Angus Wilkinson – Vancouver Club
I have been a member of SKAL Vancouver for 15 years and have enjoyed the camaraderie of Skaleagues on 4 continents and have attended the meetings or get togethers at 20 clubs in 10 countries. The hospitality of members of SKAL world-wide has to be experienced just as we have enjoyed for the last 3 days in Quebec City.
Connecting with SKAL members even before meeting them has resulted in special room rates at hotels, invitations to the SKAL meetings, trips with their country and even the annual Gala dinner at the world HQ of SKAL in Torremolinos. On a visit to the Cape Town Clubs I was invited with 3 of my non-SKAL members to a beach front restaurant where all the food was fresh from the ocean and cooked on wood fires or in wood fired ovens. As this location was 2 hour’s drive from Cape Town, one of the members offered her 3-bedroom home in which to stay at no cost.
On our most recent trip to Brisbane the GM of the Emporium Hotel and the President of SKAL were at the hotel front door to greet us at 8:30am and take us for breakfast. This then lead to an invitation to their monthly lunch on ANZAC Day at a first-class hotel. This event started at 12:30pm with champagne and appetizers and a full 3 course lunch and wrapped up around 5:30pm. The same GM connected me with several contacts who were able to supply with information on several ocean front resorts which the owners were prepared to sell as I had a buyer from Canada who was interested.
There are so many stories of my travels to enjoy SKAL hospitality from Vienna and Budapest to Wellington, NZ, Bermuda and Sydney where friendships have been formed and SKAL members have come to visit Vancouver. If you have any prospective member who would like to discuss this with me in more detail please do not hesitate to give them my email address or web site link and I will be pleased to elaborate.
SKAL is a wonderful organization for tourism professionals and look forward to assisting with the growth with new members.
Michael Van Grondelle – Saskatoon Club
My name is Michael van Grondelle and I am a SKAL Member from Club 321 – Saskatoon, SK. In July 2014, my wife and I decided to take a vacation to Quebec City.
I have been a SKAL member for 3 years and have enjoyed the camaraderie of our club, the activities we do, and the benefits it has given the Hotel & Restaurant Management Program I run through our local college. The trip to Quebec City however really made me aware of the benefits of being a SKAL member.
I have had the pleasure of working with Serge Doyon, who is a member of the Quebec City Club, on the recent changes to the local web site for our club. Through that work I decided to contact Serge to see if he could offer some help in our trip, and help is what I received. My first task was to book accommodation and we decided to stay at Serge’s property, Auberge Michel Doyon. He then sent us a list of some activities we might enjoy, of which all were connected to SKAL members. Prior to our arrival in Quebec City Serge also sent a suggested itinerary for our 5 days. The itinerary included suggested walking tours, restaurants to enjoy (I am a big Foodie), shopping areas and a couple of driving tours.
When we arrived in Quebec City we made our way to Serge’s Auberge and found the area under major construction, which was originally to be completed weeks before our arrival. Serge had made alternate arrangements for us at another hotel (Hotel Concorde) operated by another SKAL member. The hotel was right in the middle of all the action and a wonderful location. Serge and his partner greeted us and the four of us spent a wonderful evening chatting about SKAL, the tourism industry and many other topics and all over great food and some wonderful wine.
We probably followed 80% of the suggestions given by Serge. We also booked a helicopter tour of Quebec City through Gohelico. This gave me the opportunity meet Isabelle Longpré, who is the Director of Marketing for Gohelico but also the President of SKAL Quebec City. She arranged a tour of the facility, pictures with our helicopter and an opportunity for me to try a helicopter training simulator. It also gave me the chance to chat about some of the initiatives that their club was doing – invaluable information.
We had a fantastic trip and the opportunity to meet several tourism industry individuals. When I returned one of the first things I did was go to the SKAL International website and sign up to be a Greeter; after being treated so well by all in Quebec I decided to do the same for others that travel to Saskatoon. Being a SKAL member really proved valuable. Thank you to everybody in Quebec City.
Stewart Rubin – Montreal Club
At the 2014 NAASC conference I was fortunate to meet President Philip Stamm, Holly Powers, and Mario Hache from the Boston Club watching the Montreal – Boston Hockey rivalry. We discussed the Boston Club and they mentioned that they will be having their June event at Fenway Park. Being a huge RedSox fan, I was intrigued about the event and mentioned that I would be excited to attend and if my son could come along as he too was a RedSox fan.
As we approached the date Phil, in true Skål fashion, arranged a room for me and my son and Holly put me in touch with Carrie Campbell VP sales And service Fenway enterprises who is also a Skal member. Carrie arranged for tickets for me and my son on the Wednesday and on Thursday we attended the SKAL event at Fenway.
As past president I was invited to their board meeting and presented to their executive. This was a great way to meet their top execs and we did have an added bonus that the 203 MLB World Series Trophy was there that both my son and I got to hold.
At the cocktails I was brought around by their exec and introduced to the members. At the dinner my son and I were introduced to the 148 attendees of the meeting and then asked to do the SKAL toast in French , before the toast I provided President Phil the mini Montreal Skål flag. During the event all guests were introduced by the members and they had the opportunity to give a brief description about themselves.
When I was there they inducted 4 new members. The president brought up the sponsor to introduce the new member and then while the sponsor spoke about the member the president pinned them. The new member then was given time to speak about them self.
This was a power packed busy meeting with the giving out of 2 scholarships, a raffle and an auction to benefit one of the charities. I contributed 2 nights to the raffle to showcase my hotel. The event was memorable because of the venue , the food and beverage but foremost it was the hospitality that myself and everyone received both at the event and in the city by my fellow skålleagues.