Ever since Toronto’s 25th mayor, William Holmes Howland, coined the term “Toronto the Good” for his campaign the term has often been used as an earnest effort to call our city to greatness.
This blog post is a genuine shining example of efforts by the meetings industry to leverage it’s *significant economic muscle to embody “Toronto the Good”.
*(The meetings industry in Canada accounts for over 550,000 jobs and contributes over $32 billion to the GDP according to the 2007/2008 MPI Foundation study.)
Q. Denise, can you tell us about Tourism Toronto’s philosophy with respect to social impact and how it helps differentiate Toronto to incoming conventions and meetings?
For the past few years clients have been letting us know their desire to hold ‘green’ meetings and events and as the convention bureau we are able to deliver with the involvement from our members. As the destination marketing body for the area we
feel it is important to be on board both internally and externally with our own sustainable practices. The City of Toronto has many destination sustainability and environmental initiatives and together these are communicated to our Leisure and Business clients. We provide our clients with sustainable destination information by way of a green meetings micro-site and visitor/meeting planner guide, we conduct familiarization or FAM tours too many of the area venues carrying out sustainable practices. All of these initiatives contribute to making Toronto a more attractive venue choice for incoming conventions and meetings.
Q. In Member Care – What is your approach to gifting?
Motivation and incentive are our primary reasons for giving gifts. Our gifts are not meant to be a huge expensive item, merely to communicate value and incent members to engage. For example we often bring members together for meetings and might have a business card draw for a gift. We sometimes offer gifts as incentives to encourage members to engage certain programs.
Q. Tell us about how you came across the idea of Social Sourcing and why it appealed to you.
Candidly, I came across idea through the ZOË Alliance member spotlight and found it very interesting. In Member Care, we are budget sensitive and we don’t purchase many gifts at all. But when the opportunity came along, I wanted to go with a company that incorporated sustainability from a – z, environment and human/social impact. ZOË Alliance takes all into consideration, and under one roof, and I like that approach.
Q. How has the idea of social sourcing played out in implementation, what sort of response are you receiving?
The timing of our conversation is funny, just last week someone we gave the shoe bag to emailed me. She said at the close of her email “by the way, I loved the quality of that shoebag and I’m using it right now.” She was on the road in Miami.
The fabric lining choice lead to that, masculine and feminine all rolled into this one product. Having a company being able to pick up on all of that in one product is pretty cool and the quality is very well done.
We love the way it is packaged too, with the story card because it gives the message right up front to whoever receives the bag.
For me, because I am somewhat familiar with who ZOË works with, I just think it’s an amazing story and one that should be encouraged even further. It’s like drinking a cup of coffee from a fairtrade coffee vendor rather than somewhere else.
Q. What would you say to others?
For me its all about the gifting and incentives. In the grand scheme of our budgets it is not a major dollar value, but it is perceived as a higher value, and it is appreciated. It works for me because it makes a much bigger impression than the usual gift options.
I would tell others to give it a try, knowing what ZOË Alliance offers, I think there is great potential to take it even further.
Your readers could take some ideas from our experience and follow suit. It is a huge market out there and the more people who adopt this idea, the bigger the impact we will all achieve.