Captivating locations. Inspired experiences. Easy to get to from here.
- Wednesday, February 21, 2018

When New York area meeting planners are seeking a safe, affordable and chic destinations to host their next corporate meeting or incentive program, they look to our northern neighbor, and the world of possibilities found in Canada.

Urban, Resort, Luxury or Legendary Destinations

Canada is a mighty big country and for planners seeking both familiar and exotic locations to convene – well, the options are almost boundless.

Ideas and world views are traded daily in Canada – in dynamic cities that huddle close to the US border. Ottawa, the country’s G7 Capital is a mere 90-minutes from New York City, but feels like a world away. Nearby, Montréal, undeniably stylish, has become Canada’s cultural capital. Hot off the heels of its 375th birthday in 2017, this island city has been voted top North American meetings destination year after year. When combined with nearby Tremblant Resort, or Québec City, it’s a favorite dual-destination incentive reward — an exotic slice of Europe without the jetlag!

The best and the brightest convene in Toronto, known far and wide as Canada’s Downtown. The second largest financial center in North America, and the second largest tech center outside of Silicon Valley, Toronto’s multicultural mosaic, global food scene, and major league sports teams help round out conference agendas and shatter attendance records year over year. Speaking of records — 2018 is teed up to set records for conferences meeting in Vancouver. A sophisticated city plunked in the heart of a rainforest, Vancouver has earned its moment in the spotlight, having been voted the highest rated business meeting site in North America, the Top Convention City in Canada, the Best Foreign City for Meetings, and a top 10 spot in Conde Nast Traveler’s Best Cities in the World. Alone, it’s a dynamic location for conferences, but when incentive planners really seek to ramp up the wow factor, they combine their reward programs with experiences in nearby Victoria and/or Whistler Resort.

Luxurious and Legendary Resorts and Retreats

Canada’s luxury resorts and legendary destinations offer plenty of space for strategic thinking, and even more rewards. Mountainside, oceanside, in the heart of wine country, or bounding a secluded lake, each destination provides an opportunity to clear corporate cobwebs, strategize for the future, or celebrate big wins.

High-adrenalin wildlife adventures help fuel new ways of thinking. In Canada, corporate groups can get up-close-and personal with Humpback and Orca whales and Grizzly bears at Sonora Resort, fish for Pacific Salmon and go Heli-hiking at Clayoquot Wilderness Retreat, kayak with Belugas and sleep over with Polar bears in legendary Churchill in between strategy sessions. More refined, but no less remarkable are the luxury lodges tucked away in some of Canada’s most picturesque outposts: the remarkable and luxurious Fogo Island Inn in outport Newfoundland, and, on the western edge of Vancouver Island, the Wickanannish Inn create deeply immersive retreat experiences for those willing to make the journey.

If golf and spa are on the agenda, well, you won’t find much better than Canada’s acclaimed retreats and resorts. From Nova Scotia’s Fox Harb’r Resort where presidents and PGA champions have teed off, to mountain golf at the Fairmont Banff Springs and Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge golf courses, to BC’s Predator Ridge and Sparkling Hill desert oasis to Victoria’s acclaimed Bear Mountain Resort — each offers views so dramatic it will be hard to keep one’s eye on the ball. Pair these golf experience with the luxurious accommodations, indulgent spas, hyper-local culinary scene and the best of regional entertainment, and you’ve got a corporate retreat everyone will remember.

Meet, Engage, Explore in Canada

From global conventions, to corporate conferences and ultra-immersive incentive experiences, the experts at Business Events Canada help planners take the guesswork out of meeting in Canada. For assistance in planning your next event, connect with:

Michael Shannon, CMP
Director, Business Development, Northeast


New Year…New Event Management Software - Tuesday, February 1, 2018

By Julie Green Davis

We've all been there. Contemplating whether or not our event management software is growing with us or holding us back. This always seems to be one of the year-end questions event professionals ask themselves. Should I stay or should I go…with my event management software that is. Change is tough. You and your team have worked in a particular software for a while so it's comfortable. But it's not really that comfortable because you can no longer ignore the major pain points that keep creeping up throughout the year. And the time…argh! The time to implement a new event management software would be too much. And what if the team hates the new system?

So, should you stay or should you go…

Trust me…I get it and I hear this quite a bit. How can you know and trust what else is out there if you are not taking the time to learn or evaluate other solutions that could take your organization to the next level? Well, you've come to the right place because I'm going to share some tips on evaluating a new software.

