Current News

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Current News

October 08, 2015
IACC Board of Directors Elects New Global President

Chicago, IllinoisThe International Association of Conference Centres (IACC) announced the election of Alex Cabañas as Global President, effective immediately.

Alex Cabañas, CEO of Benchmark Hospitality International near Houston, will serve a two-year term as head of the association, which has over 350 conference and meeting venue members in 22 countries worldwide.  Cabañas has been active with IACC for a number of years and serves as Vice President of the IACC-Americas chapter, having joined the IACC-Americas Board in 2011 and the IACC Global Board in 2012.   During his tenure, Cabañas co-chaired a task force to conduct a review of IACC on a global basis.  He leads the IACC 2020 task force, which is developing a strategy that will take IACC on a 5-year journey and will set the goals for the organization to achieve further success.

Alex Cabañas commented, “IACC is a global community of people and meeting venues committed to delivering exceptional meeting experiences.  We lead the small meetings industry and create trust with meeting planners and our clients through the delivery of the most productive meeting environments available.”  Cabañas continued, “Perhaps most importantly, our members support and learn from each other.  There is a kinship within IACC like no other association that I’ve been affiliated with.  It is a privilege to step into the Global President’s role and support the continued growth of IACC.”

Alex Cabañas joined Benchmark Hospitality International in January 2006. Prior to this, he worked for The Boston Consulting Group from 2000 through 2005. While with Boston Consulting, he worked with clients in a number of different industries including: travel and tourism, government, consumer/retail, telecommunications, e-commerce, financial services and energy.

Cabañas earned his MBA at Harvard Business School and holds a BBA and MS in Finance from Texas A&M University.

Outgoing Global President, Peter Stewart commented, "Alex comes to the role of Global President after a significant contribution at a global level, where IACC has developed a strategy for the future, through IACC 2.0. He comes to his new role with great enthusiasm and is very well placed to lead the association over the coming years.”

The IACC Vision:  IACC is a community of passionate people and organisations delivering innovative and exceptional meeting experiences.

About IACC:  Founded in 1981, the International Association of Conference Centres is a not-for-profit association dedicated to promoting understanding and awareness of the meetings venue industry and to giving member properties the tools necessary to provide an exceptional IACC meeting experience. Active members meet a set of stringent Quality Standards and agree to a Code of Ethics. Currently, the association includes approximately 400 members from the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, China, Kenya, Nigeria, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, England, Scotland, Ukraine, The Netherlands, Germany, Hungary and the Philippines.

For more information, visit the website at  “There are meetings and then there are IACC meetings.”

Twitter:  @IACCconfCentres

About Benchmark Hospitality International:  Benchmark Hospitality International® is a recognized global leader in the management and marketing of resorts, hotels and conference centers.  The company’s two distinctive portfolios of properties, Benchmark Resorts & Hotels®and Personal Luxury Resorts & Hotels®, represent the finest in guest-dedicated hospitality in unique destinations across the United States, in the Caribbean and Japan.  Benchmark Conference Centers® maintain the highest standards for certification in meeting excellence.  Benchmark Hospitality was launched in 1980 as an independent company and today operates worldwide from offices in The Woodlands (Houston), Texas, and regional offices in New Jersey, Washington State, Japan and Chile.  For additional company information visit

October 02, 2015
Meeting Encore Welcomes New Regional Director

Port Hope, ON (October 2, 2015) Meeting Encore Ltd. is pleased to announce that Shannon Byck has joined the team as Regional Director beginning today. 

As Meeting Encore celebrates its 25th Anniversary, Joe Nishi and Jenn Glynn, Managing Partners and co-owners of Canada’s premier strategic sourcing company are thrilled to announce their newest Regional Director.

Shannon brings 15 years of meeting management expertise to the team. Her previous experience includes managing, planning and executing meetings and events for Canada Health Infoway, the Ontario Hospital Association and an association management firm.  She is a member of PCMA, has volunteered with MPI Toronto Chapter and holds a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) designation.

“We are very excited that our Meeting Encore family is growing once again. We know that Shannon will be a great compliment to our team.” says Jenn. “She brings the ‘client perspective’ and her passion for providing great customer service and strong work ethic makes her a natural fit,” states Joe.

Shannon is a stand-up-and-cheer fan of both the Toronto Blue Jays and Toronto Maple Leafs. She enjoys searching for the best sparkling wine, mastering the art of popcorn making, loving (and hating) crossfit and planning her next travel adventure with her partner, Joe.

Carol-Ann, Solange, David, Elizabeth, Frank, Sandi, Rachel, Jen, Grace and Colin, join Joe and Jennifer in welcoming Shannon to the Meeting Encore team.

