanical Gardens boasts the world’s largest lilac collection; two acres of roses; a 30 km. trail system; and four nature sanctuaries. rbg.ca The Art Gallery of Hamilton houses a permanent collection of over 9,500 works. Strong in European historical, Canadian historical, and contemporary art. artgalleryofhamilton.com Hamilton’s Victorian era comes to life at Dundurn National Historic Site, a restored castle overlooking Lake Ontario. Costumed guides lead tours through more than 40 rooms over three floors. hamilton.ca

PHOTOS Tourism Ontario, BankoMedia, Quatrefoil Restaurant

Recommended Website: tourismhamilton.com Average Hotel Room Rate: $120 to $160. Getting There: John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport is serviced by WestJet (flyhi.ca), VIA Rail (viarail. ca) and bus lines: GO Transit (gotransit.com), Greyhound (greyhound.ca) and Coach Canada (coachcanada.com). Convention Facilities: Hamilton Convention Centre features over 50,000 sq. ft. of space that can accommodate meetings, trade shows and banquets. hecfi.ca With over 100,000 sq. ft., Copps Coliseum can host trade shows, conventions and other events. hecfi.ca Hamilton Place features The Studio, holding 300 (cabaret), 400 (theatre) and 550 (standing) hecfi.ca

Royal Botanical Gardens

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programme ideas

Mira Todorovic

Sample incentive-travel itinerary provided by Tourism Hamilton. Pictured, at right, is Mira Todorovic, convention sales coordinator, Tourism Hamilton. King Street in downtown Hamilton

DAY ONE 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Arrivals and shuttle transfer to Sheraton Hamilton Hotel. 11:00 a.m. to Noon. Guided tour of Hamilton Farmers Market. 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Lunch, La Cantina Ristorante Italiano. 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Guided tour of Art Gallery of Hamilton. 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Return to hotel. Time at leisure. 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Cocktails/dinner, La Piazza Allegra restaurant.

DAY TWO 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Breakfast, at hotel. 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Visit Whitehern Historical House and Garden. Morning tea and tour, led by costumed maid. 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Lunch, Earth to Table Bread Bar. 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Explore Dundurn Castle. 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Visit Cathedral of Christ the King. Quatrefoil Restaurant

4:30 p.m. Return to hotel. Time at leisure. 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Dinner, Incognito restaurant. 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Take in a performance at Theatre Aquarius.

DAY THREE 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Breakfast, at hotel. 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Visit Ottawa Street North for some gallery hopping and window shopping. Guided tour reveals street’s history. Noon to 2:00 p.m. Lunch, Cafe Limoncello. 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Shop on trendy Locke Street, with stops at boutiques, artisan shops and bakeries. 4:30 p.m. Return to hotel. Time at leisure. Dundurn Castle

PHOTOS Tourism Ontario, BankoMedia, Quatrefoil Restaurant

About 15 minutes west of downtown, in Dundas, Ont., Quatrefoil offers creative twists on French cuisine. Two private rooms seat 12 and 18. Main restaurant, seating 60, available for buyout. quatrefoilrestaurant.com Billed as ‘artisan bakery by day, pizzeria by night,’ Earth to Table Bread Bar’s menu ranges from creative appetizers to burgers and pizza. breadbar.ca Ideal for groups, Ancaster Mill overlooks a waterfall-fed creek and serves upscale cuisine anchored by seasonal ingredients, many provided by surrounding farms and artisans. Six rooms available for meetings and events. ancastermill.com

6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Dinner, Courtyard Cafe. 8:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Enjoy live music at West Town Bar and Grill or the Corktown Pub, in historic Corktown neighbourhood.

DAY FOUR 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Breakfast, at hotel. 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Explore Royal Botanical Gardens, followed by lunch at on-site RBG Garden’s Cafe. 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tour some of the 100-plus area waterfalls. 4:30 p.m. Return to hotel. Time at leisure. 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tour Ancaster Mill, followed by dinner.

DAY FIVE 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Breakfast at hotel. 9:30 a.m. Transfer to airport and flights home.

