Current News

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

Current News

December 13, 2019
Hudson Toronto Marks Latest Addition to sbe's The House of Originals Hotel Collection.

TORONTO, - sbe, the leading international hospitality group that develops, manages and operates award-winning brands, today announced it is bringing one of the hotel industry's most influential hotels, New York's iconic Hudson, to Toronto, Canada. Set to debut in 2024, the proposed 75,000 square foot project will be developed in partnership with Lamb Development Corp and IE Hospitality, featuring 146 rooms. Hudson Toronto will be a marquee addition to Toronto's bustling King West community, the city's vibrant entertainment and creative district. Surrounded by a lively art scene, glowing nightlife and buzzing entertainment venues, the hotel will feature an array of sbe's premium culinary and nightlife experiences, including a rooftop restaurant, a three-meal signature restaurant, expansive bar and café, among other features to be announced. 

"I am very proud to see the iconic Hudson Hotel take its legacy outside of New York in the cosmopolitan city of Toronto," said sbe Founder & CEO Sam Nazarian. "This marks the beginning of the Hudson brand's global expansion and continuation of its innovation and well-known fame. We couldn't be prouder to work with Lamb Development Corp and IE Hospitality, the most respected and well-known industry leaders, on this project and appreciate the trust they've put in sbe to bring one of the hospitality world's true originals to Toronto." 

"This development will continue to showcase Toronto as a world-class city, boasting some of the best hotels globally. The Hudson Toronto will undertake to attract more tourism, economic development and culinary expertise to Toronto's growing King West neighbourhood while also becoming a premiere destination for locals." said AJ Manji, Managing Director of IE Hospitality.

"This hotel is going to be fantastic. Architecturally it is stunning. It is a 146 room standalone hotel i.e., no condos, so we will be focused 100% on hotel guests. Our rooftop bar/restaurant overlooks the park and the skyline. It's going to be a hot ticket." said Brad J. Lamb, Founder of Lamb Development Corp.

Located at 445 Adelaide St West, the hotel will be in the heart of Toronto's King West community and immediately adjacent to St. Andrews Park. There are potential city plans to expand the park into a giant green space and urban playground for all ages. Known as a hotspot for wellness, food and entertainment, King West is attracting a range of urbanites, businesses and innovative commercial projects. 

The design team, for the Hudson Toronto features some of the biggest names in architecture and design, including award-winning, internationally recognized lead architect Peter Clewes, architects Alliance. 

Known for a deep commitment to city-building and sustainable growth that's evident in all his projects, Peter brings a unique, forward-looking perspective to shape the Hudson Toronto with a striking, culturally relevant design. 

Leading the interior design will be one of Canada's most preeminent and recognized design studios, The Design Agency. The internationally celebrated agency brings decades of experience and design excellence to the project, with more than 20 years of projects taking shape throughout 26 cities and nine countries. The agency is tasked with creating special interior environments through unique narratives. 

The Hudson is part of sbe's collection of luxury boutique hotels, the House of Originals, which consists of trailblazing properties that have set a standard for hospitality and experience that makes each hotel iconic in its own right. For every hotel in this collection, there is an undying spirit and promise of originality. Other House of Originals properties include the Sanderson and St. Martins Lane in London, 10 Karaköy in Istanbul, and the Shore Club in Miami Beach. 

The Hudson Toronto is an integral part of sbe's global expansion plan across all sbe hotel brands from SLS, Delano, The House of Originals, Mondrian and Hyde, in key global cities from Paris to Dubai and Buenos Aires to Mexico City, to mention a few.  

The project is subject to municipal approvals with hearings scheduled for Spring 2020. 

