I’m often asked what it’s like to come to work each day in one of the city of Ottawa’s most iconic buildings. My typical response is that yes, Shaw Centre is a gorgeous facility, but I see it as much more than that. In my role as president and CEO, I see Shaw Centre as a place where the entire team works hard to ensure our facility consistently provides tremendous economic benefits to Ottawa. Since we opened in April of 2011, we’ve been responsible for almost 200,000 delegates coming to town. In our 2015/2016 fiscal year alone, the over 40,000 out of town visitors we welcomed for hundreds of events boosted Ottawa’s economy with $81M in direct spending and helped keep over 700 people employed at the Centre. Those are great numbers, but our eyes are always focused on how we can grow and improve.
Thanks to the dedication of our entire sales and marketing team, this year is shaping up to be very strong for all our market sectors including National Association, National Corporate and International and this is due in part to the steps we have taken to increase the brand awareness of Shaw Centre. I’m pleased to report that this year, we have already secured 43 conventions compared to 31 in 2016, some of which are net new clients while others are organizations which are choosing to return to Shaw Centre based on previous great experiences with us.
As a team, everyone at Shaw Centre shares a collective goal to make each and every guest feel as welcome as possible, and to help every event meet or exceed its objectives. The larger goal which we are also working towards is to win the coveted title of the World’s Best Convention Centre, which will be awarded by International Association of Congress Centres (AIPC) in 2018. In 2014, we tied for second place for this award, one of the most prestigious in our industry, and have been working tirelessly to improve all aspects of our operations with particular emphasis on our customer service.
We take the feedback we get from our visitors very seriously and these comments are shared with our entire team to ensure they understand what they are doing well, and areas where we need to improve. I’ve been pleased recently to read such commendations as:
- “Continue to provide the high quality and personal attention”
- “I attended a conference at the Shaw Centre in Ottawa in January, and had a great experience. The staff are very helpful, and the building is immaculate inside. Its architecture is modern and very interesting. It’s in a perfect location right downtown Ottawa.”
- “Customer service was excellent, keep it up, we will be back in June. I look forward to working with your great team again!”
- “Wonderful place for any corporate event.”
In these times of global uncertainty, Ottawa is an increasingly appealing destination for many reasons and this is reflected in Shaw Centre’s ability to attract some big international events. For example, working collectively with our strategic partner Ottawa Tourism, we were delighted to be chosen as the site for One Young World in 2016 and are eagerly looking forward to hosting delegates to the Global 4-H Summit in July 2017 as well as the 2018 International Making Cities Liveable Council and the International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD) in 2019. We are very mindful of the important role we play as local and national hosts and we look forward to welcoming new and returning guests from all across Canada and around the world.