Ottawa Tourism

Member Newsletter

March 2019

Find out what’s new with Ottawa Tourism programs, members and people in this latest edition of the Ottawa Tourism Member Newsletter.




Want to make your social media posts more impactful? Ottawa Tourism’s social media team has complied helpful tips, tricks and best practices advice for your reference.  Please login to the membership extranet to access it. And don’t forget to use #MyOttawa on your posts so our team has the opportunity to amplify them.




Ottawa Tourism’s Not Vanilla marketing initiative from last summer was a winner at AToMIC Awards presented recently in Toronto. This cheeky marketing initiative led by Ottawa Tourism in partnership with Rethink, won Bronze in the Design category. The campaign included Ottawa Tourism serving its own branded ice cream on the streets of Toronto in June 2018, which caused quite the reaction.




We have three great events coming up. Register/purchase your tickets now!

2019 Ottawa Tourism Awards

Thursday, April 25 – Aberdeen Pavilion

Join Ottawa Tourism staff and your tourism colleagues for a gala evening celebrating Ottawa’s tourism MVP’s! This is our tourism industry’s night to celebrate excellence in the industry, network, and take stock of the tourism powerhouses of 2018. Proven to be a popular event every year, we’re working to make the 2019 edition even more memorable with our event theme: Lumberjack Chic.  We will have brewery samples from some of our fantastic local craft breweries and a signature cocktail from Artist In Residence Distillery.  Chef Michael Moffatt will be a special guest during our reception. If possible we ask you to wear cocktail attire with a twist of black/red plaid. BUY TICKETS

Stars of the City Conference

Tuesday, May 14th Ottawa Art Gallery

Information and registration coming soon.

Ottawa Tourism/OGHA Golf Tournament

Monday May 27 – Canadian Golf & Country Club

Register Now

Destination Development

Destination Development


Ottawa Tourism and Prescott Russel Tourism teamed up this winter to create a second rural tourism video, this time featuring winter activities. This new winter season video highlights the visitor experiences and activities available a short drive from Ottawa’s urban core. In time for maple syrup season and to still enjoy the benefits of the array of winter activities that destination playground can offer, the video features gems such as the Larose Forest, the Ottawa River, Vergers Villeneuve and Blueberry Farm, Quad Expert, Eastern Ontario Snowmobile Association, Garden Path, Kin Vineyards, Ashton Brewing Company, Fulton’s Pancake House and Sugar Bush, Stanley’s Olde Maple Lane Farm, the Diefenbunker, and the Popsilos Circuit.

De​stination Development

De​stination Development


Every year, frontline staff have the opportunity to attend Ottawa Tourism’s Annual Stars of the City Conference to speak about industry hot topics and learn customer service best practices to continuously elevate Ottawa’s customer service standards. To complement the key takeaways from this conference, frontline staff are encouraged to undertake the FREE Ottawa Host Customer Service Training to establish a solid customer service foundation. The I Know #MyOttawa and I Host #MyOttawa modules combine to offer frontline staff a well-rounded basic approach to customer service and destination knowledge. We encourage our members to set a target for their staff to get the certification on customer service from Ottawa Tourism by completing the two half-hour modules in advance of the Stars of the City Conference, in mid-May.

Convention Sales

Convention Sales


Ottawa Tourism’s convention sales team and partners hosted an evening of adventure for local meeting planners at the NAC on February 26. The evening was led by Escape Manor and Mentor U, and saw guests participate in a group escape designed to be brought into any setting. Ransom & Return offered a great opportunity for partners and members to network as they worked together to determine the location of a kidnapped colleague being held for ransom somewhere in Ottawa. A facilitated discussion from Mentor U offered great insights into the connection between the teamwork involved in the game and the application of these skills in the workplace. Thank you to all those who participated!

