Montréal is undeniably one of Canada’s most dynamic destinations. Its French inspired culture and international flair are alluring to travelers from around the world. But what makes it a great convention host city? We tapped into three different meeting planners who recently hosted or are soon to host events in Montréal to find out what tipped the scales in favor of this city and why they’ve become raving fans of this uber-mod metropolis north of the border. Here are their six top reasons why you may want to consider Montréal for your next convention or event.
1.Safe Streets Offer Supreme Walkability
Montréal is one of the safest cities in North America, according to numbeo.com, with low crime levels and a perception of public safety rated as very high. That’s especially important to planners looking for a city that’s easily walkable for their delegates. Safety was a paramount concern when Christian Shalby, Executive Director of the International Institute of Municipal Clerks, selected Montréal for their annual conference in May 2017. “The city is extremely safe,” he says. “That’s so important, especially since 85 percent of our members are female.”
2. Delivering A Great Hotel Package
All three planners commented the ease of working with the city’s hotels and convention center. The Palais des congrès de Montréal, located in the heart of downtown, is connected directly to 4,000 hotel rooms, all through brightly lit pedestrian walkways. “The hotel package was ideal for our group,” says Robin V. Hayes, Senior Director, Conference Planning and Professional Education for the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association. During their conference this past spring, some 3,000+ delegates used six properties, four within walking distance of the convention center. “This meant using less buses, which saved the association on shuttling expenses,” she says. Montréal offers a large variety of hotel options at many price points close to the convention center.
3. Budget Friendliness
While currencies fluctuate, as of this writing, an American dollar will get you approximately $1.29 in Canadian spending power. Since 2011, the exchange rate has only become more advantageous for Montréal’s southern neighbors, making it a pretty safe bet your dollars will likely stretch further. “Because we are a non-profit,” notes Shalby, “the cost of doing business is very amenable to our budget.”
4. Destination Curb Appeal
Montréal has a certain ”je ne sais quoi” that has attracted travelers for hundreds of years. (The city will actually celebrate its 375th anniversary in 2017.) That certain “something” is likely the city’s vibrant curb appeal – an appeal that adds value in enhanced conference registrations. Robin Hayes would be inclined to agree. “When we held our annual conference in Montréal, we had record breaking attendance!” And Tricia Fechter Gates of the ACPA-College Student Educators International 92nd Annual Convention, was drawn by the city’s cultural appeal, and the opportunity for their attendees to soak it all in. “We were very close to Old Montreal, which provided numerous great experiences for our attendees,” she says. That destination appeal can also equate to pre- and post-convention travel says Hayes. “Montréal is also a great destination for families, with attractions, like museums, historic sites, shopping districts, plenty of entertainment.”
5. International Accessibility
Planners can sometime shy away from opportunities to meet in an international destination, but Montréal is an exception to that rule. Most major U.S. air carriers offer daily flights to the city, and its location makes it an easy flight, particularly from the Midwest and the Eastern Seaboard. “My staff was able to find reasonable non-stop flights less than 8 weeks out from the conference,” says Fechter Gates. And if flight affordability is a main concern, a quick check revealed dozens of flights into Montréal at roundtrip fares that ranged from just $300-$500, even from West Coast destinations. That ease of accessibility could help planners expand their presence in the global community.
6. Meeting Success Is A Team Sport
Montréal may be famous for their NHL hockey team, the Canadiens, but ask any meeting planner, particularly the three that we spoke with, and they’ll tell you the team that most matters to them is the one that’s devoted to making their meeting experience simple, efficient and successful. More than positive reviews, our three planners fairly raved about their experiences with the team at Tourisme Montréal. According to Christian Shalby “Tourisme Montréal has been an excellent partner.” Said Fechter Gates of her experience, “Fantastic service from Tourisme Montréal, from the bid process through the end of our event.” And not to be left out of the rave reviews, Robin Hayes noted “They were very knowledgeable and their customer service was awesome! They contributed a great deal to the success of our conference.”
SEE ALSO: 3 Tips For Turning Your Next Meeting Into A Can’t-Miss Event
Montreal By The Numbers
If you’re looking for a great conference experience, in a destination that delivers for your delegates, consider meeting in Montréal. A recent research study showed that planners who have held meetings in there rate the city and the CVB among the top in the world. Still, if you need more reasons to consider Montréal, consider this - post event surveys showed a 94% satisfaction rate with the city. The numbers can’t get much better than that.
This informative article was brought to you by Tourisme Montréal. The cosmopolitan, multicultural and multilingual city consistently ranks as one of the top destinations for international meetings. Explore the Tourisme Montréal meetings blog to find out why the American Bar Association, National Women’s Studies Association, World Social Forum and other organizations are choosing Montréal for their events.
Photos credits: Tourisme Montréal - Shanti Loiselle, Frédérique Ménard-Aubin - Festival International de Jazz de Montréal