Current News

Check out the latest news from around the world by the industry's movers and shakers.

Current News

May 24, 2017
Vision Travel and CSI globalVCard Partnership Enables Canadian Companies to Solve Pain Points in Travel Procurement with Virtual Card Payment System

CSI globalVCard and Vision Travel Bring Single-Use Virtual Card Payments to Canada's Business Travel Industry

Toronto/CNW/ - Vision Travel, a leader in travel management in Canada, and CSI globalVCard, a leading provider of electronic payment solutions, announce the integration of Concur Compleat to their single-use virtual card payments partnership.

The partnership, which brought the security and control of virtual cards to corporate travel in Canada, now offers automated functionality. Vision Travel places CSI globalVCard's highly secure virtual card numbers directly into Concur, automating and streamlining reservations. Vision Travel is the first travel management company in Canada to introduce virtual card payments to their customers.

"Vision Travel is committed to a personalized and responsive approach to the business of travel," said Brian Robertson, President, Vision Travel, Ontario-West. "This partnership advances our capabilities and gives corporate travel clients highly secure payments that are customized, controlled and easier to reconcile."

The integration solves the following pain points:

  • Security – card numbers become invalid once the transaction is complete, offering elite security.
  • Compliance – only preauthorized purchases are processed, assuring budget compliance.
  • Control – spending limits and usage are controlled in real time with desktop or mobile devices.
  • Reconciliation – virtual card numbers are tied to specific transactions allowing reconciliation by traveler, trip or department.

Juliann Pless, SVP, globalVCard Travel commented, "Our integration with Concur Compleat allows Vision Travel to offer next level service by saving time and increasing the security of payments. It's exciting to play such a pivotal role in the expansion of virtual travel solutions into the Canadian market. We are looking forward to this evolving partnership with Vision Travel."

About Vision Travel
Vision Travel is an established leader in travel management in Canada, employing 725 travel professionals. The company has provided a full range of corporate travel services to a wide spectrum of Canadian companies since 1953.

About CSI globalVCard
CSI Enterprises has provided innovative payment solutions to world leading brands for nearly 30 years. The company's highly secure financial payment products include the globalVCard® virtual payment solutions and award-winning mobile applications. GlobalVCard offers duel issuing capabilities with international partner PPS and is also a member of ACTE and GBTA.

May 11, 2017
Toronto Marriott Downtown Eaton Centre Unveils a Reimagined Traveler Experience

The newly redesigned Toronto Marriott Downtown Eaton Centre commits to providing the ultimate guest experience

Toronto/CNW/--The Toronto Marriott Downtown Eaton Centre location announces the completion of their multi-million dollar transformation. As a part of the ongoing reinvention of Marriott Hotels, the Toronto Marriott Downtown Eaton Centre is enhancing its guest experience, evoking the charm, confidence and quality long associated with the Marriott Hotels brand.  Whether travelling for business or leisure, sophisticated shopping weekend, romantic get-away or cozy staycation with the family, the Toronto Marriott Downtown Eaton Centre hotel has curated the best guest amenities along with the flagship brand's signature premium updates, elevating it as one of the city's most iconic, and conveniently located, upscale hotels.

Toronto Marriott Downtown Eaton Centre now offers guests a Greatroom lobby—a stylish hub of the hotel that serves as a great social gathering place for both day and night. The contemporary décor and layout provides guests a space to relax, collaborate with colleagues, or wind-down after a productive day.

Guests can upgrade to the concierge level where they'll be welcomed with a preferred selection of snacks and beverages throughout the day, including a complimentary full breakfast buffet, or end their day with a relaxing nightcap, indulging in chef-inspired hors d'oeuvres.

The spacious design and sleek décor extends to the guests rooms inviting your to lounge in luxury. Hotel rooms have been transformed to feature brand new 49" flat screen TVs in guest rooms and 55" flat screen TVs in all suites. New furnishings include large chaise lounges that double as a pullout bed. Deluxe walk-in showers and spa-like lighting provide a relaxed and upgraded bath experience. Coming soon, guests will appreciate the convenience of the Marriott's innovative mobile keyless to gain entry into their rooms.

Everyone will get the MVP™ experience, in the newly redesigned entertainment suite offered in each guestroom. MVP™ (Managed Video Platform) is a digital platform that replicates your in-home entertainment experience, seamlessly complimenting Marriott's GRE (Guestroom Entertainment) services. Toronto Marriott Downtown Eaton Centre provides access to Netflix, YouTube and more, as part of its ongoing commitment to creating the ultimate guest experience. As well, all Marriott Rewards members receive complimentary high-speed Internet access. Amenities include a newly renovated 24-hour fitness centre located on the 18th floor with breathtaking views of downtown Toronto, brand new equipment and an indoor pool; the perfect way to relax and unwind after a hard day of negotiations, or with the kids after a long day exploring Canada's largest city.

