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Current News

December 15, 2017
Halifax Convention Centre Opens

HALIFAX – The Halifax Convention Centre hosted its official opening ceremony today, Dec. 15.

“The Halifax Convention Centre will attract thousands of new visitors from around the world to our province,” said Premier Stephen McNeil. “It will build on our booming tourism economy and help build a stronger Nova Scotia.”

The centre features 120,000 square feet of flexible event space including a mix of multi-purpose and meeting space including a spectacular ballroom with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking downtown. The configuration was enhanced from the original design with more natural light, an above ground ballroom, two distinct convention levels and a floor of dedicated meeting space. 

“The Government of Canada is proud to celebrate the opening of the new Halifax Convention Centre, an impressive, modern facility that confirms Nova Scotia as a world-class destination,” said Scott Brison, president of the Treasury Board of Canada, on behalf of Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities. “Investments in innovative and green infrastructure projects like this one are vital to creating middle class jobs, and providing sustained economic growth for our communities.” 

There are 90 events booked for the first year of operations in the new facility, bringing an estimated 75,000 delegates and more than $50 million in new money to the province. This includes 44 national and international conventions. 

“This new centre gives us the opportunity to show visitors everything that makes our city and our region unique,” said Halifax Mayor Mike Savage. “I know our guests will create great memories here that will inspire them to come back. It’s an exciting time in Halifax.”

The centre has planned a welcome weekend for the public to see the new space January 12-14. 

“We are ready to welcome the world to our brand new, state-of-the-art facility,” said Carrie Cussons, president and CEO of the Halifax Convention Centre. “Together with our community and partners, we look forward to delivering an amazing event experience for our guests that will make Nova Scotians proud.” 

The interior design of the facility was inspired by Nova Scotia’s culture, landscape and history and shaped by input received through a series of public consultations.

“This is more than a building, it’s a platform to connect Nova Scotia to a global audience,” said Joe Ramia, president and CEO of Argyle Developments. “I’m very proud to have built a facility that will serve as a gathering place, connecting our guests to the people and experiences that make our province so special.”  

The Halifax Convention Centre is part of the Nova Centre, a one-million square-foot, mixed-used development including a hotel, financial towers, public plaza, retail space and parking. It is the largest integrated development project in the province's history. The funding of the convention centre is shared between three levels of government, totaling $169.2 million.

Media Contact:
Erin Esiyok-Prime
Halifax Convention Centre
902-421-1302, ext. 2791

December 13, 2017
MPI Appoints Julie Holmen as Sales Leader for Canada, International Markets

WHAT: Meeting Professionals International (MPI) has selected Julie Holmen to serve as Director of Business Development covering Canada, Europe and Asia, effective December 4, 2017. Based in Toronto, Holmen will be responsible for revenue generation and management of strategic partnerships for the association and the MPI Foundation within her assigned markets, and reports to Evan Casey, MPI’s Vice President of Global Sales.

DETAILS: Holmen has 20 years of experience working in the meeting and hospitality industries. Prior to joining MPI, she held sales leadership roles with Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, Tourism Toronto, and Delta Hotels. Holmen is also a member of MPI and has held volunteer leadership roles with the MPI Toronto Chapter. For more information on Holmen’s career background, check out her LinkedIn profile.

ABOUT MPI: Meeting Professionals International (MPI) is the largest meeting and event industry association worldwide. The organization provides innovative and relevant education, networking opportunities and business exchanges, and acts as a prominent voice for the promotion and growth of the industry. MPI has a global community of 60,000 meeting and event professionals including more than 17,000 engaged members and its Plan Your Meetings audience. It has more than 90 chapters and clubs in 19 countries. “When we meet, we change the world.”

Sonya Thorpe Cobb, +1 972-702-3098, 

December 13, 2017
Hosts Global's Alliance of DMCs Concludes Annual Conference to Drive Industry Best Practices

Hosts Global (Hosts), a strategic partner for meeting and event planners worldwide, recently concluded its annual education conference for participating Destination Management Company (DMC) members in Scottsdale, Arizona. This members-only conference harnessed the power of bringing together the best-of-the-best in the DMC industry to share knowledge and establish processes intended to not only elevate Hosts’ business operations, but also positively impact clients and industry.

