Staff Retreats & Company Awards
Anderson Vacations Staff Retreats have become a major part of the annual company calendar. They are an opportunity to give Anderson Team members specialist & expert knowledge for the destination they are visiting while at the same time providing a platform for team building, strategic company planning as well as forecasting and budgeting for the year to come.
In addition, every year the host destination is challenged to come up with their own version of “The Amazing Race” in which Anderson team members are drawn completely by random into teams and quite literally “race” around the Destination on the Saturday morning. It is an opportunity for the team to really get out and explore intimately the destination. Team members race for pride but also for company bragging rights which they will hold for the entire year.
The retreat also allows Anderson to recognize staff and agent partners at their annual company awards. Click on the years below to see where the Anderson Team has been and who were the award winners each year.
Victoria, British Columbia – “Canada’s Garden City”
Edmonton, Alberta – VIA Rail (Canadian) – Vancouver, British Columbia
Year two of the company retreat was a tri – partner effort. VIA Rail Canada wanted to ensure that “The Canadian” was a key component of the Annual Retreat journey so team members could educate themselves on the classes and types of services on board as they travelled from Edmonton to Vancouver. In addition Edmonton Tourism and Tourism Vancouver joined forces to ensure teams not only had a fantastic weekend of strategy but also at the same time experienced;
Edmonton: Madison’s Grill, Sutton Place Hotel, West Edmonton Mall
Vancouver: Sheraton Wall Center, Granville Island, Stanley Park, and Vancouver Art Gallery
The Amazing Race saw teams of 2 arrive at the VIA Rail Station in Vancouver at first light, and the race began right off the train. What is still to this date the most challenging Amazing Race ever put on it included more than 20 clues around the City such as biking around Stanley Park with photos along the way, finding mysterious paintings at the Vancouver Art Gallery, your favorite food at Granville Island, Float Plane Terminals, Chinese Gardens, Vancouver lookout and so many more. While the winning team finished in a little over 4 hours, the last team took more than 8 hours to complete the course.
Amazing Race Winning Team: Joseph & Corey
Quebec City, Quebec
Tourism Quebec, Tourism Quebec City and their partners pulled out all the stops and ensured the Anderson team experienced the “French Flavour” and magic of this part of French Canada. The Anderson Team experienced incredible gastronomy at Portofino Bistro, L’Astral revolving restaurant, and Fairmont Chateau Frontenac, while also visiting Quebec’s top attractions such as Cuivres D’Arts Albert Museum, Montmorency Falls, and Plains of Abraham. Team members were also “scared out of their wits” on a life and interactive ghost tour of Old Quebec that also taught of the Cities history with Le Promenade du Fantom.
The Amazing Race again took on a new twist within the heart of the Old Walls, as teams of two had to first determine cryptographic messaging to decode clues and then race around the City to collect 10 check points and return. It turned out the most tactical team was the fastest. The most mind consuming Amazing Race to date.
Amazing Race Winning Team: Jon & Rebecca
Special Thanks to Host Accommodation Partner: Manoir Victoria
Toronto’s “We’ve Been Expecting You” campaign was well underway in 2010 and they rolled out the red carpet for the Anderson Team. Three solid days of meetings broken up by amazing only in Toronto experiences. These included Great Cooks on Eight cooking school, Toronto’s Old Town Tours Historic District Tour, Joe Badali’s, The Theatre District and a day tour to Niagara Falls.
The Amazing Race saw teams again in random pairs, where they set out to explore the vast City of Toronto via only public transit. Teams were taken to the CN Tower, Toronto Art Gallery, Casa Loma, Maple Leaf Gardens, The Theatre District, The Exchange District, Eaton Center and more.
Amazing Race Winning Team: Jon & Joseph
Special Thanks to Host Accommodation Partner: Delta Chelsea
Saskatoon Shines! That’s what they say about this Vibrant City and the Anderson Team got to experience the warm hospitality and must see’s of Saskatoon and region due to the efforts of Tourism Saskatchewan and Partners.
These exceptional experiences included: Aroma restaurant, Souleio, Champetre County Wild West Resort, and a very special Explore the North evening at the Terrace Lounge in the Delta Bessborough where regional partners came in to spend the evening with Anderson Staff while being entertained by local talent. For the first time Anderson gave away an Employee of the Year Award for an internal team member. This was awarded to Heather Matthews for her commitment to her department and overall team goals.
The Amazing Race Saskatoon was another first. The teams were broken again into random teams of two, but this time given the keys to a rental vehicle. Teams (while keeping to the speed limit) raced around Saskatoon in the same fashion as a true Amazing Race, step by step and were tasked with creating dream catchers at Wanuskewin Heritage Park, shopping at the local Saturday Farmers Market for two ingredients amongst hundreds of stalls, and finished at the Western Development Museum where in a massive network of exhibits teams had to find three small dolls to gain their clue and return to the finish line.
Amazing Race Winning Team: Jon & Deborah
Anderson Company Awards:
Employee of the Year – Heather Matthews
Special Thanks to Host Accommodation Partner: Delta Bessborough
The Anderson Team was fortunate this year to get to explore “The Worlds Finest National Park” thanks to the support of Banff and Lake Louise Tourism. On top of a year where Anderson re defined their core fundamental business principles also got to experience some of Banff’s gems including The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel and Historic Tour, Wild Bill’s, Sulphur Mountain Gondola, Canadian Rockies Hot Springs, Cave & Basin and of course partake in the night life.
