A few changes…

The partners behind the highly successful venture Destination Direct Canada wish to announce the departure of two of the four principals.

The departure of Jennifer (Holly) Beatty of Hollyworks and Doreen Ashton Wagner of Ashton Wagner Enterprises Inc. is taking place for completely unrelated reasons and the change is under amicable terms. Both women say their decision came down to a realignment of priorities in the face of competing time demands.

Patricia Pearson of CanPlan Event and Conference Services and Chantel Beaupré of Say Something Communications will remain to manage the event for 2018 and beyond. As always, Patricia and Chantel remain committed to providing outstanding service and value to our DMO partners and Hosted Buyers and we encourage anyone with questions to reach out via email.

Jennifer will be focusing on her growing business development efforts for resiada, a new Event Reservation Management solution that simplifies the housing management process and generates extra revenue for event organizers. Of course she continues to devote time to Meeting of the Minds, a collaborative group designed for Destination Marketing Organizations to engage in high-level discussions about the Canadian meetings industry. Jen wants to pursue other personal interests, all while having a little more time to smell the roses!

Doreen will be continuing her work as Organizational Catalyst and professional event facilitator for Greenfield Services, and co-producer of The Engaging Associations Forum. Doreen also will be devoting more time to her passion project: ForLoveAndBusiness.com is a community for women entrepreneurs who are in business with a spouse or “significant other.” Having been in business with her husband for almost 20 years, she knows about precarious the balance between love and business and she is dedicated to helping others learn through downloadable resources, online and live events.

Both Jennifer and Doreen wish Patricia and Chantel the very best for a successful Destination Direct in 2018.


We’ve launched the new and improved DMO partnership package, watch your inbox for details! For those interested in our Hosted Buyer program, we’ll be releasing the registration form by September 15th. Please contact us if you’d like to be notified when the application form is live!

Did you hear about the event whose registration funds were embezzled?

At Destination Direct’s lunch for Local Buyers on January 31, you’ll hear about THAT story, plus a few more occurrences that threatened the very existence of the organization behind each event.

Meeting planners often contend with uncertainty due to weather, political unrest, even terrorism… Add to this the possibility of unprofessional (or unscrupulous) behaviour by suppliers, employees and even attendees themselves, and you can see why the issue of RISK is a big one.

Yes, you may have your event emergency preparedness plan in place, but have you really taken a look at all the financial and legal risks to your organization in your planning process? Including those related to privacy breaches, embezzlement and supplier bankruptcy?

As a planner, staffer or board member, what is your duty of care towards delegates, sponsors and other stakeholders?

We’ll cover these questions and more in the education session Risky Business: What You Don’t Know WILL Hurt You.  Risk avoidance and mitigation experts Derrick Leue of LMS Prolink, and Grant Snider of Meeting Escrow will outline what you should know and how to avoid and protect your organization from risky situations. There’ll be lots of time for interaction – come ready with your questions!

This special learning opportunity is only open to qualified planners.   If you plan meetings with 50+ rooms on a peak night, and can consider three or more provinces in your selection process, click here to apply to attend!

A Hosted Buyer Program with a Twist!

These days meeting professionals seem to have more to do and less time to do it in.  That’s why the organizers of Destination Direct knew they had to come up with a better way to maximize effectiveness for both buyers and sellers.  So they chose to combine the hosted buyer program format with a reverse trade show.

Hosted Buyers apply to attend Destination Direct, which takes place January 31 and February 1, just before the popular CSAE Tête-à-Tête Show at Ottawa’s Shaw Centre on February 2.

Buyers pre-select which Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) they wish to meet with, and DMOs may do the same.  Appointments are set through a needs-and-attributes matching process, with the added bonus of a professional matchmaker being involved in the process.  Because they are privy to the latest openings and developments in each of the represented cities, Destination Direct organizers may suggest additional appointments, which the planner may not have thought of!

The reverse tradeshow component does away with the traditional large show format in favour of having DMOs set up shop on two floors of an all-suite hotel.  This allows for individual creativity, with reps going out of their way to theme their suite to reflect their city’s personality.  It’s also more economical for sellers; no need for expensive trade show booths or heavy displays; a few banners or posters, colourful tablecloths, flowers and locally-catered goodies are all that’s needed.

Armed with their individual schedule (which of course includes suite numbers), Buyers go from appointment to appointment for 15 minute appointments.  Chimes ring on each floor to impart when time is up.  Time is allotted between appointments so Buyers can proceed to their next commitment.

One of the great things about this format is that, by giving focused time with a supplier, the Buyer is made more aware of the organization’s offerings. As many studies have revealed, consumers often have a totally different perception of what a company’s products are than do their salespeople.

More than a few participants at the inaugural installment of Destination Direct in 2016 were heard pondering how such a format could be applied to their own events.

Curious about the format?  If you are a Canadian meeting and event planner with an association, association management firm, corporation or a full-service meeting planning company, and you can consider two or more Canadian provinces in your destination selection process, apply here.