“Since initiating this conference in 2016, our alliance business has grown significantly,” said Marty MacKay, DMCP, president of Hosts Global’s alliance. “A continued focus on industry best practices has strengthened our members individual businesses as well as our unified approach to service standards.”

The conference included four education tracks with tailored content specific for the key roles within the DMC business; owner, sales, operations and creative services. Over the three-day conference, each track narrowed in on industry hot topics, tools, trends and ideas to advance the global alliance’s DMC services.

An evening pajama jam sponsored by participating DMCs, Amusement Masters and Wet Paint Group, provided charitable give-back, networking and lasting bonds between attendees. All guests received Punjammies® garments manufactured by Sudara, an organization that invests in job creation and skills training for women in India who are at a high risk or survivors of human trafficking. Hosts’ alliance members were honored to support the cause and dress in the high-quality garments.

The conference concluded with leadership training from Kayla Curry, president of Organization Impact, LLC who led attendees in a group exercise focused on pushing momentum and preserving relationships through critical conversations. “I’m thrilled to bring leadership from each department of my company to Hosts’ best practices conference,” said Robyn Bass, DMCP, president, chief executive officer and owner of Maple Ridge Events, a Hosts Global Member. “We always gain valuable information that streamlines internal operations and improves our performance for clients. It was a privilege to co-chair this year’s education committee and is thrilling to be part of an organization that provides this level of focus on education.”

About Hosts Global: Hosts Global is a strategic partner for meeting and event planners worldwide. We offer full-service destination management solutions in over 300 locations through our global alliance of select DMCs. Our clients receive streamlined global planning, dedicated account management and superior execution of group programs including meetings, conventions, incentive programs and special events. Contact a Hosts global liaison at to learn more about our services and locations. 

December 11, 2017
The Metro Toronto Convention Centre Appoints Lorenz Hassenstein as General Manager

Toronto/CNW/ - The Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC) is pleased to announce the appointment of Lorenz Hassenstein to the position of General Manager. Hassenstein joins the MTCC team after serving as General Manager for the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

Recognized as a dedicated leader, Hassenstein brings over 23 years of experience and an impressive record of accomplishment in general management, trade/consumer event management and strategic business development to his new role. Prior to his most recent position as General Manager at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, he held various senior leadership positions in the publishing, exhibition and event industries. Notably, he holds 10 years of experience as the Vice President and General Manager of Reed Exhibitions.

As General Manager at the MTCC, Hassenstein will provide leadership and vision designed to ensure the overall success of our Centre, while overseeing key operational areas.

"We are thrilled to have Mr. Hassenstein join our team and I am confident that he will bring valuable expertise to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre," said Barry Smith, President & CEO of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

About the Metro Toronto Convention Centre
The Metro Toronto Convention Centre is Canada's number one convention and trade show facility. Over the past 33 years, the Centre has hosted over 20,000 events and has added $5.8 billion in direct spending economic impact to the community. For further information, please visit

December 06, 2017
FICP Releases Q3 Survey Report

CHICAGO—Financial & Insurance Conference Professionals (FICP) has released its second Pulse Survey Report, for Q3 2017. Featuring timely data on trends impacting both meetings professionals and hospitality partners within the FICP community, this survey initiative is intended to provide timely and relevant information to those across the meetings and events industry.

With its second Pulse Survey release, FICP also offers a look at how these trends have evolved in the second half of 2017.

Q3 Pulse Survey Highlights – Meetings Professionals:

 74% indicated the size of meetings being planned has remained the same, as compared to 53% in Q2. An increasing number of respondents also saw greater stability in the number of meetings being planned and lead time for meetings being planned as compared to earlier this year.

 Overall, 94% of respondents indicated that meetings professionals have influence on decision making with executives. While those with more than 6 years of professional experience and those at insurance companies indicated this in higher numbers, the majority of professionals at all experience levels and company types noted this influence at their companies.

