Business Events Canada (BEC) is the division of Destination Canada charged with bringing meetings, conventions and incentive travel (MC&IT) programs to Canada.
The unit’s name reflects the importance of the sector in going beyond simply filling hotel rooms and convention centres (although extremely important to Canada in their own right) and recognizes the important role meetings play in supporting Canada’s international business and investment priorities. Meetings can be the catalyst in introducing Canada’s export business interests to key influencers, business stakeholders, entrepreneurs and investors from around the world.
BEC refined its sales strategy on the basis of the federal government’s Global Markets Action Plan (GMAP), formerly the Global Commerce Strategy. GMAP seeks to increase exports of Canadian goods and services produced, encourage attendance at Canadian education facilities, boost direct foreign investment in Canada, share knowledge and expertise around innovation and leverage Canada’s overall brand. For each of these objectives, meetings and conventions held in Canada can be the spark that starts the conversation, creates the first impression of Canada and captures the attention of key influencers from around the world.
For more information, consult: Welcome to Canada: An Insider’s Guide to Bringing your Convention, Meeting, Trade Show or Exhibition to Canada.
The BEC team focuses on the key industry sectors outlined in the original Global Commerce Strategy—industry sectors that represent the greatest potential for export revenue growth for Canada. Canada either currently holds a competitive advantage or is seen as a key player for job creation or investment for the future in each of the sectors.
The vertical priority sectors:
- Aerospace—manufacturing as well as maintenance repair and overhaul
- Life Sciences—pharmaceutical, bio-pharmaceutical, medical devices and research
- Information and Communication Technology
- Clean Technology—such as wind and solar power
- Infrastructure and Engineering—such as non-residential construction
- Natural Resources—such as forestry, mining, oil and gas
- Agriculture and Food—such as animal and crop production as well as food/beverage processing
All of these industry sectors compete in the global arena and hold regional and international meetings through their own corporations or industry and academic associations. Aligning BEC’s sales efforts around these priority sectors creates a powerful three-way partnership between BEC, the department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD) and corporate Canada. BEC leverages the combined investment, innovation and contacts to create opportunities for incremental meetings and conventions to Canada and show how delegates and influencers attending these meetings can advance the objectives of GMAP and corporate Canada. In this way, BEC and corporate Canada create a competitive advantage for Canada through a previously untapped sales and marketing channel.
- Associations/congresses/non-profits: Given that BEC’s major destination partners have their own in-market presence in key centres to solicit association programs, BEC decided not to actively pursue this business from a sales perspective. However, BEC does support partners with assistance for FAM (familiarization) trips, site inspections and bid runs and creates opportunities for partners via strategic platforms targeting this market.
- Corporations: BEC actively solicits programs in the corporate arena, from board and training meetings to shareholders’ forums to massive product launches and user-group conventions.
- Incentive Travel: BEC is active in this sector, which provides the highest yield area of these three sectors. BEC pursues the market via third parties, agencies and incentive houses as well as through corporations that keep their programs in-house.
The BEC unit is built on a two-tier platform. The first tier creates large-scale partnership opportunities with major industry organizations. These agreements allow BEC to combine the bulk-buying power of partners across Canada and to advance the brand more powerfully together. The partnerships offer a broad-based mix of sales and marketing platforms that provide preferential access to key influencers and decision-makers for meeting site selection. Opportunities are available at a variety of price points that access key contacts in all target sectors such as association, corporate and incentive. For more information on the offerings available, contact heather [dot] phelps [at] businesseventscanada [dot] ca (Heather Phelps), director of International Partnerships.
The second tier involves in-market geo-focused sales opportunities such as sales missions, promotions, in-market events and the like. For more information on specific markets of interest, contact Cassandra [dot] zerebeski [at] businesseventscanada [dot] ca (Cassandra Zerebeski), director of Sales, US. For Europe, contact emma [at] axistravelmarketing [dot] com (Emma Cashmore).
Meet BEC representatives at the next major industry event. Find out where by browsing the 2016 events calendar.