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Ottawa Tourism and Roots Canada – a great partnership and a great contest!

16 Jan

Put on your Roots gear and head to the Rideau Canal Skateway in Ottawa!

Ottawa Tourism and Roots Canada have paired up to encourage Canadians to explore the joys of winter. Visitors to Roots outlets across Canada can enter the Let’s Go Outside! contest until February 14, 2012 and have a chance to win a 4-night trip to Ottawa! You can also enter the contest online.

The prize package includes:

The partnership was launched at a media event in early January 2012 at the Roots flagship store at 100 Bloor Street West in Toronto, with assistance from Savvy Company (who sourced Savour Ottawa cheeses and Ontario wines), Le Cordon Bleu Ottawa (who provided delicious macarons for dessert and some door prizes) and Ontario Tourism. Thanks to all who attended!

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Chris Robinson Travel Show features Ottawa Dec. 24

21 Dec

If you’re in the Toronto area, tune in to NewsTalk 1010 from 10:00 to 11:00am on Saturday, December 24 for the Chris Robinson Travel Show‘s feature on Ottawa.

You’ll learn more about the plans for Winterlude and other winter celebrations, post-Christmas shopping options, relaxing at Holtz Spa, staying at the Fairmont Château Laurier, dining at Le Cordon Bleu Bistro @ Signatures, visiting the National Gallery of Canada and the Canada Aviation & Space Museum and more!

To whet your appetite, check out the video at the bottom of Chris Robinson’s homepage: http://www.chrisrobinsontravelshow.ca/

 

A Christmas carol for the modern age

19 Dec

As December 25 fast approaches, you may enjoy this “Christmas card to the internet” written and performed by our Director of Digital Marketing, Nick Iannitti, and a very photogenic cat.

Stars of the City shine at annual celebration of customer service excellence

27 Oct

Over 400 tourism industry insiders gathered last night at the Algonquin College School of Hospitality & Tourism to celebrate the achievements of front-line staff during the 16th annual Ottawa Tourism Stars of the City Recognition Evening.

A total of 1,052 nominations were received from residents and visitors to the region over the past year, nominating front-line staff from 89 businesses for their real-life examples of excellence in customer service. Everyone who is nominated as a Star of the City received a gold “star” lapel pin, a symbol of customer service excellence here in Ottawa and Canada’s Capital Region.

An independent panel of judges comprised of industry leaders decided among 22 finalists to award the ultimate “Star of the City 2011” as well as winners in the following 8 categories.

OTTAWA TOURISM’S 2011 STAR OF THE CITY 

Grand Prize Sponsored by the Ottawa Gatineau Hotel Association

Paul Norris – Lord Elgin Hotel

Paul Norris of the Lord Elgin Hotel, Ottawa Tourism's 2011 Star of the City! CREDIT: Teckles Photography

Paul Norris’s story:  On a cold February night, a local restaurant was hosting a student group for dinner. When it came time for them to move on for skating on the Rideau Canal, the tour guide and teachers left a student behind. After spending time trying to reach the tour company, the student let the restaurant staff know that the group was staying at the Lord Elgin Hotel. When Paul was contacted at the hotel, he offered to go to the Canal and find the group. In spite of the cold weather, snowy conditions, hundreds of tourists and darkness of night, Paul found the group and called the restaurant to inform them of their location. The student was quickly reunited with his group.

WHAT’S LOST IS FOUND Sponsored by: Rideau Centre

Paul Norris – Lord Elgin Hotel

See above.

ABOVE & BEYOND Sponsored by: Algonquin College, School of Hospitality & Tourism

Christopher Ward – Lord Elgin Hotel

After a canoe trip on the Ottawa River took an unexpected turn with the guests spending 20 minutes in the water before being rescued by one of the other canoes, the guests returned to the Lord Elgin Hotel. Christopher organized to have their wet clothes washed and dried and contacted the Australian Foreign Affairs department in Australia to find out how the guest could replace their damaged passports. He arranged for the memory card from the cameras to be copied to a DVD as the camera was beyond repair. The next day, Christopher came to the Lord Elgin on his own time to take the guests on a walking tour of Ottawa to show them sights they had missed on their tour.