Shannon will officially join the team on October 2nd. She can be reached at


Meeting Encore Ltd. is Canada’s first and finest strategic sourcing company. They provide hotel consulting and site location services and have been partnering with their clients for the past 25 years. They can be reached at 905-403-9646, contacted via their website at and followed on Twitter at @Meeting_Encore

September 28, 2015

OAKVILLE, ONTARIO (September 28, 2015) EMA Marketing is committed to providing clients with an extensive selection of prestigious resorts that offer the highest standards in business and recreational facilities; they are thrilled to introduce new partnerships with two beautiful and unique gems located in St. Lucia and Port Severn, Ontario. Stunning Capella Marigot Bay Resort & Marina in Saint Lucia offers unparalleled luxury for a business conference in one of the Caribbean’s most coveted locations. For businesses looking within Canada, Rawley Resort Spa & Marina offers a serene and idyllic setting along the beautiful Trent Severn Waterway in the gateway to the Muskokas. 

Capella Marigot Bay Resort and Marina boasts 124 rooms, including spacious one-, two- and three-bedroom suites with a patio or balcony overlooking the stunning bay or lush tropical gardens. Modern conveniences include flat screen televisions, espresso machines and tea facilities, free wi-fi, plush robes, and 24/7 access to fitness facilities. Personal Assistants are ready to fulfill every request as guests relax in their room. 

Dining at Capella Marigot Bay restaurants are a celebration of Saint Lucian island culture and cuisine.  With an emphasis on the freshest, locally sourced seafood, prime meats, produce, and spices, our culinary team crafts inventive seasonal menus that are a fusion of traditional Saint Lucian flavors and contemporary American and European influences. Cultivating relationships with Saint Lucian farmers and fishermen, our resources and ingredients are of the highest quality that are woven into dishes, creating an unmatched culinary experience.

Distinguished service and creative cuisine are available at a variety of private and public restaurant settings throughout the resort. Choose from our signature restaurant The Grill at 14°61°,  that offers unmatched views of Marigot Bay, the scenic Bayside Café, our swim-up Brut Bar and Pool Bar, or the distillery-inspired lounge of the Rum Cave to sample the Caribbean’s premier rums and cigars. For more intimate occasions, dine on your room’s private terrace, at the romantic treehouse, or within the Alexandria Gardens.

There’s nothing like inspiring views and a professional yet relaxing ambience to get your mental clogs turning – and there are no meeting and event spaces quite as luxurious as those found at recently renovated Capella Marigot Bay Resort & Marina; the perfect destination to knuckle down, re-group and plan for the future.   Having recently re-opened following a multi-million dollar renovation, the team at Capella Marigot Bay Resort & Marina are welcoming all guests to take advantage of their brand new corporate facilities...

The Boudreau Room, perfect for business banquets and events, Capella Marigot Bay’s Boudreau Room offers spectacular panoramic views of both Marigot Bay and the coastal rainforest, through stunning floor-to-ceiling height windows. Accommodating up to 100 guests, there is also an awe-inspiring terrace which provides the ideal outdoor space to relax and network during meeting breaks.  Observation Deck & Lower Pool Deck, corporate guests looking for a breath-taking, outdoor venue will be swept away by Capella Marigot Bay’s double-decker offering with both an Observation Deck AND Lower Pool Deck; the perfect combination for a casual business event. An impressive space that is sure to leave any audience amazed, this venue accommodates up to 250 guests!  The Palm Pavilion, a tropical oasis offering great flexibility for groups of all sizes, the Palm Pavilion is an open air space – at Dock level – which is perfect for evening events, where guests can wind-down and watch the sunset over the ocean. Accommodating up to 250 guests, this Caribbean oasis will ensure your event is all your guests can talk about for a long time after.

From adventure to decadence, guests will have no shortage of options to fill their days at Capella Marigot Bay. A hike in the majestic Piton mountains, a sunset cruise along the coastline, deep sea fishing, or an afternoon of pampering at the Auriga Spa are just a few of the ways guests can unwind in this exotic locale.

For a business getaway closer to home, Port Severn’s Rawley Resort Spa & Marina is a convenient 90 minute drive from Toronto, offering an idyllic setting alongside the Trent-Severn Waterway. With twenty exquisitely decorated suites, guests can choose between one- and two-bedroom accommodations that include plush white towels, AVEDA products, free wi-fi, big screen satellite TV, and complimentary coffee, tea, and snacks. Select rooms feature an electric fireplace for cooler nights and/or a fully equipped kitchenette.

Corporate meetings are executed with professional skill by a team of exceptional hospitality staff. The 1300 square foot meeting room is flooded with natural light and includes wi-fi, presentation screens and projectors, and stereo sound. The outstanding chef Kay Bonsu will create the perfect menu, using local ingredients, to complement any occasion and satisfy the most discerning taste buds. The Restaurant at Rawley Resort offers a casual dining room, piano bar, intimate courtyard, or patio overlooking the water.  

The resort’s spa, Radiant Reflections, provides pure bliss through its array of luxe treatments meant to restore body, mind, and soul using Eminence organic skin care products. Guests may also choose to play golf at the Oak Bay Golf Course, Muskoka’s newest 18-hole golf course on the eastern shore of breathtaking Georgian Bay. 

