Free Idea Fridays!

The Future of Registration Kits
With the return of events one of our biggest concerns is regarding the health and wellbeing of our attendees, suppliers, partners & event staff. We must start thinking about what items will need to be added or increased to the onsite event kits to help keep event staff and attendees safe.
Our team has gathered some ideas and created a reference guide to help attendees, event planners, suppliers, hotels and venues navigate the event world ahead of us.

These are items that we will be adding to our kits:

BAAAG.png Draw String Bags and Plastic Baggies
Many of the items mentioned below will be carried around all day. Make sure to have pouches or plastic baggies to separate all your items and to avoid them touching other items.
Masks.jpg Masks
Masks will be a must have for staff onsite. But take it a bit further by using specific colours to identify your staff. Additionally, masks are a great branding opportunity! Create a mask sponsorship and give sponsors the opportunity to have their company brand featured on the masks worn by event staff, attendees, vendors and other sponsors!
See Susan Murray and Ideavation for some different mask ideas.

Small-Hand-Sanitizer.jpg Hand Sanitizer
One of the most important items to have on hand and in multitudes. Make sure to have not only the big bottles for attendees but also minis that staff and attendees can carry around. Take it one step further and sell them as a sponsorship with branded bottles.

gloves.jpg Gloves
Gloves are meant to be worn and disposed of after frequently. Plastic gloves can be harmful to the environment when used in large batches, so pick up some biodegradable ones!

Non-Contact Thermometer
A no-contact thermometer is the best way to check onsite staff, suppliers, and attendees to ensure safety and mitigate the risk of spreading viruses at your event. The no contact also ensures that you can keep your staff safe in the possible occurrence of a sick individual.
Visit Global Industrial and Micro Life to order yours.

wipes.jpg Disinfectant Wipes
Large bottles of disinfectant wipes are great for your registration desk, but don’t forget to grab the little packs for all your staff so that they can carry some around. Cannot find any small packs? Separate the ones in the large bottles into small plastic baggies.

Electronic.jpg Electronic Cleansing Wipes
Normal disinfectants can be harmful to our electronics, especially if we need to clean them multiple times a day onsite. Electronic disinfectant wipes are safe for sensitive optics and specialty coatings. Additionally, the major smartphone manufacturers say that you can use isopropanol alcohol wipes as well.

Visit Staples to order yours.

tissues.jpg Tissues
Mini packs of tissues have always been a great addition to purses, but now everyone should be carrying them around as they are good for many uses – they are even great for opening doors!

qtips.jpg Q-tips
These little wonders will help get rid of debris or makeup smudges without touching your face.

no-contact-(1).jpg No Contact Door Opener & Button Pusher Key Chain
Gloves are great, but as an increased safety measure, grab yourself some door openers for your staff as well as keeping some on hand. This will help decrease the amount of times you will have to change your gloves and they can be used for pressing buttons on machines, carrying bags, and dialing phone numbers as well.
This can be another sponsorship opportunity and a great addition to a conference bag!

Visit Ideavation to order yours.

pens.png Anti-Microbial Pens
Anti-microbial pens are great for registration staff that tend to use the same pens, we all know that we tend to grab the first one we see! The pens are treated with a special additive that protects against harmful bacteria, fungus, and mold sticking to the pen. They neutralize over 99% of active bacteria.
Visit Ideavation to order yours.

signage.png Signage
Signage is key. Some signs can be printed out and placed into plastic sign holders for a reminder to attendees of rules and to go home if you are ill. Additionally, signs and decals such as floor decals can be designed as an additional reminder especially for your line ups at registration.
Visit Saman Design to order yours.

snacks.jpg Individually Wrapped Snacks
Now more than ever sharing food is going to become an issue. Go to Costco and fill up a tub of individually wrapped snacks. They are easy to grab, a great pick me up when energy is low and limit contamination between staff.

hpa104wmp-honeywell-air-purifier.jpg Air Purifier
An air purifier is great for high traffic areas, like a registration office. The COVID-19 virus can survive in the air for approximately 3 hours and using an air purifier can put your mind at ease, knowing that the air around you is safe from pathogens. Make sure to get one with a HEPA medical grade filter.