First things first. Let's discuss the idea of staying in your current solution even though you know it's not the right fit for your business. Here are some of the common pain points I hear:

  1. My current processes are very manual…I am always downloading different data points and having to create spreadsheets manually which is starting to lead to human errors which is creating inconsistency.
  2. None of my solutions work seamlessly in collaboration (CRMs, Travel & Hotel, marketing automation tools, sourcing, mobile apps, call for papers, etc.).
  3. Software is not scalable. Our current solution doesn't
  4. Support is MIA.
  5. Software limitations, i.e. the software can't take our business to the next level.
  6. Lack of innovation.

With these roadblocks, you cannot afford to take the time to stay in a solution that isn't right for you and your team, right? It's time for you to set aside your "buts" and "ands" and really invest the time in elevating a new event management software. I love the saying, "You don't know what you don't know." If you are having issues with your current software, imagine eliminating one or multiple of those pain points above and gaining even more than you could ever imagine with a new event management software.

First of all, congratulations, you're already identified your need for a new event management software! And you've probably identified some of the must-haves features in a solution. Let me help you with the next part: The proper steps on how to start the process of looking for your new software:

  1. Take a look at your current software and put a list together of the following:
    1. Features that are currently lacking in the areas of:
      1. Integrations
      2. Data Security
      3. Support
  1. Key features your team needs in order to be successful in the new software
  2. Main reasons/goals for switching to a new solution
  3. What does the timeline of executing a new software look like:
    1. When is your current contract expiring?
    2. What events do you want/need in the new software?
    3. What does your security review and contracting process look like?
    4. How long does your team need to be trained?
      1. Discuss training options that best fit your team members and put a plan in place
    5. When do you need to be fully implemented in the new software?
  4. After your checklist is completed, elevate the market:
    1. Who are the top event management solutions in the industry?
    2. How do they stack up against YOUR needs and potential future needs?
    3. What is their current process for new features/innovations?
  5. Once you figure out who is the best software for your needs, work with the proper people from your team and the new software provider to ensure a successful transition.

With 2017 almost behind us, let's look to the future and ring in the New Year on the right foot. You cannot afford another year staying stagnant. Start the change you and your team needs to achieve great things in 2018.

Disney Inspired Christmas Trees - Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Disney Springs is a winter wonderland. Their Christmas Tree Trail is a one of a kind experience of unique photo-ops, falling snow, Santa’s Chalet (with a six hour wait to see Santa!) and festive music. Wandering through the magical pathway, guests will discover 25 holiday trees inspired by a Disney character or theme.

Tree at entrance is filled with ornaments listing the Disney Shops and Restaurants

Mickey and Minnie Mouse

Sleeping Beauty

Beauty and the Beast

The Little Mermaid

101 Dalmatians



Robin Hood


Peter Pan

The Jungle Book

The Muppets


Mary Poppins

Alice in Wonderland

Assorted characters

Join MPIGNY for a great event featuring Jim Spellos - Thursday, August 31, 2017

Watch the Event Promo Video

5 Questions with Tech Guru and September Education Event Presenter, Jim Spellos

The idea of Virtual Reality (VR) was predicted in the 1930s in a science fiction story by Stanley G. Weinbaum. The idea hinted at a pair of goggles that let the wearer experience a fictional world through holographics, smell, taste and touch.  Augmented Reality (AR) was also hinted at in 1968 when the first head-mounted display system was made.  Fast forward 50-years and we are living in a world where those predicted technologies exist and provide a vast number of opportunities for the meetings and events industry today.

Our upcoming interactive Education Event, “ARnival An Interactive Technology Event,” will take place on Tuesday, September 12th at The Stewart Hotel and will address how planners and suppliers can adapt to these modern-day technologies. Technology Guru and Presenter, Jim Spellos, says VR has the opportunity to provide virtual site visits, while AR can be used for gamification at events to increase attendee engagement.  In the spirit of our upcoming event, we asked Jim Spellos about the evolution of technology and how our industry can use AR and VR. 

Q1. According to Goldman Sachs Global Investment Research report, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality have different use cases, technologies and market opportunities, what does this mean for the meetings and events industry? What are some ways planners can incorporate Virtual Reality into an event?  What about Augmented Reality? 

