Working to Excel at Hospitality
Interview with Patrick McGriskin
You’ve got to hand it to all the folks who stage the events that draw visitors to our city. Take Manitoba Ag Days, Canada’s largest indoor farm show. This home-grown annual event brings in 45,000 visitors for a three-day stay — in January.
The six-day Royal Manitoba Winter Fair, started here in 1906, draws over 100,000 visitors, and the Brandon Jazz Festival, with over 4000 participants, are among several yearly attractions.
Community groups regularly bring in one-time events such as the 2017 Special Olympics Manitoba Provincial Summer Games.
For organizers, staging a well-managed event is crucial. That’s when others in the community join in making sure event tourism continues to be a successful part of our city’s economy. Among them is accommodation sector professional Group Services Manager, Patrick McGriskin:
As soon as September hits conferences and annual events are non-stop until April. Manitoba Ag Days is the biggest single event I do all year.
I like looking after the groups staying with us. Anyone can just sell a room, but I know the hotel like the back of my hand, so I can suggest options that will suit them.
If we have a family group, I can set up those with kids in rooms by the pool, and put the grandparents in a quieter area — these are the kinds of details groups appreciate because it enhances their stay.
I started full time in this job in November 2016 after working here at Clarion Inns & Suites as assistant Guest Services Manager for two years.
It’s also my job to look at ways to bring group bookings to the hotel.
I went to the Wedding Expo to see how we could promote the hotel. I came up with an idea and took it back to the sales team, we brainstormed it, and created a promotion involving the wedding party that gives the bride and groom a chance to win a trip to Las Vegas. It has paid off with a lot more room bookings over the previous year. And, it’s fun to make the call to the winners.
There are a lot of school sports tournaments held in Brandon so I market the hotel to the teams through our sponsorship plan.
I find out if there are construction projects or other business activities that bring in work crews from out of town, and make sales calls to the companies.
This job is right for me because I have the freedom to do the job my way. I have a lot of flexibility in my day-to-day activities and have set up an organizational structure that works for me.
I can also call on the sales team to help me with things like analyzing where we are in the market, developing promotions, and doing a yearly marketing plan.
I’m always trying to make sure everything runs smoothly but in this job I don’t get stressed out because I have confidence in myself and the team. I have diabetes and stress can make it harder to maintain my health, so having a job I really like is really positive.
— by Brandon Now