 In spite of their general influence on executive decision-making, only 43% of respondents noted they contributed to dialogue about the U.S. Department of Labor Ruling or recent changes to the Canadian regulatory environment. This is an indication of the opportunity for meetings professionals to participate in discussions on topics with cross-functional impacts at their companies.

Q3 Pulse Survey Highlights – Hospitality Partners:

 In terms of frequency and pace of RfPs over the next six months, 89% expected business to increase or remain the same. This is similar to 92% who anticipated business to remain the same or increase in Q2.

 Seventy-five percent indicated having been either positively impacted or not impacted by merger and acquisition activity in both the financial services and hospitality industries. A common theme in open-ended comments to explain this impact was an expectation that mergers result in the need for more meetings.

 Meetings professionals at financial services or insurance companies are directly responsible for a significant volume of FICP hospitality partners’ business, with 32% indicating that 26-50% is from this source and 22% noting up to 75% of their business coming from these professionals. Those at chain hotels experienced the greatest volume of business from meetings professionals in the financial services and insurance industry. As a result of increasing food, labor and related costs, 49% of those hotel chain representatives also indicated that their F&B minimums were also increasing.

For a copy of the Q3 Pulse Survey Report, visit TheBlog on FICP’s new website.

FICP is a community of financial services and insurance industry meetings and events professionals dedicated to developing members, and advocating the positive impact and value of their work. We elevate the profession by leveraging partnerships and our members’ collective skills and experiences to create purposeful interactions for all stakeholders whose professional success is linked to our members’ work. 

December 04, 2017
Montréal certified as an environmentally sustainable destination for meetings and conventions

MONTRÉAL /CNW Telbec/ Montréal has once again been certified by iCompli Sustainability according to ASTM-APEX (Accepted Practices Exchange) standards. Developed in partnership with Green Meetings and Events, the certification confirms the city's position as an environmentally sustainable destination.

Crafted by over 300 professionals from the business tourism industry, the ASTM-APEX standards are the first in North America to establish performance criteria for sustainable practices and responsible management systems used by tourism stakeholders in the meetings sector. The standards cover various aspects of event organization, including meeting venues, communications, audiovisual, transportation, accommodations, energy sources, onsite offices and exhibits.

"Montréal is a popular destination for conventions and international events of all kinds. This certification gives the city an edge in a highly competitive global market in which business clients are increasingly attuned to sustainable development and environmental issues. Tourisme Montréal has been working with the tourism industry for several years to pioneer an ambitious environmental shift," said Yves Lalumière, President and CEO of Tourisme Montréal.  

"The Palais des congrès de Montréal has been actively involved in sustainable development for many years and is proud to hold the ASTM Green Meetings Standards Certification. Our ambitious action plan is testimony to our commitment, with a comprehensive sustainable events program and an innovative Urban Agriculture Lab on our rooftop," said André Saucier, Vice-President, Finance and Administration and head of sustainable development at the Palais des congrès. "These initiatives contribute to positioning Montréal as a leading destination for sustainable conventions and to raising awareness among our clients."

"In an effort to pave the way, Montréal is committed to adopting exemplary practices in terms of sustainable development. In this capacity, we could not be prouder of this certification, which allows Montréal to be internationally recognized as a sustainable city. This certification is the result of numerous efforts towards integrating the principles of sustainable management in every facet of activity within our metropolis." said Mr. Jean-François Parenteau, member of Montréal's executive committee, responsible for citizen services, procurement, rolling stock and workshops, environment and sustainable development and mayor of Verdun borough.

About Tourisme Montréal
Tourisme Montréal is responsible for providing leadership in the concerted efforts of hospitality and promotion in order to position Montréal as a destination on leisure and business travel markets. It is also responsible for developing Montréal's tourism product in accordance with the ever-changing conditions of the market. For more information, visit  

About the Palais des congrès de Montréal
The Palais des congrès de Montréal attracts and hosts conventions, exhibitions, conferences, meetings and other events, and generates major tourism revenues and intellectual wealth for Montréal and Québec, while also contributing to Montréal's international reputation as a premier host city.