Major Events

Major Events


March 19-21, Ottawa hosts the Sport Events Congress, Canada’s largest gathering of sport, tourism professionals, event management firms and suppliers to the sport tourism industry. Managed by the Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance (CSTA), the Congress brings together sport organizations who own the rights to events open for bid, tourism representatives who are seeking event opportunities, and suppliers who offer goods and services to support event bidding and hosting throughout Canada.  This group of approximately 400 will meet at the Westin Ottawa for three days. Attendees will treated to social and hospitality events–including a REDBLACKS themed Tailgate Party hosted by Ottawa Tourism≠ plus professional development (training on sport tourism tools, best practices, etc.) and visits to local facilities and support services in the community.




Check out our Ottawa in the News section to read the articles listed below, and for even more content on Ottawa from media, bloggers, and influencers from all around the world!   The page is updated with new content each month, so we invite you to bookmark the section and keep a close eye on what journalists are saying about our great region. This month’s media coverage highlights include:

  • Carolyn B. Heller features the Brookstreet hotel on HotelScoop.
  • K.-based travel journalist Abul Taher speaks of how to spend 48 hours in Ottawa in the winter in his Daily Mail article.
  • Jennifer Doré Dallas explores Rideau Hall on her blog, Moi, Mes Souliers.
  • Blogger Gemma Taylor gives fun indoor activity ideas in her Off Track Travel blog post.
  • Jaime Scilingo Mazur features Winterlude and other ideas for a fun winter getaway in Ottawa on her blog JaimeSays.
Convention Sale​s

Convention Sale​s


Ottawa Tourism and Shaw Centre have joined forces to be Architect Sponsor of the EVENT, a major MPI gathering in Montreal, April 4-6. 2019 marks the second edition of the EVENT, an education conference jointly organized and executed by MPI’s Ottawa, Toronto, and Montréal & Québec Chapters. Cultivation, Collaboration, and Elevation are pillars of the EVENT. It will utilize peer-to-peer learning techniques and technology, creative meeting room designs, unique and tried-and-true session formats, all with the intent of fostering participant collaboration on existing ideas, the cultivation of new ideas, and the elevation of the meetings industry as a whole.

Destination Develop​ment

Destination Develop​ment


When Centre Block was closed to the public for renovations and rehabilitation at the end of January, the House of Commons moved to new temporary quarters in the West Block, while the Senate moved to the former Government Conference Centre across from Fairmont Chateau Laurier. Both will now offer public tours when the houses are not in session. Ottawa Tourism recently took an advance tour of both locations, which are impressive. Individual and group tours can now be booked in advance via a new online booking system. Please note that those wishing to tour both locations will have to book two distinct tickets as the Senate and House of Commons are located in two distinct building/locations down Wellington Street from one another. We suggest leaving approximately 30 minutes between tours since visitors are required to pass through security at both locations. 




As part of GoMedia Canada 2019, Ottawa Tourism and its partners will host several evening receptions between August 11-15. The events will showcase the best of Ottawa, wow our delegates, and inspire media with storytelling opportunities. The conference will kick off on Sunday evening with a special garden party at the Fairmont Château Laurier, followed by an opening reception at Lansdowne Park’s Aberdeen Pavilion on Monday night, and closing the conference on Wednesday evening with a reception at the Canadian Museum of History hosted by Tourisme Outaouais during Casino du Lac-Leamy’s Sound of Light firework displays.

We are looking for passionate individuals interested in volunteering during those evening receptions. If interested, please e-mail [email protected] and we will follow up with more details as we finalize the plans.

GoMedia Canada attracts 130 top-tier travel journalists from around the world, and 200 tourism industry representatives from throughout Canada. This is the first time this prestigious conference has been held in Ottawa and Ottawa Tourism intends to make the most of this opportunity to share our stories with the world. Click here to access the complete details of the Communications team’s presentation to Ottawa Tourism members on December 6 that outlined how YOU can get involved in GoMedia Canada 2019!




Over 90 members learned valuable lessons during the Trip Advisor Seminar at the Ottawa Conference and Event Centre March 6. Trip Advisor’s International DMO Manager, Andrew Wiens, discussed the three “levers” that businesses can pull to affect their rankings:

  • Quantity – get a lot of reviews
  • Quality – say what you’re good at and deliver what you promise so that you are managing expectations
  • Recency – get recent reviews; ask to be reviewed if you know you delivered a good experience

He highlighted the fact that businesses are not just responding to the reviewer but to the whole planet so do not correct an opinion or argue with a consumer.