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Titanic Belfast

Belfast City Hall & the Big Wheel

Belfast With years of political strife and civil unrest behind it and billions of dollars of investment, Northern Ireland’s capital exudes vitality and boasts award-winning hotels, unique historical venues and contemporary attractions. written by Donna Carter

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Slated for completion in April, 2012, the $153-million Titanic Belfast building will profile the ill-fated vessel through interactive displays and exhibits. The facility will feature 18,890 sq. ft. of meeting and event space, including a 750-seat banquet suite. titanicbelfast.com After a $15-million expansion, completed in 2007, the city’s Grand Opera House hosts small to midsize groups, plus special events for up to 1,000 in its main auditorium. goh.co.uk In May, 2011, the Lyric Theatre raised its curtain following a $27-million rebuild, hosting meetings/ events (main theatre seats 389). lyrictheatre.co.uk

PHOTOS Thinkstock, Northern Ireland Tourist Board, Tourism Ireland

Recommended Websites: belfastconventionbureau.com; gotobelfast.com Average Hotel Room Rates: $64-$146 (three-star hotels); $81-$398 (four-star hotels); $145-$975 (five-star hotels). Getting there: There are no direct flights from Canada to Belfast. Air Canada offers daily service to Dublin, July 1 to Sept. 15, and Air Transat flies weekly, April through October (dublinairport.com). Belfast’s two airports are within one hour of London and U.K. regional airports (belfastairport.com; belfastcityairport.com). Convention Facilities: Belfast Waterfront offers more than 11,000 sq. ft. of function space, 14 meeting rooms and 27,000 sq. ft. of exhibition space. waterfront.co.uk

The 272-room Europa Hotel is one of the largest in the city. Located in the heart of downtown, it has 16 meeting rooms and a ballroom accommodating 750. Renovations in 2008 added 5,543 sq. ft. of conference and exhibition space. hastingshotels.com/europa-belfast The elegant Merchant Hotel is a 632-room luxury property ideal for high-end groups and executives. Major renovations were completed in 2010 and the property features 3,724 sq. ft. of meeting and event space. themerchanthotel.com Located near the city centre, the 198-room Hilton Belfast recently underwent renovations to its more than 12,000 sq. ft. of meeting and event space. hilton.co.uk/belfast

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programme ideas

Pat Crowley

Itinerary for a FAM hosted by Tourism Ireland, Northern Ireland Tourist Board and Failte Ireland, and planned by Pat Crowley, CEO, Odyssey International, based in Ballycasey House, Shannon, County Clare (pictured above). DAY ONE 7:50 a.m. Arrivals at Belfast International Airport. 8:30 a.m. Departure by luxury mini-coach to Belfast City Centre. Tour of Hastings Europa Hotel, followed by light breakfast. Hilton Belfast & the Belfast Waterfront

11:00 a.m. Tour of Belfast City Hall. 11:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. A brief orientation tour of the city. 12:15 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. Tour of Hastings Culloden Estate and Spa. Lunch at Cultra Inn, an Irish pub on the grounds of the Culloden. 2:30 p.m. Check-in, Merchant Hotel. 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Time at leisure. 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Depart for Montalto House, for dinner. 10:00 p.m. Return to hotel, for live music and a drink.

DAY TWO Deanes Restaurant

7:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. Breakfast at leisure, at hotel. 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Tour Stormont Parliament Buildings. 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Tour Ulster Folk and Transport Museum. 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Lunch, Ballywalter Park. 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Return to Belfast by an alternative route, in time to visit Queen’s University, home to conference and banquet space. 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Return to hotel. Time at leisure. 5:30 p.m. Pre-dinner cocktail at hotel. 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Walk to Tedfords restaurant, for dinner. 9:30 p.m. Return to hotel.

DAY THREE 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Breakfast at leisure. Grand Opera House

PHOTOS Thinkstock, Northern Ireland Tourist Board, Tourism Ireland

Following major renovations in 2010, Deanes Restaurant has reopened, to reclaim its reputation as one of Northern Ireland’s premier dining spots. michaeldeane.co.uk Amidst the Victorian grandeur of the five-star Merchant Hotel, The Great Room Restaurant offers a seven-course tasting menu. themerchanthotel.com Attracting a discerning clientele, Shu is one of the city’s most upmarket restaurants, featuring impeccably attired wait staff and exquisitely prepared fusion food. shu-restaurant.com — Donna Carter is a Cobourg, Ont.-based freelancer writer.

9:00 a.m. Check-out of hotel. 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Tour counties Down, Armagh and Fermanagh, in surrounding countryside. En route, tour visits Grange Lodge Country House, where group joins Norah Browne, MBE, for coffee and scones. Primary visit will be to Colebrooke Park, the stately home of Viscount Brookeborough and his wife. Lunch will be family style. 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Visit historic town of Enniskillen. Tour includes a private cruise aboard the Lady of the Lakes. A local guide will share tales from the region. 4:30 p.m. Check-in, Lough Erne Resort, on the shores of Lough Erne. 6:00 p.m. Dinner, Cafe Merlot, in Enniskillen.