"We want our guests to experience forward-thinking, aesthetically pleasing spaces that help foster their inventive nature," said Matthew Carroll, vice president, Marriott Hotels. "Marriott Hotels has consistently pushed the boundaries of innovation in travel to create experiences that inspire and push our guests' creativity. Toronto Marriott Downtown Eaton Centre has accomplished this and more and we know their guests will be thrilled."

Marriott Hotels brand is in the midst of a massive transformation, evolving everything from hotel design to associate training.  Toronto Marriott Downtown Eaton Centre represents this evolution, echoing the sentiment that guests value personalized experiences and creativity.  Last year, Marriott Hotels introduced delighted travelers with its mobile innovations global roll-out, its industry-pioneering two-way chat feature Mobile Request on the Marriott Mobile App. Guests and travel enthusiasts can visit to experience the countless ways Marriott Hotels continues to innovate to meet the needs of today's travelers.

Keeping with in the tradition of the traveler mindset: exploration, open minds, and new perspectives, Marriott hotels will be offering access to a selection of TED Talks and original TED content. Travelers staying at Marriott Hotels will now have access to thought-provoking and inspirational content to help jumpstart their own original, inventive thinking. The content is expertly curated by TED, with Talks that are topical and relevant to guests, including curiosity, innovation, travel and entrepreneurship. It's the perfect addition to the Marriott's robust and holistic guest experience.

Proud of its revamped renovations, the Toronto Marriott Downtown Eaton Centre is truly charting the course for all hoteliers and travellers across the country, rounding out their commitment to providing every guest with the ultimate away-from-home experience.

Browse through the hotel's website to find out more. High resolution photos available.

About Marriott Hotels
With nearly 550 hotels and resorts in over 55 countries and territories around the world, Marriott Hotels is evolving travel through every aspect of the guest's stay, enabling the next generation to Travel Brilliantly. Boldly transforming itself for mobile and global travelers who blend work and play, Marriott leads the industry with innovations, including the Greatroom lobby and Mobile Guest Services that elevates style & design and technology. Marriott Hotels is proud to participate in the industry's award-winning loyalty program, Marriott Rewards® which includes The Ritz-Carlton Rewards®. Members can now link accounts with Starwood Preferred Guest® at for instant elite status matching and unlimited points transfer. To learn more, visit Stay connected to Marriott Hotels on Facebook, @marriott on Twitter and @marriotthotels on Instagram.

SOURCE Marriott Hotels & Resorts Canada

For further information: Kelli Stutt, Director of Sales & Marketing, T: 416.204.9002, E:

May 11, 2017
Montréal tops 2016 North American rankings of most popular cities for international conventions, reports the ICCA

MontréalMontréal is back on top as the city having hosted the most international conventions in all of North America, according to the Country and City 2016 rankings released by the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA). Montréal finished ahead of destinations like Toronto, Vancouver New York, Chicago and Washington with 76 events held at the Palais des congrès de Montréal, the universities and the city’s hotels. These events attracted nearly 37,000 business travelers and delegates to the city – 21% more than the runner-up destination. The last time Montréal finished atop the North American rankings was 2013.

“The excellent work performed by the Palais des congrès and its Ambassadors, by Tourisme Montréal and all the tourism and institutional partners, is generating remarkable results, including a top spot in international rankings like the ICCA’s,” indicated Raymond Larivée, President and CEO of the Palais des congrès de Montréal.

"It's easy to do business in Montréal. There's a synergy among the city partners, the quality of the services offered by local experts is outstanding, as is the opportunity to interact with influencers from various industry sectors, not to mention the increase in number of flights, which makes the city even more accessible. I would like to point out the excellent of everyone involved," said Yves Lalumière, President and CEO of Tourisme Montréal.

"I salute the collective effort that continues to nurture Montréal's international standing. Business tourism is of capital importance for the city's hospitality community," declared Eve Paré, President and CEO of the Hotels Association of Greater Montreal.