Destination Direct Organizers Announce 2017 Program

It is with great excitement and anticipation that Destination Direct Canada organizers confirmed the show will take place again in 2017, just before the popular CSAE Tête-à-Tête tradeshow in Ottawa.

“We had such overwhelming positive response,” said CanPlan Inc.’s Patricia Pearson, CMP, “that we couldn’t NOT do it again.”

The event will take place in Ottawa January 31 to February 2, 2017.  Les Suites Hotel again will be the host property.

With input from the inaugural program’s Hosted Buyers and Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) Partners, the organizing team is tailoring the 2017 plans to better suit the busy pace that everyone seems to be feeling.

With DMOs wanting to maximize their time in Ottawa, local planners will be invited to get in on the action on Tuesday, Jan. 31 with an educational lunch at Ottawa’s newest luxury hotel, Andaz Ottawa Byward Market.  The event will feature a moderated discussion about event risk avoidance and mitigation, featuring Derrick Leue of LMS Prolink and Grant Snider of Meeting Escrow.  The lunch will be followed by an afternoon of appointments back at Les Suites.

Hosted Buyers will be transported by air or rail, arriving in the later part of the afternoon, so they can join their Ottawa peers for a reception.  This means most of the planners from outside the national capital will only be away from their home and office for three nights.

Then on Wednesday, February 1, it’s a full day of appointments with DMO Partners!  Hosted Buyers are required to take a minimum of 7 appointments, though if last year’s experience is any indication, many are planning to have as many as 12-14 appointments.  The day culminates in a big celebration with REVEAL social 2017, taking place at BierMarkt at Lansdowne Park.

The next day Hosted Buyers will make their way to Ottawa’s Shaw Centre for the CSAE Tête-à-Tête breakfast and keynote address with Jon Montgomery, Gold Medal Olympian and Host of The Amazing Race Canada.  At lunch delegates will enjoy Canada’s inimitable “Man In Motion,” Rick Hansen.  The show itself will run until 3 pm.

Later than night Hosted Buyers will be invited by Destination Partners to join them at the MPI Ottawa Charity Auction and Dinner.

It promises to be an action-packed three days! Click here for an at-a-glance program.

Interested in being a Hosted Buyer? Only 40 spots are available, so apply now!

Jennifer Holly Welcomed as Destination Direct Partner

Jennifer Holly

Welcome, Jennifer Holly!

The team behind the highly successful Destination Direct Canada, comprised of Patricia Pearson, Chantel Beaupré and Doreen Ashton Wagner, are pleased to announce the appointment of Jennifer Holly as equal partner in the venture.

Patricia explains, “Jen was there in the early days when the event was being conceptualized, so it only makes sense to bring her on Board as an official partner.”

Jennifer’s involvement as Founder and Director of Meeting of the Minds means that we have someone uniquely qualified to communicate with our Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) partners.  She also will help us with marketing and liaison with other industry partners.

“I’m so pleased to be joining this group of dynamic ladies to make this event happen just before the CSAE Tête-à-Tête show,” said Jennifer. “I love this industry and creating events that produce results is such a passion for me!”

Destination Direct wrapped up its 2016 inaugural event to acclaim from Hosted Buyers and DMOs alike.  Plans are underway for a bigger and better event for 2017, with a new local buyer day and a condensed schedule.

Hosted Buyers must be based outside the Ottawa region and must fulfill specific requirements. Interested association, corporate or independent planners may apply here.

Destination Direct 2016 – It’s A Wrap!

Destination Direct Canada, a unique Hosted Buyer Show showcasing the value of Canada’s Convention Destinations, wrapped up its inaugural program to kudos from Hosted Buyers and Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) Partners alike.

“EXTRA EXTRA! Hear all about it: first year Destination Direct Canada show wows 20+ Canadian Destinations & Hosted Buyers,” shouted the subject line of the email from Sandra Moniz, Business Development Manager, Eastern Canada for Meetings & Conventions Calgary. “Ladies, I know that your bodies and tired and your mouth muscles can smile no more. Rest assured that you all but in 150% effort and it was noticed. I spoke to most of the participating destinations and many of the Hosted Buyers and we all agreed that this show was one of the best organized of its kind, ever!” Sandra wrote.

Lois Arkwright, meeting planner for the Canadian Society of Civil Engineering concurred: “I just want to take a moment to congratulate you all on an amazing program that was executed excellently! I so much appreciate the time you took to make us feel well taken care of and our needs met above and beyond! Many others likewise chimed in.

The first year brought together 21 planners and 21 destination marketing organizations in a “reverse tradeshow” format; Buyers went from suite to suite, meeting with destination representatives during 20-minute, pre-scheduled appointments.  Buyers and DMOs were able to request appointments on the basis of their specific needs. Destination Direct matched appointments and made new introductions!