DAY FOUR 6:00 a.m. Check-out of hotel (with breakfast-to-go) and transfer to Belfast Airport in time for check-in, duty-free shopping, VAT/cashback and flights home. MeetingsCanada.com

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Hotel Contracts Checklist Negotiating hotel contracts for your group’s stay needn’t be a winnertake-all proposition. With the right game plan, you can ensure that both you and the property come out ahead. written by MONICA SIMMIE

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hen it comes to hotel contract negotiations, there are dozens of ways to maximize benefits, while minimizing your spend and without sacrificing the quality of your event or the hotel’s bottom line. Remember, you and your venue are partners and both sides must gain from the transaction. If, for example, you find that the hotel is unable to lower its bedroom rate, look for concessions elsewhere.

GUESTROOMS ❍ Rate Protect. Ask the hotel to guarantee that it will not offer lower room rates by phone, on its website or in any other promotion during your programme. This will encourage your delegates to book inside your room block, helping you meet your contracted numbers and adding to those complimentary room nights. Alternatively, ensure that delegates who book rooms at discounted rates are counted in your pickup. ❍ Complimentary Accommodations. Would the hotel be willing to offer one complimentary night for every 40 paid, rather than 50? Ask that upgraded rooms, such as suites, be counted as two room nights or more, depending on the price point. Include any nights that are booked three days prior to, and three days after, your conference dates. After the conference, audit the hotel’s guest list against your conference registration list, to ensure that rooms booked outside your block are credited to your account. The hotel would not have had that revenue if not for your event. ❍ Attrition. Request the ability to reduce your room block by certain percentages at certain dates. Include clear language on mitigation, so that you are given credit against attrition damages for any rooms the hotel resells, if you don’t meet your minimum pickup. ❍ Upgrades and Discounts. Depending on the size of your event, you may be eligible for a complimentary suite and/or accommodation upgrades. Staff rooms might be offered at a deep discount, to be used during the event, or beforehand, for site inspections. ❍ Relocate clause. If your delegates arrive to find their reservations have been cancelled because the hotel has overbooked, ask the hotel to secure comparable accommodations at its expense and include transportation to the new venue for the guests. Ensure that the room nights at the new hotel are counted towards your room block and complimentary nights!

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Monica Simmie

MEETING SPACE ❍ Complimentary Meeting Rooms. Ask for complimentary function space, if certain food and beverage minimums are met or guestrooms picked up. Contract to allow for some reductions in these minimums without affecting function-space pricing. ❍ Outside Contractors. Request the ability to hire outside contractors without a surcharge from the hotel or its preferred supplier.

FOOD AND BEVERAGE ❍ Price Guarantees. If you are booking a venue years in advance, the hotel won’t guarantee prices. However, the hotel should be willing to include a clause that limits annual increases to a firm percentage and to set a date after which food costs are locked in. ❍ Reduction Clause. Ask for the ability to reduce your anticipated food and beverage spend by X per cent by a pre-determined date, without penalty. If your anticipated attendance doesn’t materialize, you’ll be able to cut back accordingly. ❍ Catering. If part of your event is at an off-site venue that does not provide catering, ask the hotel to be your supplier. Count this towards your contracted food and beverage spend.

additional concessions Cancellation. Hotels like to calculate cancellation damages on anticipated guestroom and food and beverage revenues. Damages should be based on lost profits rather than revenues. Extras. Ask for complimentary use of the hotel’s health club for delegates and Internet access in guestrooms and meeting rooms. Some hotels are now charging a flat rate per-item for Internet access (that’s right; for each of your iPhone, iPad, iPod, laptop) rather than per-room. If guests must pay, negotiate the price up front and ensure it’s per-guestroom rather than per-device.

— Guest columnist Monica Simmie is director, professional development and partnerships, at Canadian Public Relations Society, Inc. E-mail: msimmie@cprs.ca

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44 hotels. 1 world. 1 unwavering commitment.

At Delta Hotels and Resorts, we believe we are all guests of this beautiful planet. That’s why with Delta Greens, our comprehensive sustainability program, we make a promise to this land, to the air we breathe, to you our guests and to ourselves. A promise to reduce the waste we create, the energy we use. A promise to rethink everything we do to create positive, long-term environmental change. For more information, please visit deltahotels.com/greens

With 44 hotel, resort and airport locations across Canada, Delta Hotels and Resorts is ready to greet you wherever you need to be.

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Meetings + Incentive Travel 2011 - Sept.Oct