Canoo race - event

Festival Steers Clear of Disaster & Improves Ops Thanks to Versature

The Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival is North America’s largest dragon boating event, offering free admission to multiple stages with world class entertainment, amusement attractions, extreme sports demonstrations, a variety of exhibitors, and non-stop racing. More than 200 teams compete in corporate, community, and competitive dragon boat categories drawing in spectators from near and far to witness the annual event.

As you can imagine, the seasonality of this business is huge. So what happens when an archaic phone systems succumbs to the pressures of doubling, tripling, even quadrupling call volume days before the grand event? Enter Versature.

Starting off the 2014 season, the Dragon Boat Festival, located in a downtown Ottawa office space, was using a Nortel phone system powered by Telus. But, during the festival’s off-season, phone lines were either under or over utilized at any given time.

In addition to the need for seasonal scalability, festival organizers had been experiencing a series of malfunctions and service interruptions with their current system. Inevitably, the system eventually suffered a major failure, just two weeks before this summer’s festival. Hundreds of volunteers, hundreds of thousands of dollars in pledges, and a line-up of world-class entertainment were all thrown into jeopardy.

Needing a quick and effective solution, the Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival organizers turned to Versature. Versature’s technical staff worked with festival organizers to have a phone system up and running in a matter of hours using an existing Internet connection. The speedy response and minimal downtime allowed the festival to stay on-track despite what would have otherwise been a significant crisis to the business.

After providing an immediate response to a disastrous situation, Versature’s Hosted PBX system continues to provide a number of other benefits to the Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival:

  • Scalability allows festival organizers to add an infinite number of seats for staff and volunteers as the annual event date approaches.
  • An Auto Attendant enables inbound callers to quickly reach relevant parties.
  • Advanced Call Analytics tools ensure all calls are being addressed throughout the year.
  • Surprise maintenance costs have been eliminated and regional or toll-free numbers are available, allowing the Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival to reach teams and sponsors from across Canada and the United States.

Festival organizers are also able to make use of a number of mobility options that come standard with the system. For example, event coordinators can now:

  • Forward calls from their office lines to cellphones.
  • Use LTE based Internet so that business phones can be used from the festival grounds – useful for ground operations sites.
  • Use a downloadable smartphone app to take office phones and features with them wherever they may be.

All features are completely reconfigurable at any time based on seasonality and changing demands. The Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival can now look forward to smooth sailing (or in this case, paddling) in the 2015 racing season thanks to the peace of mind provided by Versature.

The truth is, Versature’s team saved our year. We were 24 hours before moving onto our site for an eight day set up and every line in the office was being used when our old system packed it in entirely. Literally hundreds of calls and emails were coming in at the time and suddenly everything went dead. The cell phones were helpful however we could not even access our system to forward anything incoming and we needed a solution fast. Jonathon Moody and his team sprung into action immediately and within hours had an entirely new system installed and running. It was a miracle really. Thank you so much” – John Brooman, CEO/President, Tim Hortons Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival

About Sarah Dingman

Sarah Dingman serves as Versature's Senior Marketing Specialist, putting her experience in content marketing and digital strategy to work in a fast-paced tech environment. Sarah has 6+ years experience working in marketing, specifically within the tech industry, and is passionate about advancements in her field as well as her volunteer roles in the nonprofit sector, such as her position with LiveWorkPlay.