Dear Hospitality Community,

As the chair of the BC Hotel Association, it is my pleasure to acknowledge the success of this week’s BC Tourism and Hospitality Conference.
So first let me say thank you to the 800 plus delegates, 29 sponsors, 16 session hosts and 63 presenters who joined us over the four days of our virtual event. Every single person who participated in whatever fashion was largely responsible for its success. If you were one of them, we are deeply grateful for your support. We all spend our lives these days on Zoom, so seeing so many of you, our industry attend so many sessions and stay engaged was very rewarding.
Less than three months ago BCHA and TIABC decided to join forces to host a combined 2021 conference in the belief that in spite of the ongoing challenges related to the pandemic, our industry would welcome and frankly deserved an event even though we couldn’t get together in person as we usually do. After having to cancel the 2020 BCHA Summit, we believed you would gain insights and appreciate us bringing the industry together, and your wonderful feedback and comments certainly confirm that.
As we considered potential session topics and speakers, it became clear that we had enough content to fill an entire week…albeit via a format of successive presentations rather than attempting to balance multiple concurrent sessions. Our goal was to allow attendees to select from a broad range of sessions from Monday to Thursday and build their regular work schedules around the various presentations. Surprisingly we averaged approximately 250 people per session over the course of four days.
In our post-event debrief yesterday, the BCHA and TIABC teams talked about a number of things we learned and would perhaps adjust if we hosted another virtual conference in future (which we have no plans to do). For starters, we determined that three days would have been enough given zoom fatigue and how stretched people are for time. We also agreed that three sessions in a row starting at 8:30am and ending at 1pm would have been sufficient. We also acknowledge the lack of a marketplace and an ability to network was a restriction due to the virtual nature of the conference. Next year will be different and in person!
We acknowledged the importance of having a professional audio-video services company to manage the technical logistics as opposed to attempting it on our own. Even so we experienced some technical glitches and awkward transitions that are inevitable for any conference let alone an entire event online. I trust our attendees, sponsors and speakers cut us some slack in that regard.
We expect to meet in person a year from now, and we are really looking forward to being in Prince George for the Tourism & Hospitality Conference 2022. At that time you can expect a full lineup of excellent workshops, outstanding speakers, fantastic social events, a gala awards ceremony, robust sponsor exhibits, networking, pre and post excursions, and so much more. We are excited about it!
If you attended this year’s BC Tourism and Hospitality Conference, we’d like to hear from you. Drop us a line, send an email or text, or even post your comments through our respective social media channels. We’ll also be sending a post-event survey that we hope you’ll fill out with honest but respectful answers and comments.
Let me leave you with a note from one of our delegates who said the following:
I just wanted to send a quick note of congratulations on an excellent conference. I must say I was a strong proponent of only doing the two days, but I couldn't get enough of the content and attended at least 80% of the sessions. The sessions ranged from very good (7/10) to exceptional (10+/10).
On behalf of the BC Hotel Association, thank you for your support once again this year.
Allow me to also thank the presenters for today’s bonus set of workshops which I know were well received. We had to upgrade our zoom platform due to the high number of attendees!
Finally…a huge shout out to our team who worked so hard and so diligently behind the scenes to pull off the most successful BC Tourism & Hospitality Conference 2021.

Bryan Pilbeam
Chair, BCHA