Satisfied attendees
Furthermore, once conventions are confirmed, Montréal and the Palais have an outstanding track record of meeting the needs and requirements of convention organizers and delegates. In fact, in a poll conducted by the Ipsos research firm for Tourisme Montréal, 95% of leisure and business tourists responded they were satisfied with their experience during their stay in Montréal in 2016. Also, 97% of business tourists would recommend Montréal to work colleagues and business contacts. “We provide an infrastructure that meets the needs of major international associations, and we are proud of our role in nurturing Montréal’s reputation as a premier destination,” said Chrystine Loriaux, Director of Marketing and Communications at the Palais des congrès.

About Tourisme Montréal
Tourisme Montréal is responsible for providing leadership with regard to the concerted hospitality and promotion efforts aimed at positioning Montréal in leisure and business travel markets. It is also responsible for developing Montréal's tourism product in accordance with changing market conditions. For more information, visit

About the Palais des congrès de Montréal
Recipient of the highest quality standards certification in the industry and shortlisted for the World’s Best Congress Centre award (AIPC), the Palais des congrès de Montréal attracts and hosts conventions, exhibitions, conferences, meetings and other events. It generates major tourism revenues and intellectual wealth for Montréal and Québec, while also contributing to the international reputation of Montréal, the top host city in the Americas for international events.

Chrystine Loriaux, Fellow Adm.A., B.A.A.
Director, Marketing and Communications
Palais des congrès de Montréal
Phone: 514 871-3104

For information:
Amélie Asselin
Advisor, Communications and Public Affairs
Palais des congrès de Montréal
Phone: 514 871-5897

Andrée-Anne Pelletier 
Manager – Corporate Public Relations
Tourisme Montréal
514 844-3344/514 248-7844

May 09, 2017
Meeting Planners at Human Trafficking Awareness Day May 10 Toronto

On Wed. May 10th, meeting planners will be at the Human Trafficking Awareness Day at Toronto’s City Hall. Among the speakers will be Jennifer Richardson who spoke at Human Trafficking in our Backyard: A Conversation April 19th, a conversation discussing Human Sex Trafficking and the meetings/hospitality business; Bruce Rivers, Executive Director Covenant House and others.

Come join us.  We are meeting in the Sheraton Centre Lobby at 11:45 am before moving to City Hall. 

  • We HOPE that our hotel partners have training in place to raise awareness with their staff to identify possible trafficking
  • As Meeting/Event Planners, we are EDUCATING our fellow planners about the questions to ask-about Trafficking-when RFP’s are submitted to venues
  • We want to work WITH our hotel/venue partners to raise awareness and encourage them to put education/training in place

For information, contact Sandy Biback, 416-618-5411,


May 04, 2017
Metro Toronto Convention Centre President & CEO Honoured with PCMA Lifetime Achievement Award

Toronto/CNW/ - The Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC) congratulates Barry Smith, President & CEO, on being honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) Education Foundation yesterday at the 2017 Visionary Awards in Washington, D.C.

Smith is one of the first Canadians to ever receive this prestigious award, which recognizes inspirational leaders for their extraordinary contributions to the business events industry. The award acknowledges Barry as an industry pioneer who has earned a strong reputation for successfully attracting international business to Toronto while never shying away from taking risks, leading a world-class team, and using new technology.

PCMA celebrates Smith, who has led the MTCC since 1998, for showing unwavering support for education in his important roles on the PCMA Board and PCMA Education Foundation Board of Trustees, including his important contribution as the first Canadian Chair for the PCMA Education Foundation. He is also noted for going above and beyond by engaging suppliers and expanding their role within PCMA.

"It gives us great pride to see Barry receive this incredibly well-deserved Lifetime Achievement Award," said Harald Thiel, Chair of the Board of Directors at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. "We truly value his exemplary leadership and his commitment to our industry and PCMA."

"Over his distinguished career Barry has been a true champion for business events and his constant thirst to innovate has kept Toronto and its Convention Centre at the forefront of our industry," said Johanne Belanger, President and CEO of Tourism Toronto.

About the Metro Toronto Convention Centre
The Metro Toronto Convention Centre is Canada's number one convention and trade show facility. Over the past 30 years, the Centre has hosted over 18,000 events, entertained more than 55 million guests and has added $5.1 billion in direct spending to the community. For further information, please visit

SOURCE Metro Toronto Convention Centre

For further information: Media Contact: Melanie Wade, Social Media and Communications Specialist, Metro Toronto Convention Centre,, (416) 585-8504

May 04, 2017
International Live Events Association Recognizes more than a Dozen New Certified Special Event Professional (CSEP) Recipients

Chicago—The International Live Events Association (ILEA) proudly recognizes the following event professionals who recently earned the Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP) designation.