About sbe

Established in 2002 by Founder and CEO Sam Nazarian, sbe is a privately-held, leading lifestyle hospitality company that develops, manages and operates award-winning hotels, residences, restaurants and nightclubs. Through exclusive partnerships with cultural visionaries, sbe is devoted to creating extraordinary experiences throughout its proprietary brands with a commitment to authenticity, sophistication, mastery and innovation. Following the acquisition of Morgans Hotel Group, the pioneer of boutique lifestyle hotels, in partnership with Accor, sbe has an unparalleled global portfolio which will see 29 hotels and over 180 global world-renowned culinary, nightlife and entertainment venues by the end of 2019. The company is uniquely positioned to offer a complete lifestyle experience - from nightlife, food & beverage and entertainment to hotels and residences, and through its innovative customer loyalty and rewards program, The Code, as well as its award-winning international real estate development subsidiary, Dakota Development - all of which solidify sbe as the preeminent leader across hospitality. The company's established and upcoming hotel brands include SLS Hotel & Residences, Delano, Mondrian, The Redbury, HYDE Hotel & Residences, and The House of Originals. In addition, sbe has the following internationally acclaimed restaurants and lounges under subsidiary Disruptive Restaurant Group: Katsuya by Chef Katsuya Uechi, Umami Burger, Cleo, Fi'lia, Carna by Dario Cecchini, Leynia and Diez y Seis by Chef José Icardi, HYDE Lounge, S Bar, Doheny Room, Nightingale, Skybar, Bond, and Privilege.  To learn more, visit

About Lamb Development Corp 

Lamb Development Corp. (LDC) was founded in 2001 by Toronto's top condominium broker Brad J. Lamb to directly participate in the development of stylish, urban condominium projects. At that time, with over 13 years of experience in consulting, marketing, and the selling of more than 100 of Toronto's most innovative and exciting projects, Mr. Lamb wanted to bring something different to the development world. Since then, he has done just that; completing 19 developments, approximately 3400 suites for over $1.5B. Currently, Lamb Development Corp has three projects under construction, almost 800 suites for a value of $360 Million. Lamb Development Corp. is in design development on a further 15 projects in Torontoand the GTA with a value of $2.4 Billion. 

Lamb Development Corp. has become one of the country's busiest development companies, with each project pioneering up-and-coming locations and delivering a stylish, urban solution to each property. Completed projects in Toronto and Ottawaare some of the hippest, most contemporary buildings in those cities. Lamb Development Corp specializes in urban projects offering high design and spectacular architecture. 

About Impact Equity and IE Hospitality

IE Hospitality is the hospitality division of Impact Equity. Founded in 2015 Impact Equity, began with the vision to transform the landscape of communities in a long lasting impactful way through investing in commercial properties centered in and around Toronto's urban core. 

Their portfolio of world class, retail-oriented properties has been strategically acquired by investing in pre-construction, allowing for the hand in hand collaboration with Industry leading developers such as Lamb development Corp, along with architects, and engineers to create efficient, functional, and character driven spaces. 

IE Hospitality is new division developing lifestyle hotels, that are catered for the next generation of entrepreneurs and creative minds. 

The core values of IE hospitality revolve around delivering design forward concepts focused on service and delivering memorable guest experiences. 

To learn more, visit

December 11, 2019
Pan Pacific Hotels Group Expands Footprint in North America With Latest Addition in Toronto

Singapore—Pan Pacific Hotels Group puts another footprint in North America with the rebranding of The Westin Prince Hotel to Pan Pacific Toronto.

Pan Pacific Toronto will be the fifth hotel for Pan Pacific Hotels Group in North America, joining other hotels in Vancouver, Whistler in British Columbia and Seattle.

Mr Choe Peng Sum, Chief Executive Officer, Pan Pacific Hotels Group, said, “We are delighted to fly the Pan Pacific flag in Toronto. As an international brand, Pan Pacific will bring to the hotel not only its guests from North America where we have four other hotels, we are also able to reach out to the Asia Pacific feeder markets where we have over 40 properties including Australia and China which are among the top five source markets into Canada1.”

“The hotel has a heritage of 45 years and is well-loved as a resort within the city with its 15 acres of parkland. It has been awarded consistently with the AAA Four Diamond, more times than any other hotel in Canada, and has just seen a CAD15 million renovation this year, which gave it a refreshed look with renovated guestrooms and public areas. It is timely that the hotel is now under the Pan Pacific brand, which also has two other AAA Four Diamond hotels in Vancouver and Seattle. In addition, the hotel is now accessible to 15.6 million of its loyal guests from the world over through its Pan Pacific DISCOVERY programme,” commented Ms Maggie Zhang, Vice President of the owning company, 2465855 Ontario Ltd.

