VANCOUVER — B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell heralded the successful tourism pull of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics while welcoming the crowd to the recent BC Hospitality Industry Conference & Expo. The event was attended by hundreds of buyers and more than 250 exhibitors, who were joined by a parade of conference delegates speaking at sold-out information sessions.

“This year, we focused on a skills-based approach where attendees could take something home to apply in their day-to-day operations,” said conference MC, Earl Wilde, while speaking about the information workshops. “It was increasingly important to offer a wide variety of high-calibre sessions, especially given that our full delegate registrations were up 20 per cent over last year”.

Aside from the hundreds of exhibitors — including everyone from the Bank of Canada to Rocky Mountain Flatbread and Shaw Cable — show highlights included keynote addresses from Jim Treliving, Boston Pizza’s chairman and owner, who co-stars in CBC’s reality series Dragons’ Den, and memory consultant Bob Gray.

Another draw was Bonnie Buckhiester, of Buckhiester Management, who attracted a crowd to her session on hotel rate wars. The revenue management specialist’s workshop was taken to heart as some hoteliers were caught dialing their property’s managers after the session to implement Buckhiester’s pricing strategies, which are designed to improve value without reducing rate.

Other sessions included a sold-out gathering by social media specialist Todd Lucier, and workshops touching on topics such as enhancing operator-supplier relationships, preventing loss and promoting profit behind the bar, engaging the generations and capitalizing on short-haul markets.

The big event was capped by a gala dinner in The Fairmont Waterfront hotel’s ballroom, which attracted more than 375 hospitality operators to a 1920’s-style party where 10 tourism and hospitality students from across the province were awarded scholarships.

Next year, the BC Hospitality Industry Conference & Tradeshow will run from Nov. 6 to 8.


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