Partner feature: Planners Plus
Meet Riel Dion, Owner and President of Planners Plus
Behind every successful meeting or convention is a knowledgeable meeting planner; finding the perfect match is key when it comes to reaching your event’s goals. Winnipeg has a diverse range of event management firms, including Planners Plus. Meetings Winnipeg caught up with the company’s president and owner, Riel Dion for tips, local favourites and background on how his firm can best assist.
What sets Planners Plus apart from other event and convention management firms?
Planners Plus is in good company when it comes to event and convention management firms in Winnipeg. Each of us has carved out our very own niche in this service industry, and when we all do our jobs in planning amazing events against the backdrop of our incredible city, everyone wins.
Planners Plus is, above all things, innovative in its approach to providing the best event possible for its clients, their delegates, and sponsors. We believe that there is always a better way to do things, at the best price possible for our clients. In 2016, Planners Plus assisted in the development of new registration software, which provides multi-integrated registration options and scenarios for delegates, sponsors and tradeshow (exhibitor) registrations, all in one convenient registration, and at a very affordable price. Planners Plus is honoured to have been part of this ongoing, and constantly evolving, Winnipeg-based e-project.
Planners Plus also sources out the best suppliers, and work extremely well with the host hotels and Winnipeg top destination venues across the city and surrounding communities. In 2016, Planners Plus has also expanded its reach to hosting events (or providing support in English and in French) to events and associations all over North America.
What should customers consider when selecting a third-party meeting planner?
When selecting a meeting/conference planner, a prospective client should have a full and appreciated understanding of what that event management firm brings to the table. Is the firm’s support staff knowledgeable? Are the event coordinators/project managers skilled individuals with industry knowledge and connections to key stakeholders? During the life cycle of an event, conflict and tension can (and often do) arise. Is there an integrated conflict escalation plan to help put things back on track?
Perhaps one of the most notable elements of any great event is an event management firm’s ability is to deliver amazing service on budget. This is where (I believe) Planners Plus prevails. Under no circumstances do we mark-up third party supplier invoicing, nor are we incentivized to accept commissions that could go straight to benefitting the client’s budget. Our clients can be assured that when it comes to managing their event, they are involved every step of the way – Planners Plus doesn’t spend a dime without prior client approval. Planners Plus also provides a set service fee structure that does not change once a project or event is underway. That way, there are no surprises, and the budget predictability factor adds comfort and confidence to any client’s event. During the interview process, a prospective client should always confirm bill/invoice payment processes with the event management firm, to ensure that there aren’t any hidden costs once an event is complete.
What is some of the feedback you’re hearing from clients after hosting a meeting or convention in Winnipeg?
Winnipeg has become a hotbed of conference and meeting activity since key destinations like The Forks, Canadian Museum for Human Rights, Assiniboine Park Zoo’s Journey to Churchill attraction have surfaced and reinvented themselves. Add in the cultural flurry of Winnipeg Folk Festival, Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival, Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, as well as major sporting teams like the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, the Winnipeg Jets, the Winnipeg Goldeyes and Winnipeg Valour FC, and Winnipeg is the destination location for any conference or event. As a result, I’ve heard how Winnipeg far surpasses expectations when it comes to the city being a must-see destination. Any preconceived notions about Winnipeg are quashed when they visit the bustling and “so much to do” activities Winnipeg has to offer. I've had some delegates reach out to me months after an event - telling me they're coming back to Winnipeg and inquiring about what other things they can experience in the city, and in the province.
In your opinion, what makes Winnipeg a unique destination for events and conferences?
Winnipeg is an “all of the above” option destination location for anyone looking to host their event. It is the geographical centre of North America, and it has all that other major urban centres in Canada have to offer.
On top of that, the continual renovations and upgrades of convention centres in Winnipeg, like the expanded RBC Convention Centre, the Victoria Inn Hotel & Convention Centre, The Marriott’s acquisition of the Delta Winnipeg Hotel downtown, and the newly minted Club Regent Casino Hotel, all give conference-goers even more incentive and options to bring their events to Winnipeg.
Where can we find you out and about in Winnipeg?
My guilty pleasure spot is The Common at The Forks, which is a craft beer and wine bar. No matter what time of day, The Forks is always teeming with people, both local and visitors. The addition of its new 250+ person outdoor patio is a great meeting place for couples, families and just about anyone who is looking to spend a lazy (or very busy) Saturday afternoon. There’s always something to do, someone to meet, and things to experience at The Forks.