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Canada's Anti-Spam Law: a Serious Threat for Meetings Industry Marketers in 2014

When Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) comes into effect this summer, it could drastically alter the way hotels, DMOs and meetings industry suppliers market to meeting and event planners.

The law was passed in 2010, but the federal government gave businesses three years to get ready. Unfortunately, few are aware of what this is all about.  As of July 1, 2014 penalties will apply if marketers ignore what is now mandated.

New requirements include:
  • Obtaining the recipient's consent PRIOR to sending an electronic, commercial message such as an email or text;
  • Recording this consent in a dedicated field in your organization's database so it can be verified if there is a complaint;
  • Ensuring your opt-out mechanism is easy and automatically removes a recipient no longer receives emails from you.
Failure to comply with the law could entail a $200 fine for each message (one unsolicited communication can count as a violation), and can reach up to $1,000,000 per day for individuals and $10,000,000 for organizations.

Here are three common sales & marketing practices in the meetings industry that marketers won't be able to do after July 1:
  • Buy a list and eblast an offer: first of all, if you get an offer to buy lists of meeting planners and someone says you can buy or rent it to eblast, don't do it.  Or if you do it (and we say: buyer beware!), make sure it's before July 1.  After that date you will NOT be able to send an unsolicited email touting your hotel, destination or services, even if you have an "opt-out" link. 
  • Eblast a tradeshow list: This one is a little less straight-forward.  If a planner came by your booth and dropped off a card, you will have six months to obtain express consent from the date of your meeting.  With express consent you will be able to continue with email marketing.  But after 6 months, if they haven't given you consent, you must stop. 
  • Your hotel recently completed its renovations program and you want to eblast the news:  As of July 1 you'll be OK to email those with whom you have done business in the last two years prior to the date of the deployment.  Anyone else who was just a prospect, you have to have their express consent first.
For more information on the CASL, how it will affect the way you market you meeting venue, service or destination, join us for our webinar on Thursday, January 30, at 12 noon EST, "What the Meetings Industry Needs to Know & Do About Canada's Anti-Spam Law".  This online event is free for qualified hotel, destination and other meetings industry suppliers.

Register at: