Bringing home the bacon

The one constant in our business is that things change.

Take, for example, the President’s Cup, an incentive program we were planning for our long-time client, US Foods. The program, for 500-plus of their highest achievers, was
supposed to travel to Paris, France in October 2016. But due to security concerns, it was repositioned to The Pan Pacific Hotel and Resort in Vancouver, Canada in the spring of the following year.

The new date, we realized, coincided with the company’s Quarterly Scoop, an event for launching new food products. Well then, it makes sense to fold the new Scoop products into the onsite incentive experience.

Easy, right?

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Group of Foresters Employees showing support for Sherrif Street Youth Club, Dublin

And so, we called the sheriff

“It’s ironic that we sit at the edge of Dublin`s financial district, but it took a company from Canada to come all this way to help us.” That was Paul Ryan, Director of the Sheriff Street Youth Club, speaking this past April after 55 volunteers from Toronto-based Foresters Financial rolled up their sleeves to help upgrade the club’s aging facilities.

“For three hours straight they painted the club’s gym, hallways, bathrooms, railings and the boys’ locker room,” recalls Joanne Keating, one of our Program Managers here at Meridican. “In the main activities room the group installed lockable storage shelves to safeguard the art supplies and musical instruments that are used during the evening activities, and they also donated a new microwave and Ikea desks and chairs, and a play kitchen – all of which had to be built.”

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piggy bank with glasses smiling at a calculator

Top 9: Cost cutting without bloodletting

There’s really no reason for our low dollar to lower your spirits─provided, of course, you know how to squeeze the most out of every opportunity. Luckily, we do. And we’re freely sharing them with you. Read on (and share them with your friends).

1. Say yay to Canada

Stay in Canada and get the most of your dollar (up to 35% off). Would it be so bad to replace sun and sand with dog sledding in the North West Territories and the Yukon, or holding your annual conference in Victoria topped off with a gala evening in the Royal BC Museum? And what about Alberta, where the fallout of oil and gas means discounts on hotels and meeting space (even during the Calgary Stampede)? There’s never been a better time to do business at home. One caveat: Book early. Our favourable dollar is attracting a lot of attention from the rest of the world so demand is high, but supply is low (relative to other destinations).

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Loblaw's Employees Cheering at theCoureurs Des Bois

Strong and Free

It was one of those picture-perfect August days: warm with a feather-light breeze. The sun was lighting up a large white tent that stood in contrast to the surrounding emerald field. It was a big field, one that our team had scouted out specially for this event. We liked that it was outside Mount Tremblant proper because it was a quiet escape from the hustle and bustle of Quebec’s most popular resort town… although the quiet didn’t last long.

We had planned, after all, as Canadian a team event as you could possibly imagine.

Our client, Loblaw, had asked us to create something unique to celebrate their Canadian roots. The event was to be a positive reminder of the importance of being a homegrown corporation, particularly in light of the growing influx of retailers from beyond our borders.

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Abandoned pail on beach with Flight Cancelled overlaid on top

Be Careful What You Wish For

Good thing the setting was so perfect.

As tablecloths fluttered in the warm Panama breeze, some of the 220 guests mingled while others were fitted with Maui Jim sunglasses, a special giveaway for the welcome dinner. The four-piece band wrapped up their last set, and the National Sales and Marketing Manager took the stage.
“Welcome to paradise!” he said to the cheering crowd gathered at the InterContinental Playa Bonita Resort & Spa. “Wouldn’t it be great to stay here forever?”

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Pokerstars Branding of Vegas Concert

A Brand New Year

How to make 2015 the best year yet – Part One

The operative word here is brand. Specifically, your company’s brand. But what does this really mean?

More than a buzzword or simply a trademark, your brand is a sort of visual and linguistic one-two punch that either goes the champion distance or wilts in round one.

Put simply: your brand is everything, rolled into one thing. Jerry McLaughlin, a Forbes contributor and CEO of Branders.com, the world’s largest and lowest-priced promotional products distributor, puts it this way: “Your ‘brand,’” he says, “is what your prospect thinks of when he or she hears your name.”

So, what do your customers think of when they hear your company name or see your logo?… Hello?!… Was that a pin dropping?

Full disclosure: We are not in the business of branding per se, we are in the business of events and motivation. However, branding opportunities abound with incentives, conferences, galas, and we know how to work them to advantage.

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Handmade capes to donate to The Happy Soul Project

Capes, Bikes and Beyond

A bicycle is more than a toy. It is a status symbol. A social lubricant. A feeling of normalcy. It gives freedom and control to a person lacking other means of transportation.

A cape, like a bike, offers an escape, sometimes from inescapable situations. Don a cape and we dare you NOT to strike a pose.

Capes and Bikes are transformative. This we understand intimately because creating transformative experiences is what we do.

When it came time to plan our own event, our annual Holiday Party, we wanted to do something transformative, a give-back program that would go above and beyond.

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The ICING on the Cake

What does it take to ice the competition for a prestigious incentive travel industry award coveted by many, won by only a select few?

Perhaps some things you’d expect, and others you wouldn’t… not in your wildest dreams quite likely (keep reading, we’ll get to it).

All things being equal, a winning incentive travel program will include these expected and essential components:

  • A sought-after, incentive-worthy destination like Barcelona, Spain. Check.
  • A luxe hotel, like the five-star Hotel Arts Barcelona on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. Certainly.
  • Mouth-watering Catalonian cuisine prepared by celebrity chef Sergi Arola. But of course.
  • Entertainment by Diego Cortes, considered one of the world’s best guitarists. You bet.
  • A dimly lit gala dinner that suddenly explodes in light and sound as the National Flamenco dancers take the stage. Absolutely.

spanish-concert

But what happens when outside factors threaten to derail the whole thing?

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Air Apparent

What happens when you’re all set to fly but Mother Nature has other (malevolent) plans?

If your event planner has outsourced your air travel–as many do in this era of no commission and reduced air service fees–you may be stuck dialing a nameless, faceless call centre.

If, however, you’ve booked the flight with the same company that plans your conference, event, meeting or incentive trip, you’re golden. You are being monitored by a team of accountable people; people you actually know.  Here at Meridican, for instance, you get a single, 24/7 point of contact when the going gets rough.

Despite these benefits, many of our competitors have outsourced corporate travel because, quite frankly, it’s a lot of work for a low return. This arms-length approach, however, can put a client’s plans, if not at risk, definitely at a disadvantage.

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When You Face An Uphill Ride, Even A Little Push Helps!

Or is it a pull?

With our day-to-day lives, most of us are the unknown riders of the peloton working toward the goal of winning for the team without personal acclaim. But it is important to keep in mind that without our support, the goal cannot be reached.

With Tour de France winding down, a cycling focussed blog seemed apropos!

At Meridican, our focus however is not on the professionals of the sport. Our favorite pelotons are those that give of themselves to aid others like the Wellspring Peloton Challenge that each year raises money to assist those living with cancer.
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