Meeting Encore Ltd.
Meeting Encore Group Inc., founded in 1990 by Linda Genest, blazed the trail for a whole new industry market segment.
Yes, full-service meeting- and incentive-planning companies had, for decades, been assisting clients with their conferences. But Linda saw a need, in the marketplace, for a meeting partner whose sole focus lay with sifting through mountains of hotel and resort information to help clients find the perfect site.
Meeting Encore Group was born.
Instead of charging clients for their services, Meeting Encore received a commission from the participating hotel. It’s a business model that has been adopted extensively throughout the industry.
The other key component of Linda’s vision was to foster partnerships with her hotel suppliers, which she did, over time, by demonstrating that third-party companies were not rivals, but allies who would bring new clients to their properties. Indeed, as more clients sought out Meeting Encore for help, more hotels and resorts saw the value of paying the company a fee for the business they booked. Furthermore, by partnering with Meeting Encore, the hotel’s sales team would have more time to solicit other business prospects, while maintaining existing client relationships. Linda’s win-win partner recipe became the gold standard for all the site-selection companies that followed.
Almost a quarter century on, the company Linda founded has grown into a hugely successful brand that has booked thousands of meetings worth hundreds of millions of dollars in total spend.
Site-selection companies have since become a key component for serving a specific kind of meeting client.
Linda is now enjoying a much-deserved retirement, with her husband Greg, and Meeting Encore continues to build on her legacy, under the stewardship of new owners Joe Nishi and Jennifer Glynn.
Q: Passion. Do you still have it?
A: The minute I started Meeting Encore, I set some simple goals by telling myself: “Since you’ll get up every day and work hard, make sure you are passionate about what you’re doing, so you’ll do it well. Why? If you do it well, you’ll be rewarded.”
I’ve lived and breathed this industry for 36 years. My passion for it has brought me many great successes, for which I will always be grateful. But most of all, the people I’ve met while pursuing my passion have been my greatest reward of all.
Q: Value. What do you bring to the table?
A: During our retirement party at the InterContinental Toronto Centre, last March, my husband and business partner, Greg, said it best when he presented the LINDA FACTOR to the audience and explained how it has guided the team at Meeting Encore for all these years:
Leadership. Creating a hugely successful business model from scratch and then attracting great people to join was my number one mission. Integrity. This industry is built on relationships and conducting ourselves with the highest of standards. No-Nonsense. Getting straight to the heart of the issues and then solving them is what Meeting Encore does. Determination. Pursuing our passion and the belief in the value we provide our clients keeps the Meeting Encore team on top. Achiever. M+IT Hall of Fame inductee. Financially Responsible. ‘Save hard’ has been my motto. Accurate. Proofing contracts, creating RFPs, reviewing proposals… Creative. First, you need to capture attention. Tireless. Sleep is overrated! Organized. Painfully so. Remembers Everything. This is a good thing, at least 98-per-cent of the time. The other 2-per-cent…well, some things are better left forgotten.
The Industry Builder Award recognizes an individual planner or supplier who has developed best practices, created professional guidelines and/or who has built a product or service that has improved the way the industry does business.