Jack Sparrow, Joan Rivers and Elvis can all make guest appearances at your conference
The book signing with Debbie Travis was very popular
Calgary – and many other Canadian cities – had a big presence at the show
It was just me, Elvis and Debbie Travis at this year’s Canadian Meetings + Events Expo. Oh, and some 350 exhibitors representing 700 companies and 2,345 attendees.
Held at the Toronto Convention Centre, the 28thedition of the event drew exhibitors and registrants from across Canada and as far away as Ecuadorfor two days of educational sessions (24 in all) and a massive trade show. It's clear the meetings and incentive business is booming!
Sessions included how to use video to build your business; hacks to up your LinkedIn game; how to run sustainable events; and how to reinvent your life, as presented by lifestyle celebrity and TV personality Debbie Travis.
The trade show was about as diverse as you can get: exhibitors ranged from airlines, tourist boards, VCBs and hotel chains to folks promoting golf courses, caviar, simultaneous translation, beer, private jet services, phone charging systems, name tags and celebrity lookalikes fromHollywoodHeaven.ca.
“This is such a great opportunity to learn, build relationships and make human-to-human contacts,” Erika Giesl of the Association of Administrative Professionals told me. “It’s the perfect environment.”
And not just for the big MICE agencies: a couple of the exhibitors I chatted with commented that they are seeing more “regular” travel agents looking for creative ideas and contacts whether it’s in the destination weddings segment or friends-and-family groups.
And with deals, for example with AC for groups as small as 10 Y class (six B class) to benefit from pricing and service enhancements such as one checked bag free per pax, the numbers are very doable for many agents - and not just those in the incentive and meeting biz. Take Island Routes, which provides transfers, in-room gifts and 500 tour options in six islands across the Caribbean. They are happy to provide custom services for as few as two passengers.
Interested in attending next year? Mark your calendar for 18-19AUG, 2020.
Martha Chapman Columnist
An OJ columnist since 2006, Martha is responsible for the Biting Questions features as well as special seasonal series. A travel industry lifer known to all in the biz, she frequently covers industry events for Open Jaw.