“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!