STARS WITH HEART Sponsored by: Carleton University Conference Services

Kristine Thomas – Minto Hospitality Group

Kristine made a guest’s family Christmas very memorable. A long-stay guest at the Minto Furnished Suites was unable to accommodate her 12 family members in her one-bedroom suite for dinner. Kristine arranged for a suite to accommodate all of them complete with a Christmas tree, garland, wreaths and decorations that she brought from home. Kristine personally bought a dog stocking and treats for the daughter’s new puppy.

GOOD CITIZEN Sponsored by: Ottawa Citizen

Anthony Vitanza – Ottawa International Airport Authority

Anthony joined the Infoguide program at the Ottawa International Airport Authority in 2003 when he was still a student. Despite the fact that he was their youngest volunteer, his gregarious nature and exuberance endeared him to the entire team. These same traits have also made him popular with passengers at the airport. Anthony has been nominated several times as a Star of the City and the airport has received numerous letters of praise. From staying late after his shift, to fixing someone’s car, to tracking down a lost item, Anthony doesn’t think twice before going the extra mile. One passenger said: “Too often we complain about service received from public institutions and organizations, and so it gives me the greatest pleasure to offer my compliments and commendations to your airport and this young man for service above and beyond the call of duty.”

The Stars of the City dessert, prepared by students of the School of Hospitality and Tourism at Algonquin College. CREDIT: Teckles Photography

GO THE EXTRA MILE Sponsored by: Ottawa International Airport Authority

Patrick Douville – The Westin Ottawa

This guest’s flight was cancelled and they were re-routed to their final destination –  Ottawa. Due to the changes with their flights, their baggage containing their prescription medication and clothes didn’t make it to Ottawa with them. Patrick made countless phone calls to the airline and received different information about the whereabouts of the baggage each time. Finally the guests learned that the bags were at the airport but the airline wasn’t sure where. After Patrick’s shift he went to the airport to look for the bags. At first he was told the bags weren’t there but Patrick insisted that they check one more time. Surprisingly his persistence paid off and the bags were found. He then took the time to drive the bags back to the Westin and deliver them to the guests.

HOST(ESS) WITH THE MOST(EST) Sponsored by:  Downtown Rideau BIA

Meme Guerrini – Hilton Garden Inn – Ottawa International Airport

This guest had been transferred to Ottawa for work. Meme helped the guest find local real estate websites, went to the local corner store on her break and picked up real estate magazines and bought the guest a big piece of chocolate cake to help with the stress of being far from family. This guest had spent more time at the Hilton Garden Inn – Ottawa International Airport than at home recently as she transitioned to a new job. When her family joined her for a weekend in Ottawa, Meme sent them a cheese and fruit tray and coupons for free breakfasts for the weekend.

EVENING STAR Sponsored by: Casino du Lac-Leamy

Christopher Ward – Lord Elgin Hotel

One of Christopher’s 38 nominations summed up his standard of service with the following:

 “From the time we checked in to when we left four days later, he provided us with such welcoming and gracious guidance that we felt we had a personal concierge.”

STAR PROPERTY Sponsored by: Ottawa Hotels of the Westmont Hospitality Group

Casino du Lac-Leamy

Customers from Ottawa and beyond continue to rave about the professionalism, friendliness and the initiative taken by the staff to please each and every guest.

Category winners received a beautiful award along with a $250 Shop Card courtesy of Rideau Centre. The overall 2011 Star of the City receives another $250 Shop Card from Rideau Centre and an all-inclusive trip for two to the sunny south courtesy of the Ottawa Gatineau Hotel Association.

Ottawa Tourism and National Capital Commission win Ontario Tourism Awards

5 Oct

Ottawa Tourism and the National Capital Commission were victorious in two categories at the Ontario Tourism Awards gala held at the Hamilton Convention Centre  on October 4.  Ottawa Tourism accepted the award for Best Tourism Advertising and the National Capital Commission accepted the Tourism Innovator of the Year Award for their popular Mosaika Sound and Light Show.