Located in North East Toronto, Pan Pacific Toronto is a well-known landmark to residents in the prestigious neighbourhood it calls home, with a warm and welcoming air throughout the 15 acres of scenic parkland it is nestled in. Magnificently tranquil, the hotel offers 409 generously-sized guest rooms and suites, with many overlooking the lush greenery surrounding the hotel and the cityscape beyond.

Pan Pacific Toronto is close to the vibrancy of Toronto downtown while just a 30-minute drive from Toronto Pearson International Airport. Three of Toronto’s largest malls – Yorkdale Mall, Scarborough Town Center and Fairview Mall – as well as the world-class Ontario Science Centre, are a 15-min drive from the hotel. Within half an hour’s drive from the hotel are Canada’s largest zoo and theme park— the Toronto Zoo and Canada’s Wonderland.

The hotel is known for its restaurants, especially Katsura, one of Toronto’s most respected Japanese restaurants with a sushi bar, traditional teppanyaki cooking tables, and private tatami rooms. The restaurant serves up the finest fish and seafood, expertly prepared by its in-house chefs in an elegant ambience. Seasons, its all-day dining restaurant, invites diners to nourish their soul in a bright and airy setting overlooking the wooded gardens.

Pan Pacific Toronto has 30,000 square feet of versatile meeting spaces including 18 meeting rooms and a ballroom which can hold up to 700 guests. Most of the meeting rooms have windows and natural light, making it a desirable venue for many. Events are also possible on the greens.

For relaxation, there are various options including an outdoor heated pool, walking paths, a tennis court and a fitness center with a whirlpool.

Media Contact
Cuili NG
Director, Brand & Corporate Communications

Pan Pacific Hotels Group

Mobile: +65 9634 4425

About Pan Pacific Hotels Group
Pan Pacific Hotels Group is a member of Singapore-listed UOL Group Limited, one of Asia’s most established hotel and property companies with an outstanding portfolio of investment and development properties.

Based in Singapore, Pan Pacific Hotels Group owns and/or manages nearly 50 hotels, resorts and serviced suites including those under development in 29 cities across Asia, Oceania, North America and Europe.

Voted “Best Regional Hotel Chain” by readers in Asia-Pacific from 2017 to 2019, Pan Pacific Hotels Group comprises two acclaimed brands: its signature brand, Pan Pacific and its deluxe brand, PARKROYAL.

Sincerity is the hallmark of Pan Pacific Hotels Group. The Group is known to its guests, partners, associates and owners for its sincerity in people and the sense of confidence which alleviates the stresses of today’s complex world. Visit us at

Pan Pacific Hotels and Resorts
With hotels, resorts and serviced suites across Asia, Oceania and North America, Pan Pacific provides a safe harbour in an ever-changing world. Places with less to worry about because, when you stay with us, rest assured that all will be taken care of. For this is where you will find your balance.

About Global Hotel Alliance
Global Hotel Alliance (GHA) is the world’s largest alliance of independent hotel brands, bringing together more than 30 brands with over 550 hotels in 78 countries. GHA uses a shared technology platform to drive incremental revenues and create cost savings for its member brands. GHA’s award-winning loyalty programme, DISCOVERY, provides 15 million members exclusive opportunities to immerse themselves in local culture wherever they travel. For more information, visit 


December 10, 2019
PRA Partners with ECPAT to Support Efforts to End to Human Trafficking

PRA, a leader in the Business Events industry, announces its alignment with ECPAT-USA, the leading anti-trafficking policy organization in the United States seeking to end the commercial, sexual exploitation of children through awareness and advocacy, policy and legislation. In addition, PRA has committed to 20BY20, a year-long campaign with a goal of training 20,000 business events professionals by the end of 2020 to help combat and end global human trafficking.

Established in 1991, ECPAT-USA partners with travel industry leaders to help companies implement programs and policies that address human trafficking and child exploitation. Through its advocacy work, ECPAT created The Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct (The Code), a set of business principles that travel and tour companies can implement to help protect the exploitation and trafficking of children. The Code provides awareness, tools, and support to ensure the travel and hospitality companies can endorse and support ECPAT-USA’s message.

