Updates from Business Events Canada

  • Revamped main Business Events Canada website with “Canada Making News Video.”
  • BEC is currently working on testimonials and clips from recent speaker series events to add and enhance the vertical market strategy.
  • Marketing co-op is available with BEC for the December issue of PCMA Convene, which is distributed to over 30,000 people and will be handed out onsite in January during the 2016 Convening Leaders program in Vancouver to over 4000 attendees from the meetings industry.

Current trends and market considerations

  • This is still a buyer’s market, but we are seeing a shift towards sellers and hotels are gaining ground with an almost 3% growth in average hotel pricing globally.
  • There continues to be high expectations from planners without a real increase in budgets and spend. Planners are being asked to show more return on investment with meeting programs and increased use of technology to ease efficiency.
  • There is a strong need to look at better ways to improve attendee experience and make meetings more about the experience.
  • There are better mobile apps for meetings, an increase in digital RFPs and the use of data and social media to learn more about attendees onsite and integration into event strategy.
  • The RFP pace has been slower in the early part of 2015 from many Canadian destinations, with strong group pace in 2014 and 2015.
  • There is almost a 10% projected growth in 2015 for training meetings.
  • Meetings now have to appeal across three generations: baby boomers, Generation X and millennials.
  • There is a decrease of 9% in lead times for RFPs with the average being just six weeks.
  • Compliance is increasingly top of mind with Pharma, particularly with the Sunshine Act introduction in January 2015. 
  • In San Francisco, plans are underway to build 10 new hotels for a total of 1,800 rooms, yet it will still not be enough to meet demand. Occupancy is at 85% and room rates are soaring. A luxury hotel would cost over $1 million per room to build. Meeting planners tell hospitality officials that they need more hotel rooms. The 1,800 hotel rooms won’t help much at all in meeting the demand.
  • The Brand USA reauthorization bill was included in the omnibus spending package, which has now passed the House and Senate and is headed to the President's desk for final approval. The bipartisan Travel Promotion, Enhancement, and Modernization Act of 2014 will renew Brand USA program through 2020.
  • There is a lot of talk about Cuba as a potential meeting hot spot since the Obama Administration announced plans to ease the US government’s 50-year-old embargo. The US government has already announced a new set of regulations that ease restrictions on travel to Cuba. Of significance: US citizens will be able to go to Cuba without a special license if they are attending a professional meeting.
  • According to the Global Business Travel Association annual report, spending on corporate travel is expected to rise in 2015, with business travel spending expected to increase 6.2%.
  • The association expects the volume of trips globally to increase 1.7% this year to 490.4 million trips in 2015. There were an estimated 482.4 million trips in 2014, a 1.4% growth over the previous year.
  • Last year saw a 6% increase in business-travel spending, a welcome sign after the recent struggles during the financial downturn. The report called 2014 a “comeback year for international outbound business travel” after a meager 1.1% increase in 2013 and a 1% decline a year earlier.
  • The report also predicted that steeply declining oil prices could be a boon for the travel industry in 2015 because of potentially cheaper airfares.
  • An improving US economy and greater profits for business in 2015 are helping to drive an expected increase in travel as well. The more growth and profits, the more travel.
  • In addition, the US dollar is gaining strength (vs. the Canadian dollar), while the global economy remains weak, according to the report.
  • The Center for Exhibition Industry Research posted 1.8% growth in 2014, slightly less than the 2% forecasted; 2% growth per year is still expected in 2015 through 2017.
  • Maritz has finalized its 25 partners in its Global Meetings Network, which features 60 countries and consists mostly of DMOs and PCOs. The division is headed up by Ping He.
  • According to the International Congress and Convention Association, the US is number one in total large conventions held in 2014. Canada is ranked twelfth.

Some of the hottest hotel trends on the rise:

  • Mobile hotel bookings, which are easier than ever to make from a smartphone.
  • Tech-savvy amenities and features such as in-room touchscreen controls, free in-room iPads and check-in kiosks.
  • A focus on health and wellness, with healthy menu options, running concierges who lead guests on trails, fitness rental equipment, sprawling gyms, rock-climbing walls and cycling studios.
  • Pet-friendly hotels that feature welcome treats, bowls, beds, special room service menus, toys, leashes and pet massages.

6 steps to measure social media ROI

1.    Set conversion goals (eg, reach, traffic, leads, gain customers)

2.    Track these goals with online tools and platforms insights.

3.    Assign monetary value to measure ROI properly.

4.    Measure the total benefit by channel to help you identify the best platforms.

5.    Determine total cost: how much did you spend overall, including person hours?

6.    Analyze, understand and improve: ROI is the return percentage on your investment cost.


Notes from SITE Top Trends event

  • Demand is up, and it’s a seller’s market as more money is spent on business travel. 
  • Incentives are not seeing budgets go up. On incentive trips, people want free time as well as group time.
  • Global meetings and incentives are on the rise; third parties need to keep up on global expertise; CSR is still around and relevant—accept it! 
  • Abolish the sit-down dinner—people want to move around, talk and network and try new foods. Farm to table is popular. 
  • Full-service technology and free WiFi is expected.
  • Know what are you trying to accomplish with your incentive; if you plan further out, it helps to drive communications.



  • Feb. 19: MPI NCC Annual Tradeshow, Moscone West, San Francisco
  • Feb. 20: PCMA Northern California event, San Francisco
  • March 4: GDC Game Developers Conference, San Francisco
  • March 5: SITE Northern California Top Trends event, San Francisco
  • March 14-17: Client hockey game & sales calls, Southern California
  • Mar. 17-20: ITE Incentive Travel Exchange, Las Vegas
  • April 8: PCMA Education Foundation dinner, which over 1,000 association executives participate in annually. Partners in attendance included Tourism Toronto, Tourisme Montréal, Ottawa Tourism, Tourism Vancouver and Travel Alberta.
  • April 9: ASAE Springtime. The annual regional trade show attracted 1,500 attendees and 1,370 exhibiting personnel, who represented 348 exhibiting companies utilizing 468 booths. Participating partners in the Canada booth included Ottawa Tourism, Victoria Conference Centre, Scotiabank Convention Centre, Tourisme Montréal, Québec City Tourism and Travel Alberta.
  • April 22: Canada Beauty & Brains Speaker Series client events in Seattle with 60 attendees.
  • April 30: Canada Beauty & Brains Speaker Series client events in Chicago and in Rosemont featuring Dr. Dave Williams. 
  • May: Michigan Incentive Swing. Presented to over 40 individuals with incentive companies, such as Maritz, BI, Morley and Viktor.
  • May 4-6: Vancouver/Whistler mini client events, San Francisco Bay Area.
  • May 11: Canada Beauty & Brains Speaker Series client events in New York featuring Kevin O’Leary.
  • May 20: Client event with Niagara Falls Tourism. Networked with over 15 clients from the Chicago area at Barney’s New York.
  • May 12-14: Canada Beauty & Brains Speaker Series client events in Boston, Princeton and Philadelphia featuring Dr. Joe Cafazzo.
  • June 10-12: ASAE Executive Leadership Forum in Ottawa.
  • June 10-13: Collaborate Marketplace in Orlando, FL, with BEC-led Canada activation.
  • June 24-26: FICP Education Forum in Washington, DC. 
  • June 26–30: Incentive Canada in Banff with post trip to Jasper.