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Roundup: Prince of Travel Signature Event Montreal 2022

Now that I’ve just about recovered from the festivities of last weekend, I thought I would share a recap of our Prince of Travel Signature Event Montreal 2022, along with some photos from the afternoon.

Welcome to the Event

Registration began at 12:30pm in the afternoon, with priority check-in offered to our top-tier Prince of Travel Royal Platinum members and HSBC cardholders. By our count, about 38 existing HSBC cardholders were in attendance at the event, earning themselves an entry into the special prize draw for the afternoon.

Our MC for the afternoon, Rohin Jain, welcomed our sold-out crowd at 1pm sharp, before I took the stage to share a few opening remarks. 

A Fireside Chat with HSBC Bank Canada

HSBC Bank Canada was the keynote sponsor for this Signature Event, and we’re grateful for their support in making it possible. We kicked off the event with a fireside chat with Ryan Swain, Head of Credit Card Acquisitions from HSBC. 

Our 30-minute conversation encompassed everything from the flagship HSBC World Elite Mastercard, to the strengths and weaknesses of the HSBC Rewards loyalty program, to some of the pain points that have been reported by HSBC cardholders that may have hindered the bank’s growth so far. 

Ryan was a wonderful guest, taking feedback in stride over the course of the discussion and Q&A. 

And as you can imagine, it’s not often that our very enthusiastic community has the opportunity to provide direct feedback to someone on a credit card’s product team, and the audience had plenty of thoughts and reflections to lob Ryan’s way. 

There was decidedly a mix of positive and negative feedback for Ryan to take home, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing how HSBC implements their learnings over the coming months.

Travelling on Points in the Post-Pandemic Era

Up next, I was joined by our special guests Andrew d’Amours, Tiezheng Bu, and Amy Tung from the Prince of Travel team for a panel discussion entitled “Travelling on Points in the Post-Pandemic Era”.

We explored the general topic of Miles & Points, approaching it each from our own unique angles and travel styles – maximizing luxury experiences, destinations visited, returns on work travel, and quality family travel experiences, respectively.

We also delved into the specific questions around what travel looks like during the coming post-pandemic years, and why using points specifically is the best way to travel during these unique circumstances.

From COVID travel insurance to the rapidly evolving future of commercial aviation, we covered a broad range of topics and perspectives on stage, and I myself picked up tons of new nuggets of knowledge over the course of our discussion. 

Networking, Round 1

At 2:30pm, we broke for an hour of networking in the adjacent room. The W Montreal staff began passing around their delicious canapés, and guests were also able to exchange their drink tickets for some refreshments while they mingled. 

I had the opportunity to connect with quite a few of our attendees, making the effort to meet as many new and old faces as possible, and I was delighted to see new connections being made and new friendships being built all around me. 

At the end of the networking, we conducted the prize draw for the $500 prepaid Mastercard for HSBC cardholders – including new signups who had applied for the card with HSBC team members during the event. Congratulations to Jason C. for winning the grand prize of $500, pre-loaded on a PayPower Reloadable Mastercard at that. 

How & Why to Become a Travel Agent

Amy Tung and T.J. Dunn from the Prince of Travel team then took the stage to share their respective experiences becoming a travel agent, and some of the benefits that they’ve been able to enjoy as a result.

T.J. has written about his work as a travel agent in the past, and Amy shared her story of achieving her credentials along a more expeditious path. 

Some of the benefits for travel agents are pretty unbelievable indeed – think, less than US$100 for Hawaii hotels these days – and the audience was given a unique insight into the commitment required to leverage their passion for travel and take on travel agency work as a potentially lucrative side hustle.

A Live Demonstration of Booking Award Travel

For our last session of the day, I was joined on stage by Scott Kennedy, creator of one of the most powerful Aeroplan search tools, for a live demonstration of his search tool in action.

To make things more challenging, we took three suggestions from the audience for different places around the world and then we had the job of building a round-the-world itinerary in business class for two people in live-action over the course of 30 minutes – all while sharing the thought process behind our trip planning.

I noticed a lot of the crowd taking a special interest in this session. Given all of the nuances involved, the process of planning out an award trip is very much something that’s communicated a lot more effectively with a live-action demonstration than a blog article or video could ever achieve.

Eventually, we succeeded in our mission to construct a routing, identify the pricing, and find award availability for a three-stop round-the-world journey to Mauritius, the Maldives, and Australia – largely thanks to a surprise discovery of a new Air Mauritius flight to Perth that starts in November 2022. 

