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Why Do We Do This?

Author: Debbie Harding, Conference Sales and Services Manager, University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus

As we’re well into our conference and accommodation season in mid June (already!), we have experienced a whole array of things as a result of our “busy” season!

Personally, it’s all been really fantastic thus far, knock on wood!  We’ve had the privilege of having some extraordinary groups stay with us and are expecting lots more in the coming weeks.  However, this does not come without its challenges and pressures; meeting and exceeding the needs and expectations of our clients and balancing the resources of the large network of people we work with on campus.  It’s our job to make sure everyone is happy! Right? Right!  And through the hard work, patience, and sometimes pulling your hair out, it all seems to work out!

Why do we do it?  What is the main motivation that drives us to work so hard to make everything work out to the best of our ability?  I’m sure there are long psychological lists that can answer this question.  And without question, we are professionals and want the best for our clients and guests. But for me, I try not to lose sight of my motivation, which in the end, is for our students.

This becomes very clear during convocation.  This year we had four of our very own Guest Service Agents walk up to the podium to receive evidence of their hard work and dedication.  What a wonderful moment!  Students come from all over the country and world to study and live at UBC’s Okanagan campus.  They work hard to be able to afford to come to University. I like to believe that what we do in the summer with conference and accommodation hopefully makes it a little easier for students to live on campus and experience this brief, unique, and exciting time of their lives.

Maybe we’re not changing the world and sometimes we feel like we are running in circles, but I can guarantee that if we can help students in any way to experience living on campus, we’ve certainly succeeded in helping to change their lives.

Professional Conference Coordination

UBCO is perfect for conferences for up to 300 people with meeting space, catering and accommodation in one convenient location!

Meeting Planning 101

Author: Debbie Harding, Conference Sales & Services Manager

I think we’ve all been responsible for coordinating an office meeting, most likely in the adjacent boardroom with work colleagues.  We’re pretty comfortable with an agenda, inviting attendees (usually electronically) and even assigning responsibility for minutes.

Things start getting complicated when we’re responsible for organizing a larger meeting, workshop, or conference.  Perhaps outside stakeholders are invited or a speaker is invited to present at the meeting.  We must organize breaks, lunch, maybe a reception, and most importantly the agenda. Now we’re talking!

Where to begin!  Sometimes just the thought of all the details can be overwhelming.  There are some initial questions that will help get you started in the right direction.

1.      Who is the target audience? What topics are important to the audience? Are there industry questions that should be addressed, trends that are affecting your business, or do you have something important to share with stakeholders?

2.      What is the intention of the meeting or workshop? What do you want participants to leave with?  Drilling this down to the most important factor will keep you focused on what is important. There can be several topics, but at the end of the day, are they cohesive in getting the overall message across?

3.      How do you deliver the information you want your audience to have?  Are there experts within the ranks that can present valuable information?  Would it be advantageous to bring in speakers? Does your budget allow for such an expense?

4.      One word, budget!  What is your budget?  Will you be hosting this event from an internal organizational budget? Will you be charging guests to supplement your budget? Are there sponsors?  Sometimes you don’t know what the budget is, because you don’t know the costs.  Research, make phone calls, ask questions.  Like our conference services staff, there are people who can help you with creating a budget.

5.      Location and timing.  This is critical in your decision making process.  There are several things to consider:

  • What venue makes sense in terms of size and seating, technology, central location to your guests, unique or standard venue, and always, cost?  Ask about policy, contracts, cancellations, payments, every venue has their own important policies you should be aware of!
  • Timing is critical.  Make sure you are not overlapping important deadlines for your industry.  You wouldn’t want to organize a Tax Conference for tax professionals for the weekend of April 6th!  Book your venue well in advance to make sure your dates are solid. It’s not fun having to communicate new dates to guests!
  • Does the venue offer professional catering services?  Will you need to arrange food service on your own? You don’t want to be in the thick of things during the meeting and worrying about picking up food for you guests!

These questions may intimidate you a little bit, but having answered these questions you are building the foundation for your important meeting, workshop or conference.

For professional meeting planning and logistical coordination, contact UBC Conferences & Accommodation services at any time!

Debbie Harding, Conference Sales & Services Manager

UBC Conferences and Accommodations

E: debra.harding@ubc.ca; T: 250-807-9358

What’s Happening in Kelowna January 2013?

Happy New Year! 

See What’s Happening! in Kelowna for the month of January 2013, courtesy of Tourism Kelowna!

What’s Happening in Kelowna October 11-18, 2012

See What’s Happening! in Kelowna for the week of October 11-18, 2012 courtesy of Tourism Kelowna!

What’s Happening in Kelowna July 19 – August 8

See What’s Happening! in Kelowna for the week of July 19 – August 8th, courtesy of Tourism Kelowna!   We only have a few rooms still available for the August Long Weekend!  Book now before they’re all sold!

What’s Happening in Kelowna July 12-21st

See What’s Happening! in Kelowna for the week of July 12 – 21st, courtesy of Tourism Kelowna!  More great reasons to visit Kelowna and stay with us!

Tourism Kelowna’s Video of UBC Conferences & Accommodation

Tourism Kelowna hosts this video highlighting the many unique and state of the art meeting facilities at UBC’s Okanagan campus, including the many types of accommodation options available on campus.  Tourism Kelowna’s UBC Conference and Accommodation Video.  Thank’s Tourism Kelowna! 

If you’re interested in hosting a conference in Kelowna, please do not hesitate to contact us!  We would love the opportunity to tour you around campus at any time! 

Toll Free: 888-318-866  Tel: 250-807-8050 Email: conferences.ubco@ubc.ca

Unique Venues highlights UBC Conferences & Accommodation

Unique Venues has posted a great blog about our wonderful campus and what we have to offer in terms of meeting and conference space as well as accommodation: Unique Venues Blog.

Speak to a Conference Sales and Services Manager to set up a time to visit our campus at your convenience!  See first hand how we can be the perfect location for your next meeting, conference or just a get away to the beautiful sunny Okanagan!  Contact: Debbie Harding or Maaike Ammerlaan at 888-318-8666 or at conferences.ubco@ubc.ca.

New News Portal for Conferences & Accommodation

Welcome to our first posting on our UBC Conferences and Accommodation news portal!

Tomorrow is February 1st and we are busy preparing for our busy summer season already.   After reviewing all of the great feedback we received from our guests last season, we are pleased to say that we have listened!  Thank you all for such great kudos for our team, our accommodation and this beautiful campus.  But like all good news, there were great suggestions for improvement.  Again, we listened and are continually making your stay on campus an excellent experience!

What to look forward to?  New reading lamps and lighting in our spacious Monashee studios and one bedroom suites, self guided walking tours, and new maps for the great trails surrounding campus!

We hope to see everyone again this summer!  You can book on-line or call at any time!