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Insider Events – GOHBA’s 2018 Housing Design Awards

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By: Erin Bellwood | Apr 17, 2019

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Basic details of the event:

Title: 2018 Housing Design Awards Gala
Date: October 20, 2018
City, Country: Ottawa, Canada
Host Venue: Shaw Centre

Organizing Team: Housing Design Awards Committee

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Number of Attendees:
555

Who was the target audience?
Members of our association made up of builders, renovators, suppliers and industry partners of the housing industry.

What was the main objective of your event?  
The event provides recognition and celebrates the exceptional achievements of our members in the residential construction/renovation/design industry.    It also offers our members an opportunity for publicity by raising their profile within the housing industry as an award winner.

What was unique/different about this particular event for you/your organization?
This is our largest event held during the year geared towards all members. This event draws between 550-600 members, giving our members a chance to mingle with many different businesses within our industry. The dress code is black tie and our only event to be held on a Saturday night. Our other events only draw 50-200 members, are held throughout the year and are geared towards the specific membership group within the association.

What was the biggest obstacle you/your team had to overcome?
The biggest obstacles we have had to overcome is the length of the Awards ceremony itself and finding hosts who are not boring, inappropriate or go hugely off script.

What was your biggest triumph?
The biggest triumph for the Awards Gala has been the growth, in attendance, participation and the profile within the industry in the last 5-10 years. The Gala went from around 300 attendees held at a smaller location to what it is today at the Shaw Centre. Submissions used to be done manually by cutting and pasting photos onto a large board to completely online. Programs were just a standard sheet folded in half and are now professionally done by a printing house. Judges were based in the area and perhaps biased, but now the judges come from across Canada and not based in the Greater Ottawa area. As for the Gala itself, since it has grown in size, we now have hired a production company to handle all the logistical requirements and have really enhanced the experience for attendees. As the Gala grows, we grow and evolve with it.

Did you do anything new or innovative? If so, how did it go?
Going completely online with judging and submissions has help create a smoother run process for organizers as well as companies who are submitting projects. Bringing the program into the 21st century has created many positive changes to the Awards program and Gala.

What challenges did you have putting the features together?
There are a lot of moving parts to organize and execute the Housing Design Awards. We rely heavily on several vendors, suppliers, volunteers and designers as such contract negotiations as well as meeting and maintaining deadlines can be difficult and trying at times.

What were some things that you improved on this year over last year?
We contracted our MC duties out this year and the host was new and improved for our members. With the MC allowing us to stay on time and on script we were able to shorten the program by 30 minutes.

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Note: All photographs were captured by JVL Photography

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Article compiled by Jill Garner,
Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada

Interested in having your event featured in an upcoming Insider Events article? Contact Jill Garner for more details.

Article edited by Darlene Kelly-Stewart, Stonehouse Sales & Marketing Services

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