Visit Honeywell to order yours.

Car-Caddy.jpg Car Caddy
Look for a good car caddy for storing a back-up supply of the above items for when you get back into your car. They are also great for carrying supplies around from room to room during an event.

at 01:00PM
Missing Our Favourite Places

Since we can’t travel just yet, we gathered together a list of our favourite places to share with you.

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Kelowna, BC, IIROC FOAS from Sandra
Kelowna is a gorgeous city, from the sunsets over the many vineyards, to the locals welcoming you with a smile and a helping hand. Golfers were able to pick fresh fruit off trees while on route to the next hole, while others enjoyed private wine tastings with a Sommelier. The engagement continued through to their journey home, with the Farm to Flight program, allowing them to take home delicious Kelowna fruits to share with family and friends.

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TELUS Convention Centre, Shoppers Drug Mart Pharmacy Conference from Megan
The TCC team in Calgary is always a pleasure to work with from the beginning planning stages through the event to post-event. The staff are easily reachable and really work together to accomplish your event goals.

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Wrigley Field, CARSTAR Acceleration Conference from Madi
Chicago’s Wrigley Field is an iconic location home to the Chicago Cubs – this high profile, unforgettable venue created a wow factor for all attendees. This venue had something for everyone from young to young at heart, baseball fan or not, it was an inclusive, entertaining, and unique experience that all attendees enjoyed and will never forget.

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Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel, Annual CCPPP Conference on Public-Private Partnerships from Silvana
The Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel brings people together and is the perfect host for our large conferences. Not only does it have 1000 rooms, but its extensive meeting space allows for many branding opportunities. Shout out to Saman Design for creating excellent signage displayed at the CCPPP conference!

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Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC), Discovery Innovation Conference and Tradeshow from Catharine
The MTCC has been our trusted partner for many years. One of the conferences nearest and dearest to my heart was Discovery, a leading innovation-to-commercialization conference and tradeshow. For 14 years the MTCC and their in-house teams were invaluable resources, offering us their expertise and creativity to help make Discovery an award winning, must attend event. The MTCC is an amazing venue and even more amazing are their people who work tirelessly to ensure a successful event. It is always a pleasure working with the MTCC.  

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Toronto Botanical Garden, Blossom Party Annual Fundraiser from Lexie
One thing I love most about aNd is the company’s philanthropic endeavors. In 2019 aNd offered their help and expertise to the non-profit’s annual fundraiser. Toronto Botanical Garden is surrounded in beautiful gardens offering spaces available to rent, where in each outdoor space you are surrounded by multiple stunning plants, flowers, and trees.


The Blue Vinny Diner, Shoppers Drug Mart Pharmacy Conference from Rick and Sara
When in Calgary for the Pharmacy Conference aNd always makes a trip to this diner for breakfast. It has a retro/comfy feeling as well as delicious, hearty menu options.

Hanlan’s Point, McMash from Jan
One of the most memorable event locations in the 30+ years I have been involved in would be an event we did over at the Island Airport for McDonalds store managers from across the country. We turned Hanlan’s Point into a M*A*S*H Compound – dressed everyone up in khaki shirts and hats and as the ferries left the city, they really did look like troop ships with everyone on deck. The event was not without its problems – the biggest during the installation of tents, they cut a power line that effectively cut all the power of to the entire island! At the end of the day, it was a success and a very memorable location and event.

Favourite Incentive Trips through Dana’s lens

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Malta & Gozo
You cannot talk about Malta without mentioning the amazing DMC team at Alpine Sterling Travel & Tourism – Warren Zahra’s hospitality is legendary. Through some colleagues from the Protocol & Diplomacy International – Protocol Officers Association (PDI-POA), we were able to have an audience with the then President of the Republic of Malta - Her Excellency Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca.