Networking, Round 2

We wrapped up the evening with a final round of networking, downing more drinks and polishing off the W Montreal’s canapés – the lobster and caviar bites were definitely the highlight. 

After getting to know more of our guests, I was assisted by Andrew and Tiezheng for our final prize draw, starting with a couple of Emirates, Qatar Airways, and Oman Air premium amenities, and ramping up all the way to a Monos carry-on suitcase, a free night stay from the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth Montreal, and a WOW Suite giveaway from the W Montreal.

Congratulations to Simon C., Christian T., and Wesley V. for winning the three major prizes, respectively – but of course, the true VIP prizes were still to follow.

We were giving away two more tickets to our VIP Evening Social that night, hosted in the Extreme WOW Suite upstairs and for which the existing allotment of tickets had sold out within 30 minutes of going on sale. 

After a few no-shows and a winner who unfortunately couldn’t leave her +1 to attend for the evening, the golden tickets went to Nathen B. and Shirley D., who were invited upstairs to join the evening celebrations.

VIP Evening Social

For the rest of the evening, we convened in the Extreme WOW Suite – an awe-inspiring space that I had reviewed a couple of years ago – for some of Montreal’s finest foods, premium champagnes, and an all-round good time. 

Our guests had their choice of a glass of Krug or Dom Perignon champagne upon entering, and were then free to roam the space – whether it was the lofted living area, the balcony overlooking Square Victoria, or the open-concept bedroom with a Habitat-inspired ceiling light fixture and further adorned by a Prince of Travel-inspired backboard light fixture.

After getting our drink on, it was time to serve the food, which included some of the best names in Montreal’s food scene: a cold spread by Damas Restaurant, a sushi platter by Park Restaurant, and chicken poutine by Ma Poule Mouillée, all topped off with Pâtisserie au Kouign-Amann’s signature eponymous buttery tart for dessert.

Our VIP attendees emerged from the evening with full stomachs, close bonds, and new tricks up their sleeve, wrapping up a memorable event day overall.

Conclusion

The Prince of Travel Signature Event Montreal 2022 was a day to remember.

Everyone I spoke to during the afternoon and after the event commented that they had a great time and really enjoyed levelling up their game in an elevated setting while building deeper connections with the Prince of Travel community. 

Despite all of the energy and stress of the event day itself, I found myself reflecting a few days later that I genuinely had so much fun over the weekend as well, and I can’t wait until we’re all able to get together once again.

Special thanks to our keynote sponsor HSBC Bank Canada for helping us put the event together. If you missed out this time, stay tuned for details on our next event in 2022, which we hope to make even bigger and better.

12 Comments
  1. frankie11

    very nice summary – will attend in the future …a question regarding the three-stop round-the-world journey to Mauritius session – can anyone shed some more light into this exotic routing please ? was looking at going to Seychelles, however the Aussie extension is tempting – sort of like the SA route from Cape town to Perth – not even sure if that exits anymore …Merci/Thanks

    1. Ricky YVR

      What we ended up finding as part of our group session is: Montreal–Paris–Mauritius–Perth–Singapore–Maldives–Abu Dhabi–New York–Montreal. The requirements from the audience was to visit Mauritius, Maldives, and Australia all in one trip – so the Mauritius–Perth route certainly helped!

      1. frankie11

        thanks Ricky

  2. Ana

    If you do it in the GTA next time, I am sure it is going to be a much bigger event! I really wanted to come but getting on a plane for a 1 afternoon event just didn’t work out with my schedule.

    1. Ricky YVR

      Stay tuned. 🙂

  3. Chris YVR

    What are the chances Amy will write about her journey to getting her credentials? I wasn’t able to attend the event due to being on the road and would love to hear about it! Something I’ve always been curious about!

    1. Ana

      Same!

  4. Steven

    Please not in YUL next time. Too much French speaking during networking

    1. Rich

      Stay classy my friend.

      You must be one of those international travellers who complains when others don’t speak English.

      1. Steven

        No issues with the language, but if others don’t speak it well, they’re effectively isolated from the conversation. What’s the point of networking if groups are segregated?

        Logic dictates you speak a language everyone can speak and understand

    2. Patrick

      True! How dare they speak their official language in their own province.

  5. Steve

    Glad to see it was a great success! It is not something interests me – I would prefer to put my money toward leisure travel-related expenses – but you clearly have a receptive audience for these events. Keep up the good work!

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