“It is extremely gratifying to have the work of our Ottawa Tourism team and that of our agency of record, Mediaplus Advertising, recognized by the province in front of our peers,” says Noel Buckley, President and CEO of Ottawa Tourism. “Similarly, the accolades for Mosaika—a spectacular summer attraction in Canada’s capital that we heavily promote—are well-deserved.”

This is not the first success for Ottawa Tourism with these awards. In 2008 and 2010, they took home the gold award in the Best Tourism Advertising category, and silver in the same category in both 2006 and 2007. In 2009, they were a finalist for Best Interactive Marketing. In 2010, Savour Ottawa won the Culinary Tourism Leadership Award, and was a finalist in 2009, the category’s inaugural year.

The awards were presented at the annual Ontario Tourism Summit, which ended today.  The Summit, hosted by the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation (OTMPC) and the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO), is a forum for the provincial tourism industry to gain insights on the latest trends and ideas as well as celebrate excellence and innovation.

Ottawa Tourism Awards celebrate local excellence

13 May

Ottawa Tourism presented the 2011 Ottawa Tourism Awards last night at a gala event in the new Ottawa Convention Centre.

More than 300 industry insiders attended, including The Honourable Michael Chan, Ontario Minister of Tourism and Culture, Robin Garrett, President of the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation (OTMPC), and Bill Kenny, Vice President of OTMPC.

Winners were chosen among 20 finalists in four major award categories:

New Company of the Year

Innovation of the Year

The National Capital Commission's Mosaika sound and light show -- presented on summer evenings using the Parliament Buildings as a giant screen -- won Innovation of the Year at the Ottawa Tourism Awards.

Tourism Partnership of the Year

Event of the Year

The Bell Capital Cup won Event of the Year at the Ottawa Tourism Awards. Photo credit: Freestyle Photography Andre Ringuette

The Tourism Volunteer of the Year was Michael Crockatt, Vice-President of Business Development and Marketing at the Ottawa International Airport Authority.

The Outstanding Tourism Achievement was the new Ottawa Convention Centre, presented to Patrick Kelly, President, and Jim Durrell, Chair.

Three other award winners were recognized at the event:

  • Benoit Legault won the Ottawa Tourism Travel Writing Award for an article called “Ottawa – La non-capitale” published in the June 19-20, 2010 edition of Le Devoir. (Runners-up were Amy Eckert  for her story “Fest Stops: Canadian Tulip Festival” in the March 2010 issue of Cleveland Magazine and Jeff Heilman for his story “Capital Ventures” in the November 2010 issue of Business Traveler magazine.)
  • Kamalesh Kasinathan of the Holiday Inn & Suites Ottawa – Kanata  was congratulated for being named the 2010 Star of the City
  • Christie Barr, a student in Algonquin College’s School of Hospitality &Tourism, received the annual Tourism Scholarship

The Ottawa Tourism Awards are coordinated by Ottawa Tourism and celebrate the individuals, organizations and events that have set high standards and demonstrated outstanding achievement, contributing to the growth and development of tourism in Ottawa and Canada’s Capital Region.

Congratulations to all the nominees!

Sexy new Ottawa Convention Centre opens!

19 Apr

The excitement was palpable last week when the sexy new Ottawa Convention Centre opened its doors. On April 13, over 1000 people filed through the sleek new building overlooking the Rideau Canal and downtown Ottawa skyline.

Yes, there's a performer inside that pyrotechnic wheel outside the new Ottawa Convention Centre!

From delicious food and drink to meeting rooms dressed up in a variety of configurations, the opening was a stylish affair.

Topping it off were performances by circus acts, including a dazzling pyrotechnic show at the end of the evening. Politicians, tourism industry insiders, meeting planners and other VIPs were suitably impressed.

At almost three times the size of the former Ottawa Congress Centre, which it replaced, the new Ottawa Convention Centre is a bold addition to the Ottawa skyline, with a huge glass façade allowing people outside to interact with the building. It’s also an environmentally friendly building and wired from top to bottom for the latest technological gadgets — everything you need to host an impressive event.