Conference Design

An Event With A Purpose – MTL Reunion

19th November 2020

Is your association all caught up with everything technology has to offer for your next meeting? Are you perhaps the kind of association that pays more attention in what a destination itself has to offer, even at times of the pandemic? What if you can get the best of both worlds, i.e. make full use of advanced technology for your virtual events all while benefiting from local academia, business, research and innovation? Montreal and its number one conference centre, the Palais des congrès de Montréal, seem to tick all the boxes on the list.

Words Vicky Koffa

The way associations meet and exchange knowledge may have been altered radically due to the medical crisis, however the true value of what an event is all about has remained unchanged. Bringing the right event to the right place, where delegates can find useful relevant networking and business opportunities and tap into the innovation provided by the chosen destination, is still the true goal. 

Montreal has always taken pride in being a city of innovation and creativity in various sectors, with imagination leading to research and eventually to ground-breaking discoveries. International travelling restrictions have not allowed many associations to witness this first-hand, but the Palais des congrès de Montréal is proposing the next best thing. Combine that with its in-house technology and flexibility for virtual events, like the Palais Média Propulsion, and its Palais+ business restart program consisting of worry-free event organising and hosting packages, and you end up with a tailored solution for all needs. 

In-house Event With International Appeal

On 28 October the centre’s team organised a major virtual event on the premises, the MTL Reunion, combining online and in-person attendance. The aim of the event was for everyone to become acquainted with Montreal’s capabilities both in technology and knowledge and to get major influencers and organisers from the industry to speak about our new reality and the future of events. 

MTL Reunion was an international hybrid event aimed at reinventing our industry. It brought together event organisers and international associations from all over the world. The day’s conferences addressed the current state of the industry and aimed at finding new ways to do events. It was a spark of inspiration to help restart business and demonstrate that the events sector can transform itself,” said Robert Mercure, President and CEO of the Palais des congrès de Montréal.

The Palais des congrès de Montréal technology is at your service:

  • 90 vibrant 55-inch HD screens
  • a 90 sq. ft. video wall
  • ImaginActionTMimmersive multimedia technology for dynamic presentations
  • the ability to use your digital tablet (such as an iPador Android) instead of a laptop for presentations
  • more than 600 internet access points and MTL WiFi service

The convention centre saw a gap in the industry as far as virtual events and the future of events goes and decided to portray what it can offer while providing a free of charge platform for information and ideas sharing. Mercure explains that “the Palais des congrès de Montréal decided to use its expertise to rethink how we do things. MTL Reunion was also an opportunity to raise awareness about hybrid events, which everyone is talking about, without necessarily knowing how they work.”

Renowned names from the industry and local innovative entrepreneurs – take James Rees, President of the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), Carina Bauer, PDG of IMEX Group, Sherrif Karamat, CEO of PCMA and Andy Nulman, co-founder of Just For Laughs comedy festival, for example – were invited to talk about topics like the future of conventions, the sustainability and inclusivity of innovation and even the state of aviation in Canada. 

“What mattered to us was to address the whole community of stakeholders involved in major events, and in the process share the Montréal experience, a city known for its creativity. We firmly believe that all participants benefited from this and felt reenergized by all the new ideas,” continued Mercure. Indeed, the topics were to everyone’s interest and left participants with renewed incentive on what’s to come for our industry and a wealth of information about the true use of virtual meetings.

Mission Accomplished

The Palais des congrès de Montréal used this initiative as a response to the danger of idleness this pandemic is bringing upon the meetings industry. A reunion of this calibre could not but be a wake-up call and a rekindled motivation for event organisers, especially coming from a destination like Montreal which has a great deal to deliver.

“The purpose of MTL Reunion was to help the industry get back on its feet, and not be afraid of changing how it does events in order to adapt to today’s reality. Since we managed to revive the flame in the minds of event organisers and give them ideas that will help them rethink future gatherings, we consider this mission accomplished for the Palais,” Robert Mercure concluded after the event.

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