SOURCE Tourisme Montréal

For further information: Andrée-Anne Pelletier, Manager - Corporate Public Relations, Tourisme Montréal, 514-844-3344| 514-248-7844,

December 01, 2017
Scotiabank Convention Centre Appoints New Vice President of Sales & Marketing

Niagara Falls—Scotiabank Convention Centre, the region’s largest meetings and events facility, is pleased to announce the appointment of Judy Mahoney as Vice President, Sales & Marketing. In this role, Mahoney will report directly to President & General Manager Noel Buckley. “Having held several senior positions in the hospitality industry, including at the largest convention hotel in the country, Judy brings with her an enviable track record of success” said Buckley. “Her strategic approach to building new partnerships and relationships, coupled with 20-plus years’ experience, makes her an excellent addition to our team”.

Judy steps into her new role after serving as Director of Sales & Marketing at the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel. Throughout her career she has been a highly accomplished professional, driving the success of a number of leading hotel brands in the GTA.

"This is an exciting time for the meetings and conventions industry in Niagara Falls, and the Scotiabank Convention Centre plays a very important role in attracting these kinds of events to the destination” said Mahoney. “With a strong team and a solid foundation in place, I look forward to continuing the momentum and taking this one-of-a-kind facility to the next level.”

For more information, please contact:
Noel Buckley, President & General Manager
Scotiabank Convention Centre
6815 Stanley Avenue, Niagara Falls, Ontario
Telephone: 905-357-6222 ext. 7001

About Scotiabank Convention Centre
Scotiabank Convention Centre (SCCN) in Niagara Falls, Canada, is the region’s largest meetings and events facility. Steps away from the famous waterfall, this state-of-the-art venue boasts more than 150,000 sq. ft. of open, flexible space. With close proximity to three international airports, world-renowned wineries and over 4,000 branded guest rooms, we make doing business easy. For more information, visit or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

November 30, 2017
Alt Hotel Opens its Doors on the Most Easterly Tip of the Continent

Canadian Hotelier Group Germain Hotels, Officially Opens its Newest Property in St. John’s, NL

Merging its dynamic and colourful Alt Hotel brand with the unique flavour and culture of Newfoundland and Labrador, Group Germain Hotels is pleased to welcome guests to its newest property in St. John’s, NL.

Located downtown St. John’s, it is the Group’s second property to open in the Atlantic Provinces under the Alt banner, known to combine modern design, luxury comfort and attentive service at an affordable price.

“We are delighted to introduce our colourful brand of hospitality to Newfoundland and Labrador,” says Jean-Yves Germain co-president of family-owned, Group Germain Hotels. “With its rich history, unique heritage, vibrant character and welcoming people, St. John’s was a natural choice for us. We are thrilled to invest in a city and a community we truly believe in. ’’

Located on the corner of Water and Prescott Streets, the hotel overlooks the harbour, offering a stunning view of The Narrows. It is also conveniently neighbouring numerous local shops and restaurants, the St. John’s Convention Centre, and many of the city’s tourist attractions—making it ideal for both business and leisure travel.

The 148-guest room hotel features an outdoor patio overlooking the harbour for guests and locals to enjoy. It also offers a bright fitness room as well as close to 4,000 square feet of meeting space, each fitted with floor-to-ceiling windows and direct access to the terrace. In 2018, a coffee shop and a restaurant adjacent to the lobby will open their doors.  

“We are confident guests will enjoy our friendly service and comfortable rooms topped with a stunning view, but also our fixed seasonal rates" says Mark Schaay, General Manager. Indeed, at Alt Hotels, there is no daily fluctuation in the rate, even if a festival or a big event is in full swing, ensuring guests get the best value for their dollar.

The hotel also features a range of eco-responsible features such as geothermal heating and cooling powered by the ocean, energy-efficient lighting, a heat recovery system and more.  

The opening of this property brings Group Germain Hotels one step closer to achieving its goal of becoming the first independent Canadian hotelier to offer travellers a network of 20 properties coast-to-coast by 2020. The Group is rapidly expanding across Canada and is currently building new properties in Calgary, Saskatoon, Ottawa and Brossard, all of which are slated to open in 2018.