A1. VR and AR both have uses across all aspects of our industry.  VR can (and should) be used by suppliers on a regular basis to showcase their space to planners right in their offices.  The ability to walk around the space (virtually) can provide an enormous competitive advantage when a planner can't do a site visit (or recall one element from a full day of visiting potential event destinations).  Solely from the planning side, the use of VR to create amazing attendee experiences is a no brainer.  Using it to promote future events (and a full array of marketing applications) is also an approach.  Planners shouldn't forget that both Facebook and YouTube support 360 videos, so their customers don't even need the headset to view.  VR will begin to augment education, with virtual rooms (such as AltSpaceVR) providing the educational location. Not to mention, down the road, the hybrid meeting of the future, with both live and virtual attendees learning together.  Gamification, using VR (and AR) is so obvious that it's surprising more planners aren't using it yet.  

With that said about VR, AR may have even more applications, as its ability to blend the real and virtual world simultaneously gives planners much more flexibility in its' usage.  Marketing stands out as a major application of AR.  How about turning your physical promotional pieces into augmented experiences for the attendees?  What about augmenting your session signage at the event to turn them into brief promos for the speaker/topic in the room that day?   And did I mention using it within your mobile app's gamification?   

Q2. What is one of the coolest ways you've seen AR and VR used at events?
A2. Honestly, I haven't seen much that I'd consider way cool yet, and that's a shame.  Clearly, there are groups doing it, but most of the industry conferences which I've attended are still at the "getting their feet wet" stages.

Q3. What was the most exciting thing you have experienced using AR technology?  What about VR technology? 
A3. VR has a killer app called Tilt Brush by Google (which we'll showcase at our VARnival session for the chapter next week).  I can describe it basically as painting in a 360 virtual world, but it wouldn't do it any justice.  You just have to experience it to understand the wow factor...and applications from any creative perspective.  As for AR, I love what the Seattle Space Needle has done to promote its' destination for visitors by creating interactive experiences at their location.  Planners could learn an awful lot by visiting there and seeing the intersection of creativity and digital in action.

Q4. Aside from AR and VR, what is your all-time favorite mobile app and why is it your favorite?  (Yes, this can be anything.)
A4. Only 1?  There gotta be at least 100 of them (yeah, my phone is full of apps).  Since I can't give you just one, I'll give you two.  Waze, the ultimate GPS app, is a game changer, integrating their digital layout with the crowd sourcing information of those on the road.  No wonder Google spent over $1 billion to purchase it.  My other fave is Pocket, which I consider to be my digital parking lot app.  With one click across any website (and most apps), you can save content to your own library, so you can stay focused on what you're doing, and have a great resource always available (without the need to search again for it).  Love them both...and they're both free.  Oh yeah, did I mention Slack as changing how work gets done? 

Q5. What is one mobile app you would recommend planners use?  (This can include anything ranging from productivity apps to social apps.)
A5. While I clearly think both Waze and Pocket are must haves, if I'm thinking about an industry-specific app, I love Crowd Mics, which turns the phones of the attendees into room microphones (don't worry, the speaker can control who has the floor).  While it's not free, to me it's a game changer in terms of session interactivity and participation.

To learn how you can adapt more comfortably to Augmented and Virtual Reality, consider attending our hands-on Education Event on Tuesday, September 12th at The Stewart Hotel.  You can register and learn more information on this upcoming event, here.  If you have a particular question for our presenter, please don’t hesitate to email your questions to

Click here for more details and to register

2017 Damon Runyon 5K Recap - Tuesday, June 18, 2017

Great job to MPI Greater NY Chapter participants who rocked the Damon D. Runyon 5K. This small but mighty group joined thousands of other runners at Yankee Stadium to participate in the Ninth Annual Runyon 5K which is a unique fundraising event to support innovative and groundbreaking cancer research.

The Corporate Social Responsibility Committee is working really hard to deliver experiences where chapter members can come together and give back to our local community and important causes.

Pictured from Left: Jennifer Wellington, Chris Reed, Patrick Colomer, Esther Wells, Joanna Pulchalski & Michael Pulchalski

Visit the Corporate Social Responsibilities page for other upcoming and ongoing volunteer opportunities.

2017 MPIGNY Kalahari Resorts Golf Outing July 20, 2017 - Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Celebrate Our 40 Year Chapter Legacy at the Genie Awards - Monday, June 5, 2017

Join us on Wednesday, June 7th, as we celebrate our 40 year chapter legacy!

You do not want to miss our celebratory evening as we induct our 2017-18 board of directors, recognize our chapter members, network and dance the night away.