Las Vegas, Nevada
Vegas never sleeps but this early morning sunrise time is so peaceful. We have done many programs in Las Vegas both at ARIA Hotel & Casino and the Cosmopolitan at Las Vegas hotel. This photo was taken from my room at the Cosmopolitan at Las Vegas hotel.

Croatia & Bosnia
After a long night of flying to Croatia weather did not permit us to land in Dubrovnik, so we detoured to Split and the super organized DMC team at Intours arranged for a car to drive attendees to Sun Gardens in Dubrovnik. An hour or so into the ride the driver asked for our passports as you need to drive a short way through Bosnia (When the former Yugoslavia splintered into seven smaller republics, Croatia got almost 4,000 of miles of Adriatic Sea coast are dotted with secret beaches, tiny islands, and quaint Medieval towns but Bosnia was actually able to keep a very small but lovely part of Adriatic coast – so you actually travel into Bosnia to get to the other end of Croatia).  We arrived at the Bosnian border just in time to catch this view of the sunset.

La Paz Waterfall and Peace Lodge Gardens, Costa Rica
I captured this shot while the Hummingbirds swarmed around feeders put out for them daily. A must visit for nature, birds, butterflies, and frog lovers!

Budapest, Hungary
The city successfully mixes its fascinating  history with a genuine laid-back contemporary artistic style. There is a wide range of different things for visitors to see and do. From museums to thermal spas, wine tasting to ruin pubs – your top performers will feel appreciated!

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Zambia, Africa
The five-star Royal Livingstone Resort in Zambia overlooking Victoria Falls is perhaps the world’s most spectacular waterfall. It is great to see the many wild animals roam about the grounds. But make sure to keep an eye out for cheeky monkeys! They loved stealing the yellow highlighters from our registration desk that was set up out on the back lawn.


Kyoto, Japan
A mystical and historical destination, famous for intricate temples, ancestral traditions, Geishas, and stunning cherry blossoms – this location is a memorable trip for all.  Through the light snow you can see the blossoms ready to burst open.


Paris, France
During an early morning visit to Notre Dame Cathedral, I was able to capture the sun beaming in through the famous stain glass windows. It is heartbreaking to think that it is gone now.
Bertrand from My Private Paris is a gem.

at 06:36PM
Dear John
Dear John…and Doug… and Justin.

A few of my blog followers asked me to elaborate on my nightly letters to Justin.  So here goes…
It started as a letter to Toronto’s mayor and then it morphed into Dear John… Dear Doug… and Dear Justin.

(and before I get a scolding from all my fellow members at PDI-POA, of course, my addresses were much more formal than this but for the levity of this blog, I will depart from such rigid protocols.)

One morning in the early days of the COVID-19 crisis, Mr. Tory was answering questions on an early morning radio broadcast that riled me up.  In early March, our mayor was already telling landlords to cut tenants a break during the COVID-19 downturn in business. Hold on there; whose giving landlords like me a break when my business is suffering? Please, Mr. Mayor… think through a viable solution before taking to the airwaves with big statements like that. At the time, the city let alone the provincial and federal government weren’t even contemplating any assistance, but landlords were to cut tenants a break?  Somehow landlords were the bad guys and tenants the victims. My first letter was to plead that we were all unwilling victims. We are all in this together as victims.

This short rant morphed into a nightly letter to the mayor, the premier of Ontario and the big honcho himself in Ottawa.

I told my story of beating the odds as a female entrepreneur, growing my business diligently despite many economic hardships over the years (the dotcom bubble, SARS, 911, the financial crisis).  That I was the daughter of immigrant Italians who taught me the value of a hard day’s work so I could build up two small businesses over the last 25 years. Though I was a small fry in the grand scheme of Canada’s economic fortunes, my meetings and events business gainfully employs a team of 12 full time and half a dozen more part-time staff. Not to speak of the many contracts we bring to the hotel and airline industry and the work we provide to other small businesses; d├ęcor companies, florists, entertainers, web designers, sign makers, graphic designers, audio visual companies, rental companies and caterers.

