We spoke with Ava Sones, Director, Insurance Sales Development & Special Projects for FICP Hospitality Partner, Business Events Canada to learn more about combining culture and creativity into group programs.
Q: What types of creative group programs or initiatives has your company implemented this year?
A: Business Events Canada created “See Canada,” a signature educational program developed specifically for business event planning professionals. The program is held in a different Canadian destination each year and features an idea sharing exchange with the opportunity to meet with representatives from new destinations throughout Canada.
This year, prior to their arrival, we asked participants to tell us “What super power do you wish you had when running your meeting?” The answers provided insight into the challenges planners face, and helped us drive a solutions-oriented discussion.
The program’s exclusive “Behind the Scenes” activities and education provide rich and relevant experiential professional development.
Q: What are some ways planners can incorporate cultural venues and festivals into their programs?
A: Planners need to have the inside scoop on what’s new and the “must do” experiences to enjoy Canada as a local. In Canada, this list changes all the time. Canada is known as a place where a full day of business is more than a day full of business. As destination experts, it’s our job to stay on top of the newest and most exciting events happening across the country, and planners should rely on us for the most up-to-date information.
Q: How and where can planners use food & beverage to showcase local culture?
A: We like to recommend planners offer attendees an evening of “local bites” exploration from popular neighborhood places. Flavors from all across the globe can often all be found within a few blocks of a venue so the opportunity to build a menu showcasing local takes on fabulous flavors is always a hit.
Q: Where do you take friends/family in your destination that you would recommend to planners?
A: I always take my friends and family to one of the top restaurants in the area. There are so many up-and-coming innovative chefs throughout Canada. They are all dedicated to using local and seasonal ingredients; many have their own gardens at the restaurant.
I always set up an introduction to the chef. The dining experience is enhanced when you hear the chef’s story and their prediction on culinary trends.