Anderson added a Tour Manager of the Year award this year, which was won by Brian Noble, while Vasil Vladinski picked up Employee of the Year honours
The Amazing Race this year took on a new and unique twist. When in Banff and the heart of the Canadian Rockies, it is almost mandatory to be outside. Even though fresh snow had fallen, teams were given GPS tracking devices where they had to decipher and find a series of 14 checkpoints throughout the town of Banff, and at 5 unique checkpoints complete a task. These tasks included obstacle courses, snow shoeing, scrabble puzzles and more. Thanks to Discover Banff Tours for putting on this spectacular outdoors adventure.
Amazing Race Winning Team: Corey & Rene
Anderson Company Awards:
Employee of the Year – Vasil Vladinski
Tour Manager of the Year – Brian Noble
Special Thanks to Host Accommodation Partner: Caribou Properties
Tourism Winnipeg played host to the 2013 edition of the company retreat and put on an amazing few days. With the timing of the retreat it was extremely fortunate that Anderson Team members were some of the first to experience the new developments in Winnipeg including Assiniboine Park’s expansion, and a hardhat tour of The Canadian Museum of Human Rights, which was to open the following year. In addition the team experienced Oak Hammond Marsh, Fort Whyte, Celebrations Theatre, The Manitoba Museum and The Hermetic Code Tour.
The company added a Million Dollar Club (For Staff Who Generated $1.0M or more in sales), and a Travel Agent of the Year Award to their annual company awards categories and invited their agent of the year to the annual retreat.
In one of the most creative Amazing Race’s to date Tourism Winnipeg and partner relied on an extensive volunteer network to put on “The Amazing Place” Winnipeg, which true to the Amazing Race television series put the teams to task. From finding 5 nickels within five thousand dollars worth of nickels sponsored by the Royal Canadian Mint, to splitting playing cards with an Axe, a scavenger hunt at the Manitoba Museum, check points, matrix codes, detours, tube rides, polar bears and more it was a challenge for even the Anderson Race veterans.
Amazing Race Winning Team: Corey & Peri
Anderson Company Awards
Employee of the Year – Heather Murray
Tour Manager of the Year – Charles Kenyon
Million Dollar Club - Heather Matthews and Vasil Vladinski
Travel Agent of the Year – Darcie Guarderas, Carlson Wagonlit Travel Winnipeg
Special Thanks to Host Accommodation Partner: Hotel Fort Garry
Travel Portland & Travel Oregon were excited to be the first destination outside of Canada to bring the entire Anderson Team to them for the 2014 edition. It was a weekend focused around building relationships within the team while experiencing “Portland Happening Now”.
Travel Portland & Travel Oregon are known worldwide as Tourism Partners that like to do things differently, and no question when it came to the 2014 edition they did just that, pulling out all the stops for the Anderson Team. Team members got to experience what “Keeps Portland Weird” but also the warm hospitality of the Pacific Northwest as they dined with top award winning Chefs at BEAST, at Portland City Grill and Departures Lounge at The Nines Hotel, while created their own culinary creations at The Kitchen at Middleground Farms.
In addition the team experienced the amazing wines of the region at Ponzi Winery, sampled tastes of Oregon at Smith Berry Barn, South Store Café, Ribera Vineyards and Puddin River Chocolates. No experience to Portland would have been complete without Craft Beer tasting and the Anderson team was treated to a small-personalized Brewvana Bus Tour to sample craft brews from four of the cities microbreweries.
The Amazing Race was again an event like no other as teams were broken into teams of five where they had to combine creativity, with destination knowledge as they pedal biked, balloon animal built, photographed, food truck ate, and made their own team movies around Portland.
Amazing Race Winning Team: Corey, Peri, Dan, Anne & Vasil
Anderson Company Awards
Employee of the Year – Jim Warren
Tour Manager of the Year – Willo Jones
Million Dollar Club - Vasil Vladinski & Jackie Arthur
Travel Agent of the Year – Colette Trabucco – Carlson Creative Travel & Tours - Heather Van Vonderen – Harveys Travel, Truro, NS
Special Thanks to Host Accommodation Partner: Embassy Suites Hotel.
This year’s staff retreat took saw some additional guests as it was combined it with the inaugural Canada MEGA FAM. Top travel professionals from across Canada and the United States, even as far as New Zealand, traveled through the stunning landscapes of British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Newfoundland taking in a rich diversity of experiences. They kissed cods, made their way through a rain forest by a network of suspension bridges, stood on glass floors and more sharing every moment along the way with us using the hash tag #AndersonMEGAFAM.
Travel Alberta and Banff Lake Tourism hosted Anderson Vacation staff and our guests for an incredible weekend in the Rocky Mountains that also happened to coincide with Halloween. The Annual Anderson Vacations Amazing Race took on a special Halloween twist with jack-o-lantern carving, apple bobbing and trick or treating. Competitors covered over 14 kilometres of ground around the historic town site on foot!
It all came to a finale Saturday night with an Alberta themed Halloween Party at Wild Bill’s Saloon. Costumes included dinosaurs, paleontologists, bears, deer, Mounties, Red Deer, Alberta spirits and lots of cowboys.