EMA Marketing is proud to add both luxury resorts to its portfolio. The additions are in line with EMA’s mission to offer an exclusive selection of unique world-class destinations with exceptional professionalism for a memorable and smoothly executed off-site event. The company is proud to congratulate yet another one of its partner resorts for winning a prestigious award:The Wickaninnish Inn, located in Tofino on Vancouver Island, ranked #1 on the Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards 2015 list of Top Resorts in Canada.

About EMA Marketing:EMA Marketing is the authorized representative for some of the world's most luxurious and exclusive hotels & resorts and elite group of Destination Management Companies. The portfolio of award-winning, international hotels and resorts offers the perfect property for meetings or incentive retreats.

Contact: Liz Akey, CMP                                                                                                         905-338-6222



September 24, 2015
Vancouver to Host Industry’s Top Meeting for Meeting Planners

Four thousand influential meeting professionals will scope out Vancouver at PCMA Convening Leaders in January 2016

Vancouver, BC—The Vancouver Convention Centre, Tourism Vancouver and the local hospitality community will welcome the Professional Convention Management Association’s (PCMA) flagship education conference, Convening Leaders, from January 10 to 13, 2016.

Now open for registration, PCMA’s 60th annual Convening Leaders conference will bring 4,000 industry-leading meeting planners and suppliers to the Vancouver Convention Centre for three days of unparalleled networking and education, showcasing the latest innovations in event technology, meeting design and business event strategy. In addition to contributing an estimated $6.2 million in direct spending to the BC economy, the convention represents millions of dollars of potential future meetings business for Vancouver.

In order to generate excitement and stimulate registrations, the Vancouver Convention Centre, Tourism Vancouver and the PCMA Local Host Committee collaborated on a cheeky video, which launched today. The playful video riffs off Convening Leaders’ theme of “Cultivating Creative Moments” by telling the story of PCMA’s first site visit to Vancouver. The twist? The cast consists solely of children, playing on the creative and youthful energy of Vancouver and its meetings industry. 

The local Host Committee, consisting of members from the Convention Centre, Tourism Vancouver, hotels and hospitality partners, has been working tirelessly with PCMA over the last year to plan this important event. Highlights include an opening reception at BC Place Stadium, featuring Vancouver’s innovative culinary scene, and a closing event at the Vancouver Convention Centre themed “come home before you go home” that offers Vancouver-style hospitality in a fun and informal atmosphere.


Deborah Sexton, PCMA President and CEO
“The LEED®  Platinum certified Vancouver Convention Centre, located on the waterfront in the heart of downtown Vancouver, is the perfect venue for Convening Leaders. Our participants and partners attend this event to not only learn and network, but also to experience the location for their own future meetings. This is the first time PCMA will be holding this program in Vancouver; discovering the city’s unique attributes and vibe will be of extreme interest to PCMA’s diverse audiences.”

Claire Smith, Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Vancouver Convention Centre and Co-Chair of the Vancouver Host Committee
“Hosting the best and brightest in our industry is a tremendous opportunity – PCMA Convening Leaders will be the largest site inspection in Vancouver’s history. Influential decision makers from across North America and around the world will experience Vancouver and our facility first-hand and learn why we are a leading destination for meetings and conventions – one that continues to attract the pinnacle of events, of which we are now proud to include Convening Leaders.”  

Dave Gazley, Vice President of Meeting and Convention Sales, Tourism Vancouver and Co-Chair of the Vancouver Host Committee
“Bidding on and securing citywide conventions is a highly competitive business – when Vancouver welcomes Convening Leaders in January, we’ll have the sustained attention of the world’s foremost meeting and convention professionals, as well as our industry colleagues. PCMA’s annual meeting puts a spotlight, and microscope, on the host destination. It is an incredible opportunity for Vancouver to pull out all the stops and demonstrate the skill, creativity and passion we put into hosting meetings, conventions and events.”

About Vancouver Convention Centre
Located on Vancouver’s downtown waterfront with a dramatic mountain backdrop, the world’s first LEED®  Platinum certified convention centre offers one of the most beautiful settings in the world. The award-winning Vancouver Convention Centre features two connected buildings with a combined total of 466,500 ft2 (43,340 m2) of flexible meeting, exhibition, ballroom and plenary space. The facility is committed to environmental sustainability as well as unparalleled service, technology offerings and culinary excellence.

About Tourism Vancouver
Tourism Vancouver’s focus is on building exceptional customer relationships with meeting planners, travel influencers, travel media and independent tourists. The organization’s brand essence is about "exceeding expectations".

About Professional Convention Management Association
PCMA is the multi-channel professional resource and premier educator for leaders in the meetings, conventions, events and trade show industries. PCMA provides their 6,000+ members with a community of like-minded colleagues, innovative education and creative global solutions to enhance both their professional development and their organization's face-to-face and virtual connections. Headquartered in Chicago, PCMA has 17 chapters throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico with members in more than 39 countries. For additional information, please visit the PCMA Web site at