By Mary Tucker, Sr. PR/Communications Manager
As a talented professional with 25+ years in the industry, Ellen Schwartz, Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Los Angeles Convention Center, AEG Facilities, utilized her business experience to generate new opportunities for the L.A. Convention Center (LACC). She successfully networked, negotiated, and secured a total of 38 filming contracts in 2014 representing a total of $665,288 or 30% increase in filming revenue compared to 2013. Her efforts directly contributed to the $3.3M profit the LACC reported after the 1st year of privatization.
Ellen aided in the creation of a performance survey distributed to clients after their events, scoring an overall rating of 4.5 out of 5. In collaboration with the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board, the Sales department under her leadership saw the successful execution of 300 events in 2014, including 22 citywide conventions. She led the redesign, website mapping, and content management of the LACC’s website which showed an increase in users by 5,000 and an increase in page views by 20,000 shortly after its launch in September 2014. Her contributions also extend to successful financial improvements and social media outreach, all earning her the 2015 IAEE Outstanding Achievement in Marketing & Sales Award. Here, Ellen talks about transitions, teamwork and the satisfaction of her role with the LACC.
What is the most satisfying part about your role with the Los Angeles Convention Center?
I found the experience of transitioning the facility to private management to be extremely satisfying and rewarding. Although I had worked in private management for public facilities for 15 years, this was my first opportunity to work on a transition. We were able to make the transition extremely smooth and the results of our efforts in the first year were immediate. Now in our third year of management, the continued success of the operation is allowing operating funds to be reinvested in the facility.
What would you consider your crowning achievement so far in your marketing efforts for the LACC?
Two things – our new website and our social media success have been the crown jewels of our marketing efforts.
What has been your biggest marketing challenge with the LACC and how did you approach this challenge?
Probably, like most, our biggest challenge is budget. We get creative, do as much work in-house as possible and stretch our marketing dollars.
What is the biggest and/or newest trend you are seeing among convention centers in terms of marketing and sales?
Enhanced websites – interactive floor plans, virtual tours, etc. and increased attention on social media.
You directed the integration of social media with the LACC website and shaped its social media strategy. How do you keep up with this ever-changing medium?
I’m extremely fortunate to have an outstanding Marketing Manager, Vicky Karpilovich. Vicky has great instincts, is extremely tech savvy, strategic and results oriented. Vicky’s leadership is especially crucial in the social media area and her work has been fantastic!