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Spotlight on Meetings and Conventions

Key steps to becoming a successful event ambassador

If you are part of an association, society, interest group or organization that regularly holds events, as a member you may volunteer or be called upon to become the ambassador of an upcoming conference or convention. Event ambassadors are experts in their fields that work with experienced planners to organize large-scale events, including the content, marketing and logistics. 

Nathalie Nault

But what does it take to become a successful event ambassador? We sat down with Nathalie Nault, Representative for Québec City’s Ambassadors’ Club, which is a joint initiative between Québec City Business Destination, the Québec City Convention Centre and the Québec City Chamber of Commerce and Québec International. Created in 1995, the Ambassador’s Club helps local event ambassadors to incite North American and international organizations to hold their events in Québec City.

Put together a multidisciplinary team

“When leaders in their respective fields take on the role of becoming event ambassadors, it is important for them to remember to surround themselves with a multidisciplinary team to organize their conferences or conventions,” explained Ms. Nault.

“Many event ambassadors are specialized in their specific scientific or business fields; they are not necessarily event planners. That’s why they need to partner with an organization or event planning expert to develop their bid for the event, promote their host city, obtain funding and, once the bid is one, hone out the content, marketing and logistics.”

“When leaders in their respective fields take on the role of becoming event ambassadors, it is important for them to remember to surround themselves with a multidisciplinary team to organize their conferences or conventions,” explained Ms. Nault. 

Craft an unforgettable pitch

Event ambassadors turn to organizations, such as Québec City’s Ambassadors’ Club, for guidance on all the steps it takes to organize a conference or convention. “Along with our partners, we help event ambassadors build a compelling, high-quality bid to create a wow factor with the decision-making body,” said Ms. Nault. 

“We present the host city, venues, local culture and history, travel and tourism information, and the top reasons why an event should be held in Québec City. We even go as far as obtaining letters of support from key members of municipal, provincial and federal levels of government. All of this information combined makes for a stellar presentation.”

Prioritize marketing and promotion

Oftentimes years in advance, an event ambassador for, let’s say an association, must travel to its various events in order to carry out a PR campaign to woo delegates into wanting to travel to a specific host city. “As event dates are scheduled two, three and sometimes even four or five years down the road, event ambassadors have a lot of marketing to do—both pre- and post-bid to get association members stoked on the event being planned.” 

Ms. Nault also recommends that event ambassadors work with marketing experts to ensure that they achieve their overall objectives in terms of boosting event registration, attracting sponsors and keynote speakers, and maintaining delegate engagement before, during and after the event. “Event ambassadors cannot never do too much marketing,” she added. 

Delegate logistics and focus on content

Logistics is another key aspect that event ambassadors must carefully consider. “We set up our event ambassadors with qualified event planners who will make sure that a) the event is carried out without a hitch and b) the event ambassadors can focus more on what they do best: creating their events’ content, networking with association members and potential partners, and working to attract renowned conference speakers and sponsors. As experts in their respective fields, event ambassadors need to create a partner ecosystem to ensure that their conferences or conventions are highly relevant, forward-thinking and innovative,” Ms. Nault said. “Event ambassadors cannot accomplish this if they are constantly bombarded with the logistics side.” 

Keep up with post-event networking and training

Once their events are done, many event ambassadors consider reliving the experience by organizing another event later down on the line. Ms. Nault explains that because the event industry and best practices evolve at lighting speed, event ambassadors who are looking to plan upcoming events should ask their event partners if they provide additional training. 

“For example, Québec City’s Ambassadors’ Club, allows its event ambassadors to remain members of the Club for up to two years after their initial event is held in order to network with other ambassadors, share tips with first-time ambassadors, and, if they are organizing a second or third event, participate in additional training. 

Ms. Nault’s final tips for experts looking to become an event ambassador? “Naturally, you need to have gumption, be well-structured, and willing to collaborate with event planning experts. But above all, you need to be extremely passionate about your field and your host city. These two passions are the secret ingredients to a successful event.”  

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