Normally flooding with conferences and exhibitions on-site, the Palais has managed to keep its prestigious meetings going, online this time. From early on, the centre focused on promoting its offering for hybrid events to its clients. Event rooms are reconfigured to comply with 2-metre social distancing measures, while meeting rooms could be set up in advance and equipped with audio-visual gear by the official providers Encore et GES, in accordance with their MeetSAFE program. As Robert Mercure, President and CEO of the Palais des congrès de Montréal, puts it: “The Palais is not a convention centre, but a solutions centre. The innovative initiatives we are rolling out are intended to help clients adapt to the new reality while providing their participants with experiences that are positive and typically Montréal.”
A broader audience, easier access to speakers and exhibitors and post-event reporting and statistics are just some of the digital advantages of holding a hybrid event at the Palais des congrès de Montréal. In a successful effort to stand out, the Palais has raised the bar technologically creating the Palais Média Propulsion.
“Palais Média Propulsion is a service designed to make it easy for clients to create compelling audiovisual content. Organisers looking to broaden the reach of their event and tap into digital opportunities can avail themselves of the various options the service offers. Based on their objectives, we will be able to recommend different solutions and rent them our brand-new state-of-the-art studios. We’ve created inspiring spaces, such as a studio modeled after major television production sets to provide events with unparalleled on-camera presence, and also a mini studio for interviews,” explains Robert Mercure.
But the on-site presence of delegates and preparation for going back to full-scale live meetings has also been a priority. Responding to the safety challenge, the centre has made PROGRESS, i.e. the Palais Reopening Operating Guide to Running Events with Safety Standards. A secure greeting process, contactless interactions, the highest standards of cleanliness and improved food and beverage are a few of the new procedures in place guaranteeing maximum safety.
A traditional major advantage of holding an event in Montreal has always been the close collaboration of all stakeholders of the region. This might prove difficult in a digital meetings world, but the Palais has managed to keep such synergies as close as ever. Mercure says: “One of the strengths of Montréal is the synergy that exists between the tourism industry, the business community and the academic milieu. We’ve stayed in touch with our partners from the outset of the pandemic and have worked together on developing health and safety plans, as well as strategies for restarting business.”
In fact, to help spark the restart, “we’ve put together the Palais + program – a set of packages for hosting events worry-free and confidently. This unique offensive will enable organisations of all types to hold their events in spacious rooms reconfigured to accommodate distancing rules,” adds the president.
With the help of its experts, the Palais is in position to offer successful hybrid events. As a matter of fact, this coming October 28, the Palais des congrès de Montréal will be hosting MTL Reunion, a hybrid event that will bring together players from all walks of the events industry. “We’ve invited the industry’s leading thinkers, influencers and organisers to talk about our new reality and the future of events. It will be an inspiring experience that will give everyone the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the huge potential of hybrid solutions,” concludes Robert Mercure.