Ashley Burton – Dubai
Lori Oates – Capitola, CA
Syanda Feist – Indianapolis, IN
Gail Palmer – Cleveland, OH
Jordan Kaye – Los Angeles, CA
John Parker – Ft. Washington, MD
Krysten Leshin – Ft. Lauderdale, FL
India Rhodes – Dallas, TX
Annie Lewis – Davidson, NC
Ian Seidenberg – Henderson, NV
Hayley Matthews-Jones – Minneapolis, MN
Meghan Shoven – Santa Clara, CA
Maureen Murphy – Hopewell, NJ
Amy Van Duyne – Oakwood Village, OH
Elizabeth Nutting – York, ON, Canada

ILEA endorses and manages the voluntary CSEP program for those who meet established standards. The CSEP continues a remarkable progression as worldwide recognition of the live events industry continues to evolve. Now more than ever, professionals within the industry recognize the CSEP as an influential designation for the education and the promotion of professional ethics and standards. Earning the CSEP designation demonstrates a continuous dedication to enhance individual and professional performance, and ILEA congratulates each of these new recipients on earning this distinguished credential.

“ILEA certifies dozens of event professionals with the CSEP every year,” said Judy Brillhart, CSEP, ILEA President. “Each event professional who receives their CSEP designation elevates industry standards and best practices.”

About the CSEP Credential
The Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP) designation recognizes event professionals who have successfully demonstrated the knowledge, skills and ability essential to perform all components of a live event. The CSEP designation offers a competitive advantage when soliciting business as either a live events industry planner or supplier. It represents proof of an individual’s professional market knowledge. Learn more about the CSEP at

About the International Live Events Association (ILEA)
The International Live Events Association (ILEA) is a global community of thousands of creative event professionals whose skills, expertise and experience power some of the most recognized and respected live events around the world. For creative events professionals who seek deeper connections with like-minded individuals, ILEA provides the education and collaborative networking opportunities that achieve creative experiences. For more information, visit

Ande Leslie
Marketing and Communications Manager
t: +1.312.673.5534

May 02, 2017
FMAV Expands Corporate Event Production Capabilities with Addition of Ruoff & Company

FMAV, the largest Canadian-owned audiovisual company, today announced the acquisition of Ruoff & Company, an established leader in corporate audiovisual and event production. This move supports FMAV’s continued growth plans in the Canadian corporate events market.

“With a shared philosophy focused on client objectives, combined with deep production and audiovisual expertise, Ruoff was a natural fit,” says Bill Brown, President and CEO, FMAV. “I’m thrilled to welcome this tight-knit and innovative team of audiovisual professionals to FMAV and further extend our leadership in the corporate event arena.”

Established in 1999, Ruoff & Company with offices in Toronto and Montreal and a presence in Chicago, has developed a reputation for delivery excellence combined with an exceptional commitment to customer service.

“With the stability and resources of a national audiovisual company, our customers and employees will both benefit from the increased breadth of production services and innovation,” says founder Dietmar Ruoff. “Likewise, the services we bring to FMAV will enable us to jointly deliver the best client service to the corporate meeting and events market.”

Ruoff & Company will start operating in the marketplace as FMAV immediately with full integration of operations to be completed by the end of summer 2017.

About FMAV
FMAV is the audiovisual and event technology company for people who plan meetings and live events. As the largest Canadian-owned audiovisual and event production company, FMAV has more than 250 staff across seven offices from coast to coast, including Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Halifax. For more information, visit

Media Contact: Alissa Hurley, Vice President, Marketing, FMAV | 613-222-0453 |

April 26, 2017
Hotel Association of Canada Appoints New Director of Government Relations

Ottawa, ON—The Hotel Association of Canada (HAC) is pleased to welcome Alana Baker as Director of Government Relations.

An award-winning, seasoned government relations, public relations and communications professional, Alana joins the HAC with over 10 years of advocacy experience. A vibrant and passionate trained spokesperson and public speaker, Alana has a proven track record of executing high impact government relations and public relations campaigns.

Alana joins the HAC from Impact Public Affairs where she served as Director of Public Affairs since 2008. Alana has been instrumental in providing government affairs and public relations advice to clients throughout North America and now joins the HAC to further develop its growing advocacy portfolio.

"Alana's wealth of experience and knowledge will make her a key addition to the Association", said HAC President, Susie Grynol. "Her appointment signals our renewed focus on advocacy as a top priority for this industry and we are delighted to have her on board."

Ms. Baker assumed her new role effective Monday, April 24, 2017.