“By joining forces with ECPAT-USA as hospitality leaders, we are able to help reduce the channels in which traffickers operate by raising awareness and supporting the efforts by ECPAT-USA,” shared Courtney Lohman, Director of Culture for PRA. “As a first step, we have conducted an internal training that addressed the signs/behavior to look for that relate to human trafficking and have put a plan in place to report suspicious activity that we may see. As a global business events firm, we operate programs in every corner of the world where we have the potential to directly impact this cause and take important steps to help end human trafficking. We look forward to utilizing our reach to support this great cause.”

For PRA, committing to ECPAT-USA and fighting human trafficking is the first step in a larger Corporate Social Responsibility plan for 2020 and beyond. The plan is based on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and aligns with many of the calls to action we encounter in business and the world today. PRA has identified several SDGs as part of its year-one plan.  ECPAT-USA aligns with SDG 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions), while other upcoming programs will align with additional SDGs.

Lohman added: “As a leader in our sector, we know our reach has to be stronger than just one cause or just one idea. We want to contribute in a positive way to our clients, partners and the communities where our events take place. The fight to make our world a better place starts with each one of us and how we conduct our daily lives and business. Building a CSR and sustainability plan around the SDGs is good for business and the communities we work in around the world. If we can all align with these goals, the future will be much brighter.”

“ECPAT-USA is thrilled to partner with PRA to come together around the key issues of prevention, protection and prosecution to build a future where this crime cannot exist,” shared Michelle Guelbart, Director of Private Sector Engagement, ECPAT-USA. “Through partnerships with leading hospitality organizations like PRA, we can amplify our message and make a meaningful difference in helping end human trafficking and child exploitation.”


ECPAT-USA is the leading anti-child trafficking organization in the United States seeking to end the commercial sexual exploitation of children through awareness, advocacy, policy, and legislation. ECPAT-USA is a member of ECPAT International, a network of organizations in more than 95 countries with one joint mission: to eliminate the sexual exploitation of children around the world. For more information, visit


Headquartered in Chicago with 28 offices throughout North America, PRA is a leading business event management firm, creating experiences which move hearts, minds, and businesses forward. Through its ownership of events and communication agency One Smooth Stone, PRA offers end-to-end integrated creative, production and communication solutions aligned with business events.

PRA blends Passion, Reach and Authenticity to consistently deliver incomparable experiences that engage participants and exceed business goals.

PRA’s reach runs deep, delivering value to millions of participants over nearly 40 years in every major destination across North America and beyond.  For information on our complete portfolio of services, please visit or email: Follow PRA on our blog or on any of our social media sites.

December 04, 2019
A host of prestigious awards makes for an suspicious autumn for Germain Hôtels

Autumn 2019 has been particularly celebratory for both Germain Hotels and its leaders, having been the recipients of several honours in recent weeks. Here’s a glimpse.


On November 13th, the Alliance de l’industrie touristique du Québec held its Excellence Awards where Christiane and Jean-Yves Germain received the 2019 Grand Bâtisseur award from Tourism Minister Caroline Proulx. The award was presented to them for their audaciousness, vision, sustainable development values and leadership role in the industry.

"To be recognized in this way is truly touching. For 31 years, we have been building a company that is in keeping with our image and our values, and we’re thrilled that it resonates with people. We are passionate about hospitality and we do our best to transmit that to our 1,450 employees across the country. It’s a way of promoting every city and province in which we operate," state Christiane and Jean- Yves Germain, Co-Founders and Co-Presidents of Germain Hotels.

A video tribute was created for the occasion. You are invited to view it here (in French only).


This marks the fourth year that Ms. Germain has been named to this prestigious list, meaning she is now entered into the Hall of Fame. The Top 100 honours Canada's outstanding women who champion diversity in the workplace and inspire the next generation of leaders. You can view the complete list of Hall of Fame members here.