Many destinations decorated their suite to reflect the flair of their cities or to showcase special events.  Tourism Saskatoon’s space was adorned with fragrant floral bouquets and Picasso prints meant to draw attention to the Remai Modern, a public art museum set to open in 2017 in Saskatoon.  Fredericton Tourism’s Wendy Bradley brought lovely swaths of the city’s signature apple green colours and scented candles to complement destination photos.

Some planners even commented there should be a prize for the most creative suite.

Plans are now underway for Destination Direct 2017, in Ottawa January 31 to February 2.  Stay tuned!

The importance of rest & relaxation, even when we are SO BUSY!

At Destination Direct, we realize the need to relax, to unplug and to think, if only for a few hours. That’s why we have scheduled a treat for our Hosted Buyers, with a short trip to Nordik Spa-Nature in Chelsea, QC, in the Gatineau Hills just 10 minutes outside Ottawa.

Nordik Spa-Nature is everything but an ordinary spa. Based on the thermal bath concept typical of Scandinavia, it is a sprawling village dedicated to relaxation, with stone paths leading to outdoor pools (both hot and cold), and timber lodges with saunas (with varying temperatures), steam rooms (some with scented oils), relaxation areas (most with fireplaces) and even two restaurants.

Visitors from outside the Capital may be surprised to know that this wonderful spa operates year-round – indeed the best time to visit may be in winter when spa-goers lounge in hot pools sporting tuques, steam rising from everyone as they saunter to their massage appointment!

Nordik Spa-Nature is about business too and many organizations have used the venue for team building, strategic planning and even board meetings. “We understand the meetings business and we are always happy to assist with the organization of spousal or delegate programs, or for an extraordinary social yet relaxing experience after a busy schedule,’’ says Marianne Trotier, Account Executive at Nordik Spa-Nature.

For more information please visit: http://www.lenordik.com/en/event-planners/

Another Five DMOs Confirm Participation in Destination Direct!

Things are gearing up nicely for Destination Direct as another five Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) recently confirmed their participation in this first annual showcase and Hosted Buyer program January 19-21, 2016 in Ottawa.

breaking-news-246220Association executives and meeting planners will be meeting with representatives of the following organizations for timed appointments the day before the CSAE Tête-à-Tête Show:

(in alphabetical order)

The above brings the total to 16 participation destinations. “The DMO community has been wonderfully supportive of this program and we’re thrilled to be able to facilitate this collaboration with reps from across Canada,” says organizer Patricia Pearson.

Just a few DMO spots remain; any interested party should contact Patricia or call 613-355-6763 as soon as possible.

REVEAL Social – 1 Event , 1 Night, 19 destinations, and YOU!

You know the saying, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Well there won’t be any chance of Jack or Jane becoming bored or boring with the activity line-up at Destination Direct Canada!

On Wednesday, January 20, after a day of appointments and business learning, participants will be treated to a night of fun at the REVEAL Social. This is the second year this celebration takes place in the nation’s capital, just as association executives and meeting planners congregate the night before the CSAE Tête-à-Tête Show.

Billed as “bringing together the meeting industry’s movers and shakers for a night of networking and entertainment,” the event will be hosted at the newly renovated Horticulture Building at Landsdowne Park. The party is made possible with the collaboration of 19 Canadian destinations: www.revealsocial.ca

The evening will kick-off with the comedic leadership of MC James Mulinger. A British Ex-pat who moved to Canada just last year, Mulinger has been nominated for a Canadian Comedy Award for Best Live Solo Show and a Just For Laughs Award for Best Comedy Show.

The audience also will be serenaded by Canada’s hottest new musical talent, Jason McNally, a bilingual Québécois with numerous appearances on popular French-language television, including shows such as Star Académie and En Direct de l’Univers.

As special guests, Destination Direct Canada participants will receive pre-registration and will be shuttled to and from the event. Local Ottawa planners and association executives may register by clicking here.

Who is Expected to Attend Destination Direct?

Registration for Destination Direct opened late last week, and within just 45 minutes of the initial email invitation deployment, already nine applications were received.

So who is putting their hand up to attend Canada’s newest Hosted Buyer program?

Clearly, for many associations, there is great interest in better understanding the value of working directly with Destination Marketing Organizations. With the changing landscape of membership-based organizations and the shifts in the meetings that often fund their activities, savvy association executive directors and meeting planners are eager to consider new ways of doing business.

Interest to attend Destination Direct has ranged from association management companies to national trade and professional organizations. Some are smaller associations with fewer than 1,000 members, while others have well over 7,500. They represent industries as diverse as healthcare, financial services, and leisure and sports. All are based outside the Ottawa region; many from the Greater Toronto Area, but also from cities as far as Winnipeg and Vancouver.

As Hosted Buyers, participants will have a unique opportunity to attend a national caliber show, take in top-notch education, network with fellow association professionals and enjoy the wonderful hospitality of 15 destination marketing organizations who have come together to support this program. All at absolutely no cost to their organization.

For more information contact Patricia or 613-355-6763.