And the Nominees Are...

Committee of the Year

Marketing & Communication
Outstanding Contribution by an MPIGNY Supplier Member

Ramel Kelly
Susanna Flores
Beatriz Kasusky
Outstanding Contribution by an MPIGNY Planner Member

Julie Wagner
Jennifer Rondinelli
Judi McLaughlin
Outstanding Contribution by a Young Professional

Stacy Hanas
Sam Scheaffer

A Special Congratulations to...

Speaker of the Year

Melanie Whelan
Venue of the Year

Four Seasons Downtown

Click here for more info

Planning Successful Meetings starts with the PROCESS - Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Mary Jo Wiseman, CMP

I consider myself lucky to have spent 20+ years in a career I truly believe in, one that adds value to an organization by drawing upon our key strengths and knowledge of the hospitality industry to plan and execute meetings and events.

I firmly believe it is not just one person who makes a meeting or event happen, but rather a well led TEAM of dedicated, enthusiastic, talented individuals who come together to do what they do best to help organizations exceed program objectives and make them SHINE.

I have always been of the mindset that there is a right way and a wrong way to go about planning a meeting (or any project for that matter) and that it is the PROCESS or system we use to get us started that can either keep us on track or send us off the rails.

The process needs to evolve. If you take the time to think things through right from the get go, you’ll be off to a good start. And, when the going gets tough, just take a breath and "FOCUS".

As Meeting Planners, we need to be well organized, detail oriented, creative, disciplined, and have a knack for seeing the big picture. But first you need to take the time to come up with a PLAN to manage the project. This is especially true because as meeting planners we don’t usually have the luxury of planning one meeting at a time.

The planning and executing of a meeting can be very daunting especially if you are planning multiple meetings at any given time. 

You first begin the process with an actual PLAN…

  • Identify the goals and objectives and key messages
  • Who is the intended primary and secondary audience?
  • What are the action items and the multitude of tasks related to the actionable items?
  • What is your timeline for when the actionable items must be accomplished?
  • Who is accountable for each of the actionable items?

I remember the first time I was onsite in New York handling my first Board Meeting for a CEO who was new to the company (a daunting task for him also I’m sure). 

After the meeting, he congratulated me on a job well done and one of the things he said was: "I know these things don’t just happen," as he was pointing to the table décor after one of the dinners.  He got that a lot of thought (and planning) went into making this important dinner so special -- from the menu selection to the specialty linens, to the flowers and even the matching place cards.  He really appreciated all the finite details that went into making the evening the success it was and the message it sent to our Directors. 

I also believe that the project management skills used to plan a meeting can be used to plan other events in your life as well:  whether it’s planning your own or a friend’s wedding; remodeling a room or a whole house; moving; or taking that vacation of a lifetime.   The action items, the tasks within and the order in which they need to be done will obviously change from project to project – but the thought process is the same.  

Whether it be a corporate event, association meeting or small private wedding, the Plan and executing of the details are the key to the success of the event.  

I really found this to be so true last summer when I was planning my own wedding – with just three weeks’ lead time (yes, just three weeks) and no time to spare.  We had our PLAN; we had our task list and we kept each other accountable.  The day-of flowed like clockwork and the stress -- well, it just wasn’t there.   It’s been over a year and we’re still SMILING and you will be, too, if you just take the time to first think your projects through. 

Create your PLAN; surround yourself with the best possible team of experts; define the levels of authority; come up with a task list/time line; keep everyone accountable, meet regularly, keep good notes and don’t forget to follow up on any missed assignments -- and the rewards will follow.

Communication throughout the entire Process will keep everyone involved, informed and make it a fun, team experience working together to create your successful event!

Article contributed by:
Mary Jo Wiseman, CMP


Author of "The Meeting Planning Process: A Guide to Planning Successful Meetings."
The Guide offers a practical overview of the entire planning process for people just starting out in the business or meeting planning veterans alike, and offers keen insights and valuable tips to help CREATE the perfect EXPERIENCE for their audience by staying true to the basic elements of the planning process. It is intended to lead people through the proper steps and the sequence of tasks involved in planning a meeting such as: Established a Planning or Design Team; Developing an Overall Plan; Budgeting; Site Selection; Communications: Contract Review and more. The Guide also includes handy templates developed by the author including a Meeting Time Line; Overall Plan; RFP; and descriptions and diagrams of possible room set ups.

For more information: