First BruceGreySimcoe Conference a Huge Success

The first annual BruceGreySimcoe Tourism Conference, held at Meaford Hall on December 9, 2015, was a definite success.  About 150 conference delegates attended the daylong event featuring keynote speaker, Frederic Gonzalo of Gonzo Marketing, breakout sessions and networking opportunities (see the complete agenda below).   The day also showcased local fare, produce, baked goods and beverages for the break and for lunch.  Representatives from RTO7, MTCS, Bruce County, Grey County Tourism and Tourism Simcoe County each presented an update from the past year and plans for the coming months (see links to presentations below).  

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A highlight of the conference was the presentation of the Charlie Kelly Tourism Award, previously presented at the annual Grey-Bruce Tourism Conference and now expanded to include nominees from Simcoe County.  This year, the award was presented to two recipients – Don Braden, former President of the Blue Mountain Village Association, who passed earlier this year, and Jeff Carver, owner of The Wismer House in Port Elgin, and a driving tourism force in the community of Saugeen Shores.  This award, sponsored by Bayshore Broadcasting, is given in  honour of Charlie Kelly, an Owen Sound alderman who championed the idea of winter tourism for Owen Sound.  It is given in recognition of the person who has helped to grow the tourism industry within BruceGreySimcoe over the last year through initiative, innovation or by acting as a role model. 

Bruce, Grey and Simcoe Counties together with RTO7 teamed up to host this first annual conference, “In the Know”, an amalgamation of the Grey Bruce Tourism Conference and Tourism Simcoe County’s “Beyond the City Lights”.    The hardworking conference committee members are:  Amanda Pausner of Grey County Tourism, Donna Goodwin of Tourism Simcoe County and Kim Clarke of RTO7.   

Thank you to:

  • Our keynote and breakout session speakers
  • Our MC, Kevin Forget, Travel Promotions Officer, Ontario Travel Marketing Partnership Corporation (OTMPC)
  • Susan Lake and the staff at Meaford Hall
  • Steve Murray and the Municipality of Meaford for resolving the parking issue – much appreciated!
  • Food and Beverage Suppliers
    • Almond’s Farm Market
    • Coffin Ridge Boutique Winery
    • Duxbury Cider
    • Grandma Lambe’s
    • Ironwood Coffee
    • Meaford Farmers’ Market
    • Meredith’s Ginger
    • Outlaw Brew Co.
    • Sheila’s Sugar Sticky Sweet Stuff
    • Side Launch Brewery
    • Sizzlin
    • The Cheese Gallery
  • Allison Kennedy Davies for the day's photos
And, a BIG thank you to all of those who joined us in Meaford for an informative and fun day.  Plans are already underway for the 2016 conference and we’re looking forward to seeing you there.  Stay posted for details!
For more information on the conference’s agenda, speaker information and presentations, see below.  

Keynote Speaker

Frederic Gonzalo  - Speaker, Blogger, Consultant, Marketing Expert, Social Media & Online Tourism
Frederic Gonzalo is passionate about marketing and communications, with over 20 years of experience in the travel and tourism sphere. Early 2012, he launched Gonzo Marketing and works as a strategic marketing consultant, professional speaker and trainer in the use of new technologies (web, social media, mobile).  Learn more about Frederic by watching the video.

Conference Keynote Presentation:  Mastering the Trinity of Digital Travel Marketing:  Making the Most of Social & Mobile


Breakout Sessions 

  • Online Booking Engines – Friends or Foes with Frederic Gonzalo
    The past fifteen years have seen the emergence and increasing importance of Online Booking Engines such as Expedia, and Travelocity.  With Google and TripAdvisor getting into the game, find out how this landscape is continuing to shift.
  • Managing the Risks – Important Tips Every Events Organizer Needs to Know with Kathrin Delutis and Jessica Linthorne
    Running an event, big or small, is a lot of work.  With new regulations, increased questions and paperwork required by different levels of government, it is important to make sure that you and your team are prepared. Find out some great tips and tricks from those in the business.
  • I Need Cash! – Funding Opportunities You Might Not Know About with Christine Anderson, Alex Hogan and Inga Lubbock.
    Increasingly businesses, DMOs, municipalities and event organizers and planners are looking for cold hard cash. Find out what funding programs are out there and how to make your application stand out.


Tourism Update Presentations & Agenda

Highlights of the Conference in Photos

All photos below taken by Allison Kennedy Davies
For more photos of the conference, visit the RTO7 Facebook page.

BruceGreySimcoe Tourism Conference 2015
Meaford Hall
In the early morning sun

Meaford Hall Theatre

Keynote Speaker
Frederic Gonzalo
Don Braden's Family was on hand, along with Patti Kendall, right, to accept the Charlie Kelly Award in Don's honour.  One of two Charlie Kelly Award recipients this year, Don was the former President of the Blue Mountain Village Association and was honoured posthumously.
Jeff Carver (r), owner of The Wismer House in Port Elgin, was the second recipient of the Charlie Award. He is shown here with award presenters Ross Kentner of Bayshore Broadcasting (award sponsor) and Paulette Peirol of Owen Sound Tourism.  Jeff received the honour for his tourism efforts in Saugeen Shores.
Bill Sullivan
RTO7 Executive Director
During his update presentation
Almond Farm Market
Meredith's Ginger Syrup
A delegate samples
Sheilas Sugar Sticky Sweet Stuff
Sizzlin' Restaurant, Meaford
Lunch Table
Outlaw Brew Co
Conference Committee (l-r)
Donna Goodwin, Simcoe
Amanda Pausner, Grey
Kim Clarke, RTO7