Announced earlier this year, the plans to construct a hotel on the grounds of the Ottawa International Airport were recognized on November 22nd at the Best Ottawa Business Awards (BOBs). Germain Hotels and the Ottawa International Airport Authority jointly accepted the Best Ottawa Business Award in the Tourism category. The award underscores the importance of this promising project in the nation’s capital. View the press releasehere.


At the SQPRP Gala evening on December 3, 2019, Ms. Germain received the Public Relations Tribute Award in recognition of her outstanding qualities as a communicator.

"By using communications intelligently, honestly and respectfully, Ms. Germain has earned the esteem of the public and her peers,” says Patrick Howe, PRP, ARP, and President of the SQPRP.

The SQPRP Tribute Award is presented annually to a leader who has leveraged public relations to its full value and who has used it as a strategic management function throughout their career. "Whether it is our guests, the communities in which our hotels are present, our partners, our employees or our suppliers, we have always believed in the power of relationships. I firmly believe that forging strong and genuine relationships with people, all rooted in kindness, will lead to a better, stronger society," states Christiane Germain, Co-President Germain Hotels.


Hôtel Le Germain Québec once again ranked high on Conde Nast Traveler's Reader’s Choice. A favourite of its loyal guests and a constant on this prestigious list since 2005, the hotel ranked seventh in Canada for 2019. View the complete list of hotels here.


Germain Hotels is a Canadian family-run business that owns and operates Le Germain Hotels, Alt and Alt+ Hotels across Canada. Ranked as one of Canada’s best-managed companies, the business is known for its exceptional hospitality philosophy and the unique style that characterizes its hotels. Having celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2018, Germain Hotels has achieved its ambitious goal of having 20 hotels by 2020; the 1,450-employee company’s ultimate goal is now to become the first independent, truly pan-Canadian hotel group. Visit Germain Hotels


December 03, 2019
Atlific Hotels is proud to announce Tony D’Ariano named Tourism HR Canada Employee of the Year

The Maintenance Manager for Residence Inn by Marriott London Downtown was awarded the prestigious accolade at the 2019 Canadian Tourism Awards

Toronto, ON - Atlific Hotels is proud to announce that Tony D’Ariano, Maintenance Manager for its managed property, Residence Inn by Marriott London Downtown, has been recognized as the 2019 Tourism HR Canada Employee of the Year. The honour was awarded to D’Ariano at the 2019 Canadian Tourism Awards presented by the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) in Ottawa on November 20, 2019. 

The annual Canadian Tourism Awards recognize success, leadership and innovation in Canada's tourism industry. They serve to reward those people, places, organizations and events that have gone above and beyond to showcase Canada’s very best by offering travellers superior tourism experiences. 

The Tourism HR Canada Employee of the Year Award is bestowed upon a front-line employee whose professionalism, dedication, attitude, and quality of service best exemplify excellence in the tourism industry. 

“Having recently celebrated his 15th anniversary with the hotel, Tony remains as passionate in his role today as he was on day one of his Marriott journey,” said Anna McNutt, General Manager, Residence Inn by Marriott London Downtown. “He is always ready and willing to help management, his colleagues, peers, contractors and guests to improve the overall hotel experience in any way that he can. Tony is a shining example of Atlific’s core management values. He inspires and leads by example.” She continued. 

D’Ariano was nominated and recognized for his constant effort to go above and beyond the call of duty. From assuming the role of Chair of Health and Safety for Residence Inn by Marriott London Downtown, to taking the time to personally change a guest’s flat tire spotted in the hotel lot, to being the first and last person on-site to assist with social and charitable functions, to leading by example with his warm and friendly attitude and boosting morale, Tony is a key factor in the overall success of the hotel and its superior guest experience.