Trip Advisor Top 10 Best Practices for Responding to Reviews

  1. Sign up for review notification emails
  2. Respond promptly
  3. Say ‘Thank you’
  4. Be original in your replies
  5. Own your mistake
  6. Highlight positives
  7. Respond by adding value
  8. Address any specific issues
  9. Be polite and professional
  10. Welcome them to come back
Travel Trade

Travel Trade


Ottawa Tourism’s travel trade team is gearing up for a busy spring–and members can join them!

March 20

Shop Talk, Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Ottawa Airport

9:30 – 11:30 am.

This is an opportunity for members to network with each other and provide updates on their organization. If you are interested in this opportunity, please contact Shawna Page

April 6-9

Toronto Sales Blitz

This blitz will involved scheduled appointments with clients focused on group tour and FIT business, and enables members to promote their property or service. If you are interested in this opportunity, please contact Danielle Jolicoeur

May 6-9

Canadiana VIP FAM

Ottawa Tourism will be hosting Canadian and US clients for a FAM tour focusing on Canadiana. If you are interested in this opportunity, please contact Shawna Page

In between all of that, Ottawa Tourism will be on a joint sales mission with Tourisme Outaouais in the UK and France meeting tour operators and media, April 8-12!

Staff News

Staff News


Congratulations to our very own Theresa Gatto, who was recently named Supplier of the Year by MPI Toronto. Way to represent, Theresa!  The MPI Toronto Chapter Awards Program is designed to recognize excellence in active chapter members, for their commitment, service and involvement in the chapter; industry and community at large.

And we welcome Tim Bayne to Ottawa Tourism as our new Business Intelligence Analyst. Tim comes to us from Statistics Canada, and e brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in business intelligence and data analysis, not to mention a passion for the tourism industry; he has a master’s degree in tourism development. We’re looking forward to working with Tim as he continues to develop and refine our goal to become a best-in-class organization in terms of data and business intelligence Welcome Tim!




The Conference Board of Canada is seeking your input on a tourism and labour issues. The recent growth of tourism activity in Canada has attracted a renewed focus on the sector by various stakeholders, including government. Despite this renewed focus, tourism businesses continue to struggle with a range of issues that require attention. Your response to the Tourism Outlook and Labour Issues Survey is important because it will allow the Conference Board to highlight those issues that not only impact your competitiveness but also cause the sector to underperform relative to its true potential. The Board invites tourism businesses to participate in the Tourism Outlook and Labour Issues Survey. It will only take about 10 minutes. Please click on this link, or cut and paste the link into your browser to begin the survey. 

This survey is part of a tourism labour supply and demand study by The Conference Board of Canada for Tourism HR Canada (THRC). The study will highlight the most significant issues facing tourism businesses today and into the future and quantify the degree to which labour issues will, and have already, impacted the sector.




April 9 at the Ottawa Conference & Event Centre,

Cycling as a way to experience a destination is rapidly increasing in popularity across Ontario, with its economic, health and environmental benefits well documented. While Ottawa already boasts a variety of trails, including 15 urban and rural cycling routes introduced by the City of Ottawa last year, adding to an already existing base of outstanding cycling infrastructure, we as a destination have the opportunity to grow this market together.  

Ottawa Tourism is hosting a member education session on the benefits of being a cycle-friendly business with some tips and tricks on how you can incorporate cycle-friendly practices into your business. You will also learn about the Bicycle Friendly Certification program through Ontario By Bike so that your business can take part in the program (psst, it’s free!), expanding your target markets to cyclists in our destination. 

We have partnered with Ontario By Bike and the City of Ottawa to bring you this exciting information session in anticipation of the upcoming busy cycle season.

Guest speakers include:

Louisa Mursell – Ontario By Bike

Kathleen Wilker – City of Ottawa Transportation Services

Jenn Lytle – Best Western Plus Ottawa Downtown Suites (recent winner of the Ontario By Bike “Best Bicycle Friendly Business” in Ottawa) 

Register Here

Before April 4