Representatives from 700 companies globally were on hand last week for the annual IncentiveWorks event, hosted in Toronto Aug. 19 and 20.
Specifically tailored for meeting planners to connect with suppliers, engage the industry and learn how to plan better events, the two-day event showcased more than 400 exhibitor booths and welcomed nearly 2,000 attendees.
There was positive momentum throughout the show floor, according to General Manager Robin Paisley, who also noted a greater international presence, "which delivers more of what attendees want," she said.
"For us, we want to create an environment where planners can get ideas," Paisley told PAX. "It's a sounding board, it's idea-generating, so we try to create a lot of experiences within the show environment. We noticed more this year that a lot of our exhibitors were also creating experiences."
"The hard part is that we're not selling a product; most of our exhibitors are not selling anything that you can pick up and take away. That's a more challenging sale, so trying to incorporate that experience - giving people a way to see it in a different light - was more prevalent on the show floor this year."
Education is also key to the event's success, Paisley said, and options were available to cater to attendees depending on needs at various stages of their career. Sessions providing more tactful knowledge appealed to those in the early stages, while senior level planners could partake in more strategic sessions that focused on leadership skills, for example.
"We have created an environment that as an individual planner attendee, regardless of where you are in your career, we have something to offer," Paisley said. "In an industry that prides itself on service, we were able to deliver that kind of experience."
Keynote speakers included Mark Bowden, communications expert, and Jackie Huba, word-of-mouth marketing expert.
Other event highlights included a Site Canada golf tournament, and closing party at Rock n' Horse Saloon.
For more information, visit incentiveworksshow.com.
Photo: The Melia team at IncentiveWorks