Atlific Hotels is one of the leading hotel management companies in Canada operating over 55 hotels with offices in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. Atlific Hotels has 60 years of experience managing well-known Canadian hotels, resorts, and extended stay properties. The company has built a reputation for best in business accounting reporting, information technology solutions and support, exceptional sales, marketing and revenue management programs and sound operational systems. Atlific Hotels’ parent company, Ocean Properties Hotels Resorts & Affiliates operates 68 hotels throughout the United States. Together they manage over 120 properties in North America with over 19,400 rooms, which include independent hotels and resorts as well as internationally recognized hotel brands such as Marriott, Hilton, and IHG. For more information please visit


Lindsay Silverberg or Rachel Mulligan
Aerial Communications Group

November 27, 2019
EMA Marketing adds two new properties — Windermere House and The Laundry Rooms — to its exceptional portfolio

EMA Marketing adds two new properties — Windermere House and The Laundry Rooms — to its exceptional portfolio. EMA Marketing is pleased to offer even more choice in luxury accommodation with its addition of two new partners, Windermere House in Muskoka Lakes, ON, and The Laundry Rooms in Waterloo, ON.

Getting ready to celebrate 150 years, the historic Windermere House is set amidst the beauty and tranquility of prestigious Lake Rosseau in the heart of Muskoka. The iconic boutique hotel offers 52 rooms, including a two-bedroom suite with a full kitchen, living room and private balcony. For added luxury, guests can stay in the three-bedroom executive cottage. Three meeting rooms — the largest at 1,500 sq. ft. — offer a spacious, comfortable work environment. When it’s time for a bite, guests can enjoy unparalleled views of the lake at one of the hotel’s two restaurants, Rosseau Grill and Terrace, and Windermere Pub.

Activities offered include golf, tennis, yoga, water sports and more. Guests can take a break and relax with some pampering at Windermere’s luxury spa Amba , which is complete with four treatment rooms and two manicure and pedicure stations. The sounds of a crackling bonfire make the perfect end to the day. Windermere is the ideal resort for a “Buyout” with its movie-like setting and full array of amenities.

The Laundry Rooms, 181 King St. S. is conveniently located in one of the largest technology clusters in North America. Opening in June of 2020, this truly unique property balances the space and comfort of a fully-appointed luxury condominium with the style and hospitality of an intimate hotel. It’s perfect for meetings or incentive retreats.

The 35 suites at The Laundry Rooms are larger than standard hotel rooms, offering sophisticated one- and two-bedroom furnished residences. Each suite has separate living and sleeping areas, allowing guests to conduct business or entertain as they would at home.

Kitchens come with everything needed to create a gourmet meal, including high-end appliances and, if desired, cupboards fully-stocked with guests’ favourite foods. For a truly unforgettable experience, a personal chef can attend to every culinary whim. A seasonally-diverse menu awaits discerning diners at The French Bar and Bistro, whether guests are in the mood for a light bite or multi-course meal. World-class amenities include a state-of-the-art fitness centre with an outdoor pool on the 4th floor and terraces. Private meeting space for 60 people is available, with two breakout rooms and shared work spaces. Covered and secure parking provides peace of mind.

Each property is the perfect addition to EMA Marketing’s extensive portfolio of luxury hotels, resorts and destination management companies.

For more information or to book an event at Windermere House or The Laundry Rooms, please contact EMA Marketing at (905) 338-6222 or Email:

November 19, 2019
Industry Report Outlines Principles of Event Strategy, Design and Execution to Differentiate Live Event Professionals

Chicago – The International Live Events Association (ILEA) today announced a report that outlines 10 principles of event strategy, design and execution to enable live event professionals to demonstrate the value of the event planning process to clients.

“Demonstrating Value Through Process Transparency” is a follow-up to the dialogue at the 2019 ILEA Global Event Forum, Aug. 6-7 in Minneapolis, which invited 26 elite live event influencers from around the globe to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing today’s event industry.

The group continued conversations started at the 2018 Global Event Forum on the topic of live event businesses being a commodity. The 2019 Global Event Forum participants determined that there is a lack of clarity around the value of the live event professional’s process and defined three phases of event planning.

“As live event professionals, we know what we offer our clients is unmatched by what amateurs deliver,” said Jennifer Trethewey, CSEP, ILEA president. “The 2019 ILEA Global Event Forum report helps articulate to clients in concrete detail that the value we provide is the process, not the product, and is intended to eventually shift the perception that live event businesses are a commodity.”

