The Barrie Examiner 2013

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Event Planning
Ruby Sky unveils online event-management system
by Andrew Philps

 

Ruby Sky Event Planning Inc. staff Nicole Craddock, Cerry Hansen, Julie Peden (seated) and Kristin Hosie are pictured in their Barrie office. Andrew Philips photo.

A Barrie-based event organizer has added a new tool to help its clients.

Ruby Sky Event Planning Inc. recently began offering an online event-management system that takes the hassle out of conferences for both organizers and guests.

Ruby Sky chose Cvent, the world's largest software provider of cloud-based event-management solutions, as its online platform to increase attendance and decrease costs for events. Cvent's software streamlines event planning and management allowing organizers to focus their time on strategic decisions rather than repetitive tasks.

"We implemented this web-based tool for our own use and then saw the opportunity to share it with other corporate organizers who have similar needs," says Julie Peden, COO of Ruby Sky, a full-service, event-management company specializing in the management of meetings, conferences, special events and travel incentives throughout Canada, the USA and the Caribbean.

"We are proud to introduce R-Sky, a tailored version of Cvent's event registration solution which can be customized to match individual branding guidelines while providing attendees a hassle-free way to sign-up. The event registration websites are even mobile-friendly for added convenience.

Peden, who has been in the industry for 21 years, started Ruby Sky 10 years ago.

"I wasn't going to advance any further un-less I chose a larger company," Peden says, adding she considers herself both entrepreneurial and someone unafraid to take risks.

"At some point, I realized I had to venture out on my own. I've been on both sides…the corporate side and the planning side."

The company now employs three other full-time workers along with a part-time bookkeeper and three additional contract staff. Her husband John troubleshoots IT issues as they arise.

The name is a play on Peden's favourite colour (red) and the concept "the sky is the limit."

Peden says the industry has changed a lot since when she started out.

"It's ever-changing," she says, adding clients are very cost conscious nowadays and want businesses like Peden's to offer most, if not all, services in-house.

"Clients seem to be becoming a little more savvy. They want to know what is your talent in-house. We just made a very big investment in Cvent."

Peden likes to keep a roster of about 10 clients that will continue to grow with Ruby Sky. Some of her current clients include Loblaws and TD Bank.

"We've had hundreds (of clients) over the years. We always strive to bring clients on that aren't one-offs."

Peden says the true benefit of using an event planner like Ruby Sky occurs the year after the inaugural event.

"We can make recommendations," she says, pointing out that perhaps the venue or timing of the event is off.

As for Ruby Sky's new Privacy Act-savvy software tool, R-Sky not only captures the necessary information to confirm workshop choices, create accommodation lists with roommate selections and schedule flights according to individual preferences, it does so with customized invitations and websites that mirror corporate colours and logos while highlighting event themes.

The program also has multiple registration paths (available in English and French) so each registrant sees only pertinent questions and fee options – and then enjoys a secure environment for payment processing.

Because the program was set up by industry specialists at Cvent, R-Sky provides coordinators with comprehensive flexibility to manage and track all aspects of their events with access to real-time reports.

Once the event actually begins, Cvent's program also facilitates on-site registration and generates name badges. Afterwards, it produces certificates for continuing education credits, which is especially important for those with designations to maintain.

"R-Sky takes human error out of the equation and allows event organizers to manage a great deal of data efficiently and effectively," adds Peden, who leverages Cvent's capabilities to further her own company's mission.

For a full list of Ruby Sky's services, please visit www.rubyskyeventplanning.ca

Email info@rubysky.ca
Phone 705-721-8881 / 1-855-262-6505