Vancouver has received two recognitions for outstanding marketing for a months-long campaign created specifically for the Professional Convention Management Association’s 2016 Convening Leaders Conference, held in January at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

In mid-October, Destination Canada’s Explore Canada Awards of Excellence honoured the campaign with the Most Innovative PR Campaign award. According to the judges, “PR for conferences is typically boring, with formulaic videos and social media that merely shares and retweets what attendees post. What made the PCMA Convening Leaders Vancouver campaign innovative is that they created an unusual (and adorable) video starring toddlers, and they used social media as a customer service tool, answering attendees’ questions and solving their problems.

On the same day, the B.C. chapter of the American Marketing Association recognized Tourism Vancouver and the Vancouver Convention Centre as a Marketer of the Year with the “Marketing on a Shoestring Budget” award for spearheading, planning and executing the campaign using minimal resources in a grassroots fashion.

The multidisciplinary campaign was created to help market PCMA Convening Leaders, a prestigious conference for meeting planners worldwide. The entire Vancouver hospitality industry rolled out the red carpet for 4,000-plus PCMA members with a select committee taking on the bulk of public relations and marketing. The committee implemented a number of tactics, including producing and distributing a fun “kids’ site inspection video” featuring children acting as meeting planners who inspected the destination pre-conference; using social media to post daily reasons PCMA members should travel to Vancouver for Convening Leaders; crafting VIP experiences across Vancouver for all attendees; hiring an agency to surprise and delight planners using “social media listening” tools; and more. The campaign resulted in more than 53,000 views of the kids’ video; editorial coverage in top meetings industry publications; and 13,500 visits to the Convening Leaders microsite, among other successes.