I’m extraordinarily proud of our Marketing and Sales team here at the Shaw Centre. Due in large part to their efforts, the Centre has hosted more than 2000 events for local, national and international guests since its opening, and recently picked up a prestigious accolade for the Best Marketing Initiative of the Year at the 2015 Best Ottawa Business Awards. Despite our continued success, however, the Marketing and Sales team will be the first to tell you that they rely on our invaluable partnership with Ottawa Tourism.
Ottawa Tourism’s Meetings and Conventions business unit – sometimes called a destination marketing office – works closely with Shaw Centre and other meetings industry stakeholders. Their experience and international connections contribute significantly to Ottawa’s strengthened position in the destination industry, as they work to increase and enhance market awareness.
At the Shaw Centre, we are fortunate to benefit quite directly from Ottawa Tourism’s efforts to showcase Canada’s capital. Working closely with Ottawa Tourism, we collaborate to sell the Shaw Centre and Ottawa as a destination. This is crucial because large international conventions do not merely choose a convention centre for their event, they choose a city. The symbiosis between our organizations is important. Just as we rely on Ottawa Tourism to promote the nation’s capital as a destination, Ottawa Tourism also needs the Shaw Centre to accommodate the events they are trying to draw to our city. While Ottawa Tourism works to bring business to hotels, restaurants and other smaller event venues, the Shaw Centre, as the city’s largest facility, is at the heart of any international bid.
Our strategic partnership is mutually beneficial in other ways. We share sponsorships costs for MPI (Meeting Planners International) and CSAE (Canadian Society of Association Executives) as we continue our quest to become the market leader in the Canadian associations segment.
I feel it important to acknowledge the supportive efforts of Ottawa Tourism for which we are very grateful. We appreciate the consistent efforts of Glenn Duncan, Ottawa Tourism’s vice president of sales, who makes a point of introducing us to key decision makers at client events. In return, we are pleased to share our contacts by bringing clients to Ottawa Tourism’s sales and networking events. These clients appreciate an introduction to Ottawa Tourism early in their planning process as it can help them find the best timing to take advantage of all that Ottawa has to offer as a destination. By mutually leveraging Ottawa Tourism’s partners and connections, it gives our Centre the ability to offer our clients greater exposure when holding their event in Ottawa.
Another way in which both the Shaw Centre and our clients benefit from our relationship with Ottawa Tourism is through the plethora of services they have available to clients that assist with the many intricacies of organizing a conference. We have had a good number of clients who have been delighted to discover that Ottawa Tourism can assist them with spousal programs, customized team building options, souvenirs, attraction and restaurant discounts and much more. We are able to present these service options as a selling feature for our Centre.
Last but not least, Ottawa Tourism is able to tap into the Destination Marketing Fund to which all local hotels and convention centres contribute, to offset some costs for city-wide conventions and make Ottawa an even more appealing destination for clients. As you can see, Ottawa Tourism’s efforts as a destination marketer has positive effects on Ottawa’s economy by making it so much easier to plan and execute a convention here. We couldn’t do all that we do without them!