Thoughtful design

Designed by Canadian firm, Lemay Michaud Architecture, the hotel boasts a welcoming, inspired design incorporating elements reminiscent of the local landscapes.

As the hotel was built on the grounds of a 1800s cellar, the only remaining marker of the historic Marshall Brothers store, respectful architectural planning was very important to the Group. As a result, an outline of the cellar footprint was incorporated into the hotel’s design and a feature wall displaying a montage of tactile materials from the cellar can be seen in the lobby.

To ensure that even more of the beauty and distinctiveness of Newfoundland and Labrador was brought inside the hotel, a colourful and artistic mural entitled Altexpo adorns the lobby. Created from over 3,500 original images, the mural from local photographer Michael Winsor pays tribute to Newfoundland and Labrador’s unique landscapes.  

A rendering of the hotel is available here.

About Alt Hotels
At Alt Hotels, we march to a different beat by giving guests the best of what they want without any extra fluff. Located in Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Brossard, Quebec City, Halifax and St. John’s, all of our properties are carefully crafted to combine eco-friendly comfort within sleek urban spaces—all designed with guests in mind. Visit or follow us on Twitter and Instagram: @AltHotel / Facebook: Alt Hotels

About Group Germain Hotels
Group Germain Hotels is a family-owned business that owns and operates Le Germain Hotels and Alt Hotels across Canada. Ranked as one of Canada’s 50 Best Managed companies, Group Germain Hotels is renowned for the impeccable warmth and style that characterizes its hotels. Since opening their very first property in 1988, the 1,000 staff members of Group Germain Hotels have welcomed a multitude of guests, totaling nearly four million overnight stays to date. Visit

November 29, 2017
Meetings Mean Business Canada Board Elects 2018 Executive Team

Meetings Mean Business Canada (MMBC) is pleased to announce the election of its 2018 Executive Team: Heidi Welker, Senior VP, Business Development & Industry Partnerships at Freeman Audio Visual Canada has been elected as the 2018 Chair, Clark Grue, President & CEO of the Calgary TELUS Convention Centre, will serve as Vice Chair, Reggie Lang, Manager, Business Development Groups, Conventions & Incentive Travel at WestJet will serve as Secretary/Treasurer and Grant Snider, CEO of Meeting Escrow Inc. will serve as Past Chair.

Under the leadership of the current Chair, Grant Snider, the Canadian Coalition has grown rapidly cross-country with over 100 senior executives from the leading Business Events industry organizations of Canada signing on to show their support, over $100,000 CAD raised in initial funding, and the official secretariat moved to the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) headquarters in Ottawa.

Snider believes the Executive Team elected for 2018 is perfectly positioned to lead the board of directors and grow MMBC to its full potential.  “Heidi, Clark and Reggie are all nationally recognized industry leaders who have the knowledge, passion and drive to shape the coalition into a truly effective advocacy voice for the Business Events industry in Canada.”

Speaking about her recent appointment, Heidi Welker said “It has been a pleasure being part of the board this past year. I am honoured to have been elected as the 2018 Chair and look forward to continuing the excellent work of the 2017 Executive Team. We need to keep the momentum going and gain support cross-Canada for our unified voice to be heard”.

To learn more about Meetings Mean Business Canada, view the current supporter list, and add your organization to this growing coalition, please visit our website here

About Meetings Mean Business Canada
Meetings Mean Business Canada advocates on behalf of the Canadian Business Events Industry which contributes over $27 billion CAD in GDP annually and sustains over 341,000 full-time jobs. The MMB Canada board is actively reaching out to key industry stakeholders across all sectors of the Canadian Business Events Industry to transform the coalition into a proactive, well-funded advocacy movement with strong connections to federal, provincial and municipal governments. For more information:

November 28, 2017
New GBTA Foundation Report Reveals Companies May Lack Safety Services and Visibility into Business Travel Plans

Latest Study Uncovers the Impact Business Traveller Booking Behaviour has on Safety

Frankfurt, Germany—A new Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Foundation report released today found that more than three-quarters of business travellers in the U.K., Germany and France agree that their organisations care about their safety while travelling for work. Conducted in partnership with Concur, the How Traveller Booking Behaviour Impacts Safety study, also found risk management services supporting business travellers are still far from comprehensive and universal.

