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More than 60 travel and event professionals gathered this weekend as Ottawa Tourism developed relationships with clients new and old at a retreat in Scotland. 

The event titled “We’re the same… but different” took place over three days at Gleneagles in Perthshire.  Known as The Glorious Playground in the Glens, the venue hosted buyers from across Europe for a balance of C-level education, networking and relaxing activities. Attendees included both meetings and leisure industry clients.

“We wanted to do something different, get close to our clients and spend time getting to know them,” comments Glenn Duncan, VP and chief marketing officer of Ottawa Tourism. “It is all too easy for DMOs to follow the same formula as their competitors and deliver the same old showcases and fam trips. We are not afraid to take chances and experiment, so we decided to explore a different way of relationship building.  There was no hard selling or show rounds, instead we focused on delivering value to our attendees.  Ottawa is moving the needle here in Europe, our sector-specific targeting has paid off with a plethora of wins in our core target markets and this event takes our marketing activity to the next level.”

Lesley Mackay, Ottawa Tourism’s director of meetings and events, explains why the event took place in Scotland: “We needed to get away from the obvious multi-day fam trip to Ottawa itself. Fams are by their very nature product focused but we wanted this to be about the Ottawa welcome and people.  Members of our board of directors and senior staff came to Scotland to be a part of the event and simply spend time with this select group of key clients and media.  Gleneagles provided us with a dedicated resort environment far from distraction yet incredibly accessible to all.”

During the weekend, guests were treated to education from Olympic gold medallist Mark Tewksbury, a variety of activities across the resort and hospitality that included Canadian-themed food, traditional Scottish fayre and a ceilidh.

The event took place at Gleneagles, Perthshire and was organised with the support of Ottawa’s UK representatives Watterston Associates.