Then I told the story of our industry, sharing all the good that our meetings and events do for the Canadian economy. Just like every small and medium-sized business that started as a dream so many years ago, we weren’t looking for a hand-out. All we need is a HAND to get out of these dark waters; waters that we didn’t fall into recklessly but rather found ourselves pushed into by something that was completely out of anyone’s control. And through it all, we continue to work for our clients every day, coming up with viable solutions for their meetings and events. And we remain steadfast about our industry’s survival like we have through all of the other crises. 

The better part of 2020 will be simply erased for us … half a year – poof – gone…. and our hopes hang cautiously on the remaining Fall meetings.

So, gentlemen please HELP US HELP YOU –

Help us bridge our revenue gaps for the next few months. Give us the tools now, so we as an industry and as entrepreneurs can help you bring back the faltering economy.

And when these dark days are behind us, we will be the first to forge ahead with the small business we fought so hard to build. The lights will dim again, the music will play, flowers will adorn the tables and meals will be served once more. We will orchestrate our own come-back.
We as an industry will pay it forward tenfold with new conventions, meetings and events. We will help rejuvenate tourism not only in Toronto but across Canada and the globe and reinvigorate confidence by bringing our clients back to convention centres, hotels, venues, restaurants and airlines. We NEED to keep our teams together so we can hit the ground running when our city, our province and our country are ready to open again. 

As an industry, we’re good for it. Go ahead, ask around.
Last week's Post from my Linkedin:

I sent an email to Justin every night before bed for 15 days. We had been putting all possible measures into play to preserve cash flow including taking me off payroll completely. Today I got my reply along with the rest of the country. This morning's announcement is a significant step towards saving small businesses and saving an entire industry. Proud to be Canadian. Now we can STAY STRONG
#saveevents #savetourism #weareallinthistogether #femaleentrepreneur #smallbusinessowner #flattenthecurve #postponedontcancel #eventplanner

Blog post by: Dana Zita

at 11:11AM
Cooperation is Pivotal
By now, the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic has sunk in for most of us. And, now we are all busy helping clients navigate through this new reality. We have spent much of the past few weeks working closely with clients to cancel or postpone their programs scheduled in March, April and May. Seeing many events postponed, rather than cancelled, is a positive sign forward.
From the outset, our clients have been our priority in everything we were initially focused on to minimize the financial impact to them. As we did that, we also realized immediately the impact this would have on all our suppliers, many of whom are proud small business owners like ourselves, and our hotel partners in sales, conventions services and banquet teams, many of whom are already on temporary leaves. All have been understanding and reasonable as we find ourselves in uncharted territory. The spirit of cooperation is simply astonishing. Seeing the enormous sacrifices being made by so many businesses proves to me the resolve is there so that we can get on with what we all do best…put on the best events and conferences for our clients...when all of this is behind us.
In our 25-year history, we have seen many difficult times for our industry. And each time it has bounced back with unwavering resilience. This time will be no different but first, collectively we will face periods of uncertainty with many changes happening on a daily basis, hourly in some cases, that will impact us all in our everyday personal and work lives.  But this will pass as others have with a new normal at the end of it all.

I am not certain I can draw you a complete picture of the new landscape of our industry but I know for certain I am committed to being a small but nimble part of making it better.
To all our industry partners (our allies in this fight) – our hotel sales reps, our convention services managers, our travel agent partners, the venues, restaurants and caterers we work with, our AV and show services teams, our speaker bureaus, all our event and entertainment suppliers and our web/technology partners = We are thinking of you.  We are grateful for you and we value our partnerships.
If you need anything at all, have questions, want to brainstorm ideas or simply want to vent - I promise to answer all emails Contact me any time.

Be Healthy, Be Safe. Be Strong

Blog post by: Dana Zita
at 07:04AM