To download a complimentary copy of the report, visit

ILEA and the Global Event Forum leaders are dedicated to continuing the conversation and providing tangible tools for live event professionals to use and share. A complimentary live webinar will take place on Nov. 20 at 11 a.m. Central. Register at

Giants Enterprises is an elite sponsor and Hello Destination Management is a presenting sponsor of the 2019 Global Event Forum.

Dates and information for the ILEA 2020 Global Event Forum to be announced.

About the International Live Events Association (ILEA)
The International Live Events Association (ILEA), formerly known as ISES (International Special Event Society) 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 event experiences. For more information, visit  

Ande Leslie, Marketing and Communications Manager
t: +1.312.673.5534 | e:

November 18, 2019
Iconic Wineries of British Columbia Announce a New Director

KELOWNA, B.C. – Iconic Wineries of British Columbia is pleased to announce that Clee Varon has been named Director of Business Development. Iconic Wineries of British Columbia consists of five wineries located in the Okanagan Valley, including Mission Hill Family Estate, CedarCreek Estate Winery, Martin’s Lane Winery, Road 13 Vineyards and Checkmate Artisanal Winery.

Clee brings over 30 years of Canadian Hotels & Resort management experience, having spent 18 years at Fairmont Hotels & Resorts in the Canadian Rockies, 12 years with Skyline Hotels & Resorts in Ontario and most recently, leading business development for Fox Harb’r, a luxury resort in Nova Scotia.

“As our new Director of Business Development, Clee Varon will play a vital role in developing events and experiences for our iconic portfolio of properties. Her multi-site and premium property sales experience will be the key to us establishing our position as the premier event destination in British Columbia through which we can access new guests, and build loyalty across our iconic winery locations”, says Darryl Brooker, President of Mission Hill Family Estate Winery.

November 18, 2019
SITE Draws 120 Incentive Travel Professionals to Istanbul To Re-Ignite the Flame of Incentive Travel

Following highly successful events in Dublin (2017) and Rwanda (2018), SITE Executive Summit took place in Turkey from 14 – 17 November drawing 120 incentive travel professionals to Istanbul to
re-ignite the flame of incentive travel.

Launched in 2008  as a response to requests from destination marketing organizations (DMOs), convention & visitors bureaus (CVBs) and destination-based influencers for education and best practice exchange specifically around incentive travel, SITE Executive Summit has grown into an important annual event pivoting around learning and destination immersion during which members of the international board of directors and trustees of the SITE Foundation gather at the selected destination for three to four days.

During a densely packed day of education, over 100 Istanbul-based incentive travel professionals including representatives from the Turkish Ministry of Culture & Tourism and Turkish Airlines, joined  the SITE global leadership at Kethuda, a former Hammam, to explore key themes and trends for the business events industry in Turkey. Presentations included case studies on destinations that have recovered from challenging times, recent global research into the incentive travel industry and panel discussions on destination marketing and selection and on business communication in global environment. Delegates also rotated around eight discussion topics led by the global SITE leadership. 

“The recovery has already started for Turkey but hosting SITE Executive Summit will provide further impetus and help us truly re-ignite the incentive flame in our destination. Thanks to Turkish Airlines, access to global source markets has never been better and investment across the full spectrum of hotel types continues unabated. Buyers in search of a truly transformational destination at the right price won’t ever see again the value available in Turkey these days” said Hasan Dinc, CITP, president of SITE Turkey and Managing Director, ODS Turkey. 

“The Incentive Travel Industry Index highlights how Turkey can benefit from new, emerging source markets in China and Latin America while continuing to response to strong demand from the more traditional ones like the U.S., Canada and Western Europe. The entire SITE leadership team was hugely impressed by the new Istanbul airport, by the outstanding hotel product and, especially, by the deep professionalism of the local incentive travel community. We believe the flame of incentive travel in Turkey is indeed burning brightly and we look forward to Istanbul becoming, once again, a beacon of inspiration for destinations all over the world”, said Philip Eidsvold, CIS, CITP, President of SITE 2019 and VP, Strategic Partnerships, One10. 

