Lydia Blanchard, 27, works in Ottawa, Ontario, as sales manager at Fairmont Chateau Laurier. As a 2017 40 Under 40 honoree, Blanchard discusses her passion for the events industry.
What I do: I turn moments into memories for guests of Fairmont Chateau Laurier (a historic, four- diamond luxury hotel in Ottawa, Ontario) by managing group bookings in the Greater Toronto area for corporate and association market segments, and the international association market segment. It is my personal mission to help meeting planners achieve successful events by providing them with a unique and inspiring venue and customized accommodations.
How I got here: I started my hotel career as a switchboard communications operator at Fairmont Chateau Laurier, back when I was studying theater at University of Ottawa. In that role I got to know about the different departments in a hotel, and when I learned the sales and marketing department was all about people and events, I knew I wanted to pursue that as my career. I began working my way up, gaining experience at various properties around the Ottawa area (WelcomInns, Holiday Inn & Suites Downtown Ottawa, Minto Suite Hotel and NAV CENTRE) before returning to Fairmont Chateau Laurier to join their sales team in September 2016.
My greatest career accomplishment: Receiving the MPI 2016 RISE Award for Young Professional Achievement is one of the greatest honors I have received.
Impressive stats: In my current role and past positions, I have consistently exceeded my revenue goals and room night targets. Most notably, I had a revenue goal of over $6 million at one of my past properties, which I accomplished within my first year. At another past property I nearly doubled the ADR for the SMERF market segment from what it was when I started at the venue.
A specific improvement I’ve made: In my role as vice president of communications on MPI’s Ottawa Chapter board of directors, I have learned how to use social media in a strategic way. When I started in my role at Fairmont Chateau Laurier last year, I made a point to be as engaging and insightful as possible on my own social media accounts to benefit the company through my circle of influence.
What I’m working on: In 2017, Canada celebrates 150 years as a nation, so Ottawa tourism is buzzing with excitement. We are all working together to host 12 months of immersive festivals and events, like Red Bull Crashed Ice, the JUNO Awards, Interprovincial Picnic on the Bridge and more.
What I do outside of work: I volunteer at Ottawa Food Bank and love playing baseball (and cheering on the Chicago Cubs). I enjoy Shakespeare and other live theater. I dabble in photography, especially when I travel, and my favorite pastime is huddling around a blazing campfire with friends.