Interview with Julie Holmen, from Toronto Tourism at Airship37 Event venue Toronto
The Airship37 event venue Toronto Openhouse was fun and engaging. A huge contributing factor to this was the panel discussion that took place. Julie Holme elaborated on some of the great ideas that events touch on.
Julie Holmen, Director of Sales, Corporate and Incentive at Toronto Tourism
– I LOVE connecting a client with someone in the community who can support their vision… Whether it’s a meeting planner with a new venue, a client who has confirmed business to Toronto who needs a transportation company to work with, or a client on a familiarization tour that just wants to steal one of our décor ideas, I love the business connections that come through my job and the economic impact that this drives in the community.
How did you enjoy the event at Airship37?
I thought the event was great! Congrats to Airship 37 on a great year and so glad to see your venue moving full steam ahead! I spend so much time with clients from out of town talking them into booking Toronto for their own meeting and events that it was refreshing to connect with many local event planners and suppliers. The innovation that comes from our community is great and the more chances we have to connect and share the more of an incredible place Toronto will be for hosting events of all sizes.
What do you think of the benefit of event professionals coming together like that?
I highlight the collaboration that meeting and event planners find in Toronto because in many cities around North America, there isn’t that same sense of community. Not only is coming together at these type of events critical to generate new ideas and partnerships but also educate and mentor new and existing faces in the industry. Identifying trends and joint needs of a certain group, helps build lobbying efforts and bring attention to the fact that this industry is about more than party planning.
Social media…what is the potential right now… for social media to help build interesting dialogues in the event business.. what have you seen that you thought was a clever use social media…
Wow, that is a lot of questions in one. Everyone is at different stages of the social media world but the good news is that keeping to two – three simple aspects can generate some additional buzz for your event. I recommend that a hashtag be created for the event, keep it simple or no one will remember it and be able to use it with only 144 characters allowed. Start promoting the hashtag on your e-vite or event website to try and get attendees engaged before the big day, have people tweet in or share their photos on Facebook and Instagram of what they are going to wear, who they are bringing, or even just as simple as sharing the link to your event to help spread the word and pick up additional registration. Make sure that the photos that are taken at the event are tweeted out that night and attached to your Facebook page as attendees will re-tweet this info and share the pictures of them attending. Keep the buzz going after the event with event pictures, a special thank you to sponsors, even a save the date for the following year’s event or another associated event. I also love Four Square, not only for check in purposes but you can leave messages from your sponsors to users such as come to this great XXX area and ask about how to bring this to your event. Social Media gets more people engaged and talking about your event.
There is a lot of consolidation going on right now between various fields ie pr and advertising …marketers and event planners. What do you think of this shifting landscape.
. – We saw many of our corporate meeting planner friends move into marketing / PR positions during the crazy economic collapse in 2009 so it would seem natural that there would be consolidation out in the field as well. More and more meeting planners need to not only put on their events but understand the return on them which is why many organizations are looking to expand their roles with titles like Event Marketing Manager. Even if you are planning for a local audience where attendance is mandatory, you still need to clearly explain the objectives of the meeting and by bringing in additional partners / organizations, you are able to bring more opportunities to the table.
Creativity… do you see an increased interest in the meeting and planning industry for non-conventional environments and activities to facilitate creativity?
I am personally starting to see even more non industry professionals being brought into events to speak on various topics including leadership, innovation, and idea inspiration. At the SITE Annual Conference in 2011 a neurologist was brought into to discuss how the brain reacts under the pressures of this industry. I can actually say that this was the first educational session where no one was on their blackberry, no one left the room, and everyone was taking notes. Also, in working with many of our citywide customers in Toronto we have many who have associated plans to build in non-traditional type sponsorship as some of their current or long term sponsors have faced cut backs and they need to supplement lost revenue but also add excitement to their delegates not seeing the same old same old sponsors. Just to add to this comment, I also love seeing events being held in non-traditional places, outdoor parks, city streets, anywhere that is completely unexpected!
Describe your perfect event
One that is booked in Toronto!