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One resort’s shot at a million-dollar vacation
By Sarah Ryeland
How would you react if your company sent you on a million-dollar vacation to Queensland, Australia?
There’s only one catch: you’ll have to go with your colleagues.
But for employees of The Rosseau, a J.W. Marriott Resort and Spa in Minett, that’s the fun part.
Not too long ago, employees of the resort caught wind of an exciting new contest created by the Australian state of Queensland. Not unlike that famous contest to become the guardian of an Australian beach a few years ago, this one is a bit grander in scale.
The contest, called Million Dollar Memo, offers workplaces around the world the chance to win a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Queensland, Australia. Each hopeful organization that entered had to submit a video and some information about who they are and why they’d deserve this trip of a lifetime.
Night auditor Malcolm Robertson was the one who brought the contest to the attention of his fellow workers.
“I had entered a contest before, which is how I discovered this one,” he says. “I found the link and I realized we could actually do this.”
So Robertson and a few of his co-workers started creating their video entry.
Focusing on the beauty of their Muskokan workplace, the team wanted to highlight the dedication of their employees and their desire to give workers at The Rosseau the ultimate reward.
“It’s a demonstration of appreciation,” says Robertson. “We have such a hardworking and dedicated staff here, and winning this contest would be a great reward.”
While The Rosseau wasn’t the only contest entry – hundreds of organizations around the world tossed their hat into the ring – they did seem to be one of the only teams to submit a serious video.
“We didn’t have any gimmicks or props – no bells and whistles,” says Robertson. “And I think that actually made us stand out from the crowd.”
It certainly made them catch the attention of the judges. The Rosseau has the distinction of making it to the top 70 – and are the only Canadian company in the running.
The next phase, which will take place at the beginning of July, is making the top 20. According to the contest’s web site, each company selected for the top 20 will be asked to send an ambassador to Queensland to take part in a few tourism-related challenges.
So that begs the question: who gets to be the ambassador?
“We’ll have to fight it out,” laughs Robertson.
But as wonderful as winning the contest would be, at the end of the day it’s not only about The Rosseau.
“We made sure to include in our entry that if we won, we’d be donating a portion of our winnings to charity,” explains Robertson. “We’ve picked six different local charities to work with and we’d like to get the chance to have some Australians come here to visit Muskoka, too.”
And charitable spirit has earned them recognition from both Queensland and the corporate offices of Marriott, who are very supportive of the initiative these employees have taken.
“This was really a grassroots campaign,” says director of sales and marketing for The Rosseau, Leah Leslie. “The employees put the video and entry together and then presented it to management.”
Now that The Rosseau has made it into the top 70, winning the contest seems within reach, so a few ground rules have been set out.
First of all, 10 per cent of the winnings will be donated to local charities to assist with fundraising efforts. Every year-round employee of The Rosseau will be able to enjoy the winnings (that’s about 130 staffers), but if they don’t want to go on the trip, they will be compensated.
But for those who do want to go, the timing couldn’t be better.
“One thing that works really well is our opposite seasons,” says Robertson.
Anyone working in the Muskoka tourism industry will tell you that taking time off in the summer is a no-go. That’s the beauty of this trip: employees would be able to head to Queensland in Muskoka’s off-season and take advantage of the gorgeous Australian weather in our colder and slower months.
For now though, The Rosseau staff is still relying on people to go online to watch their video. The more views the video has, the better chance they have of winning. So head to milliondollarmemo.com/en/entries/the-rosseau-a-jw-marriott-resort-and-spa-canada-430, or click on the QR code below and watch the video now. Tell your friends and support The Rosseau – Muskoka deserves to win!