Author: Katelyn Narain, Group Sales & Services Coordinator, Simon Fraser University
“What do you do the rest of the year?” is a question I receive A LOT (and I’m sure fellow CUCCOA members can relate). While it is fairly easy for clients, partners, and co-workers to understand what we do during conference season, it is the rest of the year that leaves them stumped. After all, the summer is our “busy season”, so what does that make the rest of the year?
Conference season typically runs from May through August and is the time of year when our campuses are filled with groups of all types and sizes. We spend our days working with group contacts, supervising student staff, preparing meeting space, inspecting accommodations, and ensuring that events run flawlessly from start to finish.
As the Group Sales & Services Coordinator at Simon Fraser University, my September through April is filled with everything that makes conference season a success. From nourishing relationships with existing clients to seeking new conference business to looking at policies and procedures and making changes for the better, my days are filled with a variety of tasks (and grunt work) that allows conference season to happen. My days consist of sales calls, meetings, marketing initiatives, staff training, and yes, some days going through files that haven’t been touched in months. Contract templates are reviewed, rates and budgets are set, staff is hired, and proposals are sent. Often I spend more time during these months communicating with clients than with co-workers. It’s important to make the most of our “off-season” to ensure that when groups start arriving in May we are 110% ready to make their time at SFU an experience they won’t forget.
Although others may never fully understand all the work that goes into “the rest of the year”, for me conference season is never really over. The gears switch slightly, but in the end, everything we do, year round, is to create a successful conference season for our clients.