Ottawa Tourism takes a different approach to destination marketing

19th Jun, 2018

More than 60 travel and event professionals gathered this weekend as Ottawa Tourism developed relationships with clients new and old at a retreat in Scotland. 

The event titled “We’re the same… but different” took place over three days at Gleneagles in Perthshire. Known as The Glorious Playground in the Glens, the venue was the perfect place to gather buyers from across Europe for a balance of C-level education, networking and relaxing activities. Attendees included both meetings and leisure industry clients.

“We wanted to do something different, get close to our clients and spend time getting to know them,” comments Glenn Duncan, VP and Chief Marketing Officer of Ottawa Tourism. “It is all too easy for DMOs to follow the same formula as their competitors and deliver the same old showcases and fam trips.  We are not afraid to take chances and experiment, so we decided to explore a different way of relationship building.  There was no hard selling or show rounds, instead we focused on delivering value to our attendees. Ottawa is moving the needle here in Europe, our sector-specific targeting has paid off with a plethora of wins in our core target markets and this event takes our marketing activity to the next level.” 

Lesley Mackay, Ottawa Tourism’s Director of Meetings and Events, explains why the event took place in Scotland: “We needed to get away from the obvious multi-day fam trip to Ottawa itself. Fams are by their very nature product focused but we wanted this to be about the Ottawa welcome and people. Members of our board of directors and senior staff came to Scotland to be a part of the event and simply spend time with this select group of key clients and media.  Gleneagles provided us with a dedicated resort environment far from distraction yet incredibly accessible to all.”

During the weekend, the guests were treated to education from Olympic gold medallist Mark Tewksbury, a variety of activities across the resort and hospitality that included Canadian-themed food, traditional Scottish fayre and a ceilidh.

Simon Gaskin, secretary general of the International Association of Institutes of Navigators, commented: “The event provided a chance to get to know a wide variety of new people, receive some great education and experience something different in a beautiful setting.  In particular, the cross-section of attendees – from the travel trade to association executives and event planners – provided an opportunity to develop new business relationships and friendships that I hope will prove beneficial in both the short and long term.”

US Airtours chief operating officer David Mclaren said: “This has without a doubt been the best organised industry event I have ever attended. The attention to detail was superb, it has been great fun and insightful. However, above all else it is the people that made it such a success. The Ottawa team were open and welcoming, there was a lot of banter, laughter and great conversation. I look forward to coming to the next one!”

The event took place at Gleneagles, Perthshire and was organised with the support of Ottawa’s UK representatives Watterston Associates.

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