134 135 Paladin Security is Canada’s largest privately-owned, full service security company and proud partners of the RBC Convention Centre. Discover the Paladin Difference TEL: (204) 927-1200 1420 – 220 Portage Ave Winnipeg, Manitoba first weekend in January and remains extreme- ly busy into the first week of July. Most of the summer is relatively quiet, then business com- mences again at full speed right after Labor Day weekend until the week before Christmas. Lahr has a tongue-in-cheek answer to the angst people have about the bitter weather in Winnipeg: “Cold winters are not unlike the sum- mer heat in Arizona. In winter in Winnipeg you go from your heated house to your heated ga- rage, drive your heated car to a heated parkade, take the elevator to your heated office, and at night you reverse the flow. Not unlike what you do with air conditioning in Phoenix in the sum- mer. In other words, take your pick.” As for competition, there are numerous ho- tels in the city with large banquet and meeting facilities, but the RBC Convention Centre is the only publicly-owned convention centre. The rea- son for expansion was to increase capacity, and now they’re working very hard on bookings. If 2016/2017 is any indication, they’ll be up to full capacity in just a few years. Lahr says that the rise in demand since the expansion is “unbeliev- able. We did not anticipate that demand would build this quick. Business is very brisk.” Fads are prevalent in the meeting, convention and exhibition business. In the ‘90s, computer shows were big events that grew like flash fires and then disappeared. Now, it’s Comic Cons and Anime Cons that are trending - RBC Convention Centre has four Comic Con shows a year that RBC CONVENTION CENTREWINNIPEG attract from 12,000 to 35,000 attendees each. Lahr notes that community involvement is important to the whole Convention Centre team. “We’re very much involved with non-profits such as soup kitchens and Habitat for Humanity, and many philanthropic organizations. We partici- pate in, donate to, and volunteer at all kinds of fund-raising events. We have also established a close relationship with the Aboriginal communi- ty, and it works both ways. We’re proud to have Aboriginal art collections exhibited in the Cen- tre for all to enjoy.” To help maintain their highly-rated service reputation, the Convention Centre has engaged “guest experience management” experts from the Syer Hospitality Group. The Centre’s guest surveys consistently place satisfaction levels for customer service in the low to high 90s, but having spent over $180 million on an expansion – and going for more and bigger business – they refuse to let the quality of service suffer. Syer is training everyone – Lahr, the executive commit- tee, department heads, supervisors, right down to the absolute front and heart of the house employees to provide a superior level of guest service. From a green perspective, Lahr states, “Our ex- pansion made us a LEED Certified Silver build- ing, as far as the mechanics. On a day-to-day basis, we compost our food, recycle glass, paper, cardboard, and building materials, i.e. when we remodel we donate usable building materials to Habitat for Humanity to sell in their ReStores. We also embarked on a building program with Manitoba Hydro to replace all lightbulbs with LEDs. That is completed, and saves us over $100,000 per year on electric bills. So, we’re very proactive in that area. It’s an interesting field, just when you think you’ve done it all, it starts from scratch again. “To sum it up, we are a major player of the downtown scene. A major employer in the down- town area. Our economic return to the City of Winnipeg is over $62 million per year. Our return customer base is very high, our satisfaction level is extremely high for the industry. We’re known for our quality of food and beverage and service. What else can I say? Except, there is always room for improvement.” n Paladin Security PREFERRED VENDOR