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How Much Do You Really LOVE Your Job?

We hear it all the time in the meetings industry, "oh I love my job -- I get to travel, meet great people, stay at great hotels, not to mention the food...!

But do you love your job enough to be working when you are dying?  Enough to be showing up at work even though you've been told that you likely won't be around a year from now?

That probably gave you pause, didn't it?  I love my work -- most days -- but when my friend Jeremy told me early in the New Year about his diagnosis of peritoneal mesothelioma, I was shocked to hear about his illness, and even more shocked that he was choosing to continue to be on the job.

"If you only have a few precious months, just a year to live, why the heck would you want to be working??" I thought.

Well that is what's different about Jeremy.  He loves his work; maybe not all aspects of his job (I don't know really because I've never asked him in detail).  From what I see Jeremy gets to do what he loves and what he's really good at: talk to people, make them think, make them laugh, help them feel what is real and important.  That's just what he does in both his jobs.

You see, Jeremy is not just the Director of Sales for the Scotiabank Convention Centre.  He's also a Deacon in the Catholic Church.  I've never heard any of his sermons, but I've read his blogs and social media posts.  And we've talked about our faith, about stuff that you don't expect to talk about with a meetings industry colleague.

With Jeremy, what you see is what you get.

So he shows up, having made the choice to be living with a life-threatening illness.  He is not dying.  He is here, with us now.  Living and breathing.  A regular guy doing what he does as best he can and writing about it (check out his blog to see what I mean).

Come to think of it, it's probably not just his job he loves.  It's because he is doing his life's work.

I promise I won't try to be a mindless cheerleader, sending out platitudes about the reality you are living, Jeremy.  I can try to imagine what you are going through, but the truth is that I really don't know.  Yes and, I respect and salute what you are doing.

Carry on, my friend, because you are a living reminder that it's not just about the job, it's about our life's work.  We thank you for that.

Marriott Buys Delta Hotels - Initial Thoughts from #Eventprofs

The news hit the meetings industry like a bomb last week: Marriott Hotels and the B.C. Investment Management Corp. made public plans for the American hospitality giant to buy Delta Hotels & Resorts.

Still subject to approval by regulators until April 1st of this year, there was little doubt in anyone's mind at the CSAE Tête-à-Tête Show in Ottawa: the sale, most said, will go through.

Some of the show attendees I spoke with were saddened to see the "last true, pan-Canadian hotel brand" be bought out by a large American concern.  They had wanted Delta succeed on its own, offering an alternative to the big global brands, especially after Delta's hard-fought battle to re-brand and upgrade its facilities and services across its 38 properties.  Others felt that it was inevitable, "hotel management is really all about real estate these days," observed an association planner.

Some of the Delta sales reps I spoke with were quietly welcoming the news, especially those who have sales responsibilities in the US.  "No one knows what a Delta is in the US.  They think we're part of the airline!  This at least will give us credibility," declared one rep, clearly delighted at the opportunities this would also present to her professionally.

A seasoned site selection specialist heartily welcomed the announcement. She said she hopes that Marriott ownership will mean Delta will apply Marriott's rules about paying commission only to planners who have gone through Marriott's training and qualification program.

Officially both Marriott and Delta sales leaders say it's "business as usual" until April. And even then, they say, Marriott likely will keep Delta as a stand-alone brand.

Time will tell how Canadian meeting professionals will be affected by the sale.  What are your thoughts, Eventprofs?

#Eventprofs: Are You Marketing Like It's Groundhog Day?

Last week I returned from a major Canadian meetings industry show with a handful of business cards, having had a few good conversations, but no qualified leads to speak of.

Chatting with fellow exhibitors, I heard a similar refrain. Lucky for me, I own my company so I get to determine whether a particular marketing activity showed return that I'm satisfied with, or not.

Unfortunately my booth neighbours don't have that luxury. Whether they are hotels, destination marketing organizations or other meeting services firms, most of them report to a boss, a set of partners or a Board, none of which are usually known for risk-taking or innovation. Return-on-investment is constantly on their minds.

The problem with that of course is that most of my fellow exhibitors aren't free to really be creative, creating marketing activities that make them stand out. They are marketing like it's Groundhog Day.

They go to a show because the competition will be there. They attend an event because everyone else is doing it. Is it any wonder the meetings industry has become commoditized?

If we are doing things like everyone else, then we will be seen like everyone else. Just one big crowd of undifferentiated, indistinguishable set of vendors. (If you’re a true marketer, that’s a really *bad word*!)

Remember how Phil Connors (a.k.a. Bill Murray) broke out of his predicament and won Rita's heart in the movie Groundhog Day? Once he figured out he was in a rut, he took the opportunity he was given each day to learn a new skill, to exercise a new talent, to do things differently. In the end, it greatly improved his circumstances.

So, eventprofs, ready to break out of Groundhog Day?