"During these times of global uncertainty, business leaders have a responsibility to know where employees are and keep them safe and informed," said Scott Torrey, Chief Revenue Officer, Concur. "One of the most surprising results of the study is that more than half of business travellers know that not booking through company channels can affect their safety but a majority still book outside. This means that companies need to put a stronger focus on safety, and I firmly believe duty of care is one of the most important things a business can do for its employees."

Business travellers in the U.K., Germany and France agree organisations care about their safety. In fact, the GBTA Foundation found that in an emergency or security event, business travellers overwhelmingly expect their company to proactively contact them, with at least two-thirds expecting their company to do so within two hours.

However, two-thirds of business travellers acknowledge that not booking through company channels can affect their safety by making it more difficult for their company or TMC to locate and contact them in an emergency. The irony is that roughly seven out of 10 travellers booked outside of company channels at least once in the past year, even when they had a TMC or access to an OBT.

This suggests organisations could be doing more to protect employees with risk management services and technologies and better educating on the services and policies in place to support employees travelling on business.

The report uncovered several other travel risk management trends among U.K., German and French business travellers.

  • Direct bookings. In the last year, nearly half of business travellers used a corporate online booking tool (OBT). However, nearly 70 percent of business travellers whose company uses a TMC say they booked at least one business trip directly with a supplier in the last year. Fewer than 40 percent say their organisation has a system in place to capture travel plans and itineraries booked directly with suppliers.
  • Traveller locating. Travellers expect their companies to use a range of information to quickly locate them during an emergency or security event including travel itineraries (53 percent), GPS information from employer-provided smartphone apps (44 percent) and expense report information (32 percent).
  • Traveller services: Less than half of German business travellers (49 percent) say that their organisation provides them with an assistance hotline in case of an emergency while there are more business travellers in the U.K. (57 percent) and France (65 percent) that have access to an emergency hotline provided by their company.
  • Training and resources. More than one-half of business travellers report their organisations provide travel safety trainings, but there's a consensus that more would be helpful. Some 61 percent of travellers expressed interest in group and one-on-one trainings, and the majority – approximately 65 percent – would prefer to receive several trainings each year.

"Over three years of tracking booking data, a majority of business travellers who had access to an OBT consistently say they booked directly with a supplier or with an OTA in the past year, meaning their company may not have had access to their travel data," said Monica Sanchez, director of research for the GBTA Foundation. "Missing or incomplete booking data can greatly hinder a company's ability to care for their travellers as it plays a key role in duty of care – enabling virtually every risk management function that companies perform."

In response to growing travel risk management challenges, Concur introduced Concur Locate and Active Monitoring earlier this year. Concur Locate with Active Monitoring, powered by Healix, is the first integrated traveller risk management solution drawing from the industry's most comprehensive data set including travel and expense data, itineraries booked direct captured through TripLink and TripIt, and supplier e-receipts. Businesses of all sizes can benefit from 24/7 monitoring, communications support and traveller assistance, without the infrastructure or headcount associated with a global security operations centre.

Today's announcement took place at the GBTA Conference 2017 in Frankfurt. Attendees can learn more about the study findings at the conference on Thursday, November 30 at 9:00 a.m. CET. Attendees can also hear more about Concur Locate and Active Monitoring at booth #28.

The How Traveller Booking Behaviour Impacts Safety study surveyed 735 business travellers in the U.K., Germany and France over September and October 2017. For more information about findings and methodology, the report is available for download here.

About Concur
For more than two decades, Concur, an SAP company, has taken companies of all sizes and stages beyond automation to a completely connected spend management solution encompassing travel, expense, invoice, compliance and risk. Concur's global expertise and industry-leading innovation keep its customers a step ahead with time-saving tools, leading-edge technology and connected data, in a dynamic ecosystem of diverse partners and applications. User-friendly and business-ready, Concur unlocks powerful insights that help businesses reduce complexity and see spending clearly, so they can manage it proactively. Learn more at or the Concur blog.

Katharine Kemp

Laurel Cifala

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