Incentive Canada 2019 Wrap-Up
Falling for Canada — Incentive Canada Woos Global Planners
Falling in love with an entire country is no easy feat, but that was the goal of Incentive Canada where 40 incentive travel buyers from the US, UK and Europe met to discover, or in some cases, re-discover, why Canada’s time on the global incentive stage is now.
Global incentives are changing with the evolving workforce. Tried and true destinations still motivate, but as a younger demographic begins climbing corporate ladders they are seeking innovative experiences beyond the traditional components of golf and spa. This is Canada’s unique value proposition and some 30+ partners from across Canada’s incentive community came prepared to showcase their destination’s own unique attributes.
“Today’s planners must consider multiple stakeholder’s interests,” says Chantal Sturk-Nadeau, executive director of Destination Canada’s Business Events Canada team. “They are trying to balance budgets against destination appeal and choose destinations and activities that appeal to all age groups. When you factor in the safety and security concerns everyone has these days, well, Canada checks all the boxes. We’ve got vibrant cities with interesting cultural and culinary experiences; but within easy grasp of those cities we have these edge of the wilderness luxury resorts and experiences that inspire top performance. Incentive Canada is our opportunity to showcase that to our top customers.”
You only have one opportunity to make a great first impression – Incentive Canada got underway with an impressive arrival: helicopter flights from Vancouver International Airport, across the scenic Gulf Islands of British Columbia, to Sonora Resort, the luxury oasis off the eastern coast of Vancouver Island only accessible by air or sea.
If there was ever a place to inspire out of the box ideas and big picture thinking it is Sonora Resort. Lux accommodations, gourmet dining, and warm hospitality greeted guests touching down for the first leg of Incentive Canada. Here, customers connected with Canada’s incentive industry during pre-scheduled, one-on-one marketplace meetings and over shared experiences whale watching, eagle viewing, and watching seals playing at the ocean’s edge. Evenings were capped off with gourmet meals, networking and sharing Canada’s stories in a comfortable, casual setting.
Incentive Canada is designed to educate, entertain and engage top prospects with the possibilities Canada offers their top performers. After exploring Sonora’s pristine wilderness, the group reconvened in Vancouver for more marketplace education and an opportunity to sample activities popular with incentive winners: private yoga classes atop Grouse Mountain, a dim sum lunch and cultural walking tour of Chinatown, cycling the Stanley Park seawall and exploring the Vancouver Aquarium.
For this group of seasoned incentive planners, the weekend provided an opportunity to discover emerging destinations such as Kelowna, the Okanagan Valley, Fox Harb’r and Canada’s Northwest Territories for future consideration. In addition to discovering “new” destinations, this sophisticated group of planners uncovered new experiences and venues in the tried and true destinations they are already familiar with.
“Incentive Canada is about making connections,” says Kyla Knudson, director of sales and marketing of Destination Canada’s Business Events Canada team.
“Connecting with each other, for sure, but also connecting the dots between the planners and the possibilities that await when they host their top performers in Canada. Whether it’s discovering an emerging destination such as the Northwest Territories for a unique winter incentive, or Kelowna – one of Canada’s storied wine regions for a corporate retreat, or rediscovering what they already appreciate about Banff, Lake Louise, or any of our magnificent urban centres; this weekend provides us with an unparalleled opportunity to inspire and engage key decision-makers and planners, and grow Canada’s share of incentive travel programs.”
Incentive Canada’s home for the final night was the new JW Parq Vancouver by Marriott Resort. The newest luxury hotel in the city, the Parq Vancouver features two luxury properties (the sophisticated JW Marriott and the hip Douglas Vancouver, an Autograph Collection Hotel) totalling over 500 guest rooms. Exquisite accommodations, eight dynamic restaurants, an energetic nightlife scene, a casino and 60,000 square feet of meeting space offer provide endless opportunities for events hosted here.
We always say purposeful collaboration is a hallmark of Canadian culture – this past weekend top incentive planners got to witness that first hand.