“SITE brought the European SITE University to Istanbul in 1998 and, since then, we’ve always had a strong SITE chapter in Turkey. In the 20 plus years since 1998, despite some ups and downs, Istanbul has become one of the most sought after destinations for incentive travel with an extraordinary range of quality five-star properties and an unique west meets east cultural offering that ensures the city lives long in your heart after you’ve been there”, added Didier Scaillet, CIS, CITP, CEO of SITE. 

Destinations interested in partnering with SITE for an Executive Summit should apply to Tahira Endean ( to receive a copy of our RFP.

For photos please contact Jennifer Juergens,

About Incentive Travel & SITE

Incentive Travel, the “I” in MICE, is the fastest growing sector of the Business Events industry with the highest per capita spend and the widest supply chain. Accounting for about 7% of all Business Events activities, the Events Industry Council’s Global Economic Impact study (2018) estimates the incentive travel industry to be worth around $75 billion globally. The Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE) is the only Business Events association dedicated exclusively to the global incentive travel industry. Founded in 1973, we are a professional association of 2,500 members located in 90 countries, working in corporations, agencies, airlines, cruise companies and across the entire destination supply chain. We bring value to our members at both global and local chapter level by networking, on-line resources, education, certification and advocacy. SITE Foundation was established by SITE to support research, education and advocacy projects on behalf of the incentive travel industry. Monies raised by the SITE Foundation help us make the business case for incentive travel and highlight the transformational potential of travel experiences on individuals, enterprises and communities. The SITE Foundation is a registered charity holding a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization status.

November 15, 2019
New partnership with Wicket and Industrial re-envisions the member experience

CSAE is thrilled to announce that we are working in partnership with Wicket and Industrial to reimagine our approach to technology.  Over the next several months, CSAE will roll out a new suite of software tools to better manage, engage with, and deliver services and information to members. 

CSAE’s president and CEO, Tracy Folkes Hanson, said: “After a careful examination of our processes and our member experience, CSAE is ready to move forward with a new set of tools to carry us forward in our mission. We wanted to find a solution that would give CSAE the utmost flexibility to adopt technology as it continues to evolve at such a rapid pace. We know from our members that technology is an area they want to have a better handle on, so we also hope that CSAE’s journey becomes a valuable case study for the sector.”

The selection of Wicket - the world’s first Member Data Platform - as the database for all of CSAE’s membership data is at the core of CSAE’s technological shift. Wicket will store all of CSAE’s membership information, empowering staff to easily view, manage and report on a rich data set. In addition, self-directed tools with single sign-on capability will enable members to self-manage their profiles, eliminating time and redundancies and putting the power into users’ hands.

Danielle Lamothe, CSAE’s vice-president of learning and innovation, noted: “With this new technological integration, we are positioning the organization for the future. Finding Wicket, a Canadian company that is doing such innovative work in the association landscape is incredibly exciting.”

As part of the digital transformation, CSAE has chosen Industrial, a leading Canadian website firm focused on the association sector,  to develop a flexible and user-friendly website. It will be deployed on WordPress, the world’s leading Content Management System (CMS)

“To effectively position CSAE as a leader within the association community and deliver a member-friendly experience, the need to develop a new website was clear,” said Penny Tantakis, CSAE’s Director of Marketing.

“Industrial’s team couldn’t be more excited to partner with CSAE and Wicket on this opportunity,” said Rod Zylstra, president of Industrial. “Our team works with Canadian associations every day to deliver modern website solutions, and the opportunity to work with a leader in the sector is something our entire team is looking forward to.”

As part of the digital transformation, CSAE will additionally leverage a suite of modern software tools to deliver the functionality needed for effective operations and member service. New tools will include Canadian-based Shopify for the bookstore, MailChimp for email marketing, Canadian-based Fusebill for membership billing, and Canadian-based Klipfolio for reporting and dashboards.

“At Wicket, our model is focused on providing associations with the flexibility to choose the software that best meets their needs,” said Jeff Horne, Co-Founder & CEO of Wicket. “Wicket uniquely ties all of these systems together, synchronizing membership data, and collecting valuable engagement data across the board.”

CSAE’s plans to roll out the new digital platform in early 2020. Watch for news and updates to come on this exciting development!