Summerside working to host more meetings and conventions

Mike Carson
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SUMMERSIDE – Tourism Summerside and Meetings and Conventions P.E.I. are in the early stages of developing an agreement that could see more bookings coming to the city and western parts of the Island in 2014.

 

Skirts were swirling and toes were tapping on Monday at a high-energy preview of what's to come during this season of Highland Storm. The show opens tonight at the College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts of Canada in Summerside at 7:30 p.m. AMBER NICHOLSON/JOURNAL PIONEER

In March, the accommodations levy will increase from two per sent to three per cent. This was done by the city at the request of Summersidde Tourism to help generate addition meeting and convention bookings for the community. From that levy, $25,000 will go to Meetings and Conventions P.E.I. to help bring more business locally.

Michael Matthews, executive director of Meetings and Conventions P.E.I., said his organization send out leads but it’s up to the client to make a decision on where they will stage their event.

“In terms of whether a booking’s successful, it’s up to the member and it’s up to the client to decide where to go,” Matthews said. “Not all leads are a fit for all members and the clients decide based on many things; including location, budget, product, agenda etc.”

His said their customers look for unique spaces to use.

“We have sent over 80 leads that have been for meetings outside of Charlottetown – and specifically 12 leads directly asking for Summerside,” Matthews said. 

He said only a handful of meetings have been won directly as a result of our leads to-date.

“Right now we have four accommodation, attraction and venue members in Summerside,” Matthews said. “We have the Loyalist and the Quality Inn are accommodation members, we have the College of Piping and Credit Union Place as well.”

He said the College of Piping has been successful with leads as has Credit Union Place and the Quality Inn and the Loyalist Lakeview Resort, as well.

“But we’ve only just started in that focus on Summerside,” Matthews said. “What we’ve done is we’ve reallocated our team in a number of ways, looking at having somebody focus on the Maritimes.”

He said a Canadian organization tends to be more likely to go to the capital city of the province and make their plans long in advance of the event. Regional-type organizations, look at smaller, shorter lead times and could bet be a better fit for Summerside.

“We also have a new person that has started in Toronto,” Matthews said. “She’s originally from P.E.I. and she’s selling (bookings) too. She’s looking for those smaller meetings, meetings that can fit in just one hotel and a better fit for a city the size of Summerside.”

“We see Summerside as the gateway to all the interesting tourism product of the North Cape,” he said. “More meetings in Summerside will be good for the entire region. We look forward to engaging the tourism operators of Summerside as to how access the meetings and conventions customer, and secure more of the lead opportunities sent.”

mcarson@journalpioneer.com

 

 

 

 

Organizations: College of Piping, Quality Inn, Credit Union Place Loyalist Lakeview Resort

Geographic location: Summerside, Charlottetown, Toronto North Cape

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