About the Hotel Association of Canada
The Hotel Association of Canada is the voice of the Canadian hotel & lodging industry. For over 100 years, it has worked to enhance the prosperity of the industry through strong member engagement, effective advocacy, and the provision of value added programs and services. The Hotel Association represents more than 8,178 hotels, motels and resorts that encompass the $18.4 billion Canadian hotel industry which employs 304,000 people across Canada.

April 25, 2017
CanSPEP Education Scholarship

CanSPEP, in partnership with Tourism Saskatoon, recently renewed an agreement for the second year to offer four educational scholarships of $1,000 to event planner entrepreneurs to attend the CanSPEP annual conference and provide a one-year membership to the Association.

"To have a direct involvement with an organization like CanSPEP and be a part of their growth aligns with Tourism Saskatoon's goal of giving back and doing more to help people achieve their goals. Thinking creatively and being able to collaborate on this partnership is a win-win," said Candace Shierling, Director of National Conventions and Event Marketing at Tourism Saskatoon.

The scholarships are intended to assist professional event planner entrepreneurs overcome business challenges through education and networking with other event planning entrepreneurs. Open to professional event planners operating their own business, the money allows them to become a new CanSPEP member and/or to re-engage as a lapsed member and attend their first ever CanSPEP Conference.

“We are very excited to once again confirm our partnership with Tourism Saskatoon.  Our partnerships demonstrates the level of commitment we jointly have in serving Event Entrepreneurs raise the level of their business as well as Industry,” clarifies Tuesday Johnson-MacDonald, CMP, CMM, President of CanSPEP. “Through on-going education and networking opportunities with suppliers and Association members, one is able to maintain up to date on the ever changing technology, enhance their business relationships and increase their skill on both an event and business application.  Being an entrepreneur operating a small enterprise can be isolating and costly when looking for the distinctive opportunities that is unique to our membership.” 

As a leader in Canada’s entrepreneurial event management industry, CanSPEP is the only association in Canada that offers a membership exclusively to event planner entrepreneurs and the opportunity for members to exchange ideas and best practices, develop business skills and co-creation opportunities.

Tourism Saskatoon is a membership-based, non-profit visitor and convention bureau marketing Saskatoon and region as a destination of choice for leisure and business travel.

Applications and further details are available on the CanSPEP website. Deadline for receipt of applications is May 31, 2017.

For more information contact
Meagan Rockett, Association Ambassador
Canadian Society of Professional Event Planners (CanSPEP)
Tel:  613-288-4539 / Email:
Website:  / Twitter Handle: @CanSPEP

April 24, 2017
Leigh Bochicchio Named President of the Association for Corporate Travel Executives for 2018-20 Term

NEW YORKThe Association of Corporate Travel Executives has named Leigh Bochicchio its next president, effective 1 January 2018.

Bochicchio, VP of Business Process Improvement, PME at Mastercard, will be ACTE’s senior volunteer leader, serving at the order of the Board of Directors. The position runs for two years and follows Leigh’s second term on the Board.

“Just about every day, the travel industry faces new micro and macro challenges and opportunities.  With an extensive background in strategy development, talent management, and learning, Leigh is well suited to lead ACTE’s education and learning strategies to the next level,” said current Association President Kurt Knackstedt, CEO of robotic process automation company Troovo. He has held the position since 2014 and will serve until 31 December 2017.

Bochicchio has chaired the ACTE Board’s Nominations Committee and has led the development of improved succession planning and board director sourcing and selection.  At Mastercard, which she joined in 2006, she manages the company’s product lifecycle discipline globally. She’s also worked in Mastercard’s global learning and talent development organization and commercial product organization. Previously, Leigh ran sales and account management for two critical components of Galileo International’s travel distribution on-line strategy and held a number of leadership positions at American Express Travel Related Services.

“Change is coming at us from every direction. Innovation is critical to staying relevant and learning drives innovation. ACTE is a catalyst for change by providing top notch learning and idea exchange opportunities throughout the travel community. I’m passionate about finding new and innovative ways to continue to do this and assist the community to prepare for the changes that are coming at us every day,” Leigh said.

She will be president-elect through the end of the year. Her appointment was announced today at ACTE’s Global Conference in New York City. 

The President chairs both the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee.  The President has general supervision of all business and affairs of the Association and helps formulate the Association's philosophy, mission, strategy and goals.

About ACTE: 
The Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) has a 29-year reputation for pioneering educational and technological advances that make business travel productive, cost-effective and straightforward. ACTE initiatives drive change in corporate KPIs, technology, and travel policy philosophy, all while improving conditions for business travellers and increasing corporate revenue.

Meghan Warren
Sloane & Company