From good idea to making it happen: Putting together a consumer show

* Translated from the article that appeared in the May issue of ExpoMag

People who have a passion for something, anything, always welcome the opportunity to share it with their peers at a consumer show. Attending conferences, going around gathering samples and literature, meeting fans or stars, and dressing up as your favourite character are all part of the fun associated with these collective experiences.

Often, when no such event exists, these same people set about creating one, which spells good news for consumer show fans everywhere! Whether it’s about being active, hobbies, or interests like the environment or the outdoors, all subject matters and new trends have the potential to trigger events that draw crowds.

Just as often, these future event promoters lack event planning and organizing expertise, so getting the right support becomes essential. Thankfully, help is available from a variety of sources, e.g. tourism offices, convention and exhibition centres, or service providers like audiovisual or decoration companies. Organizing an event is about teamwork, and the parties involved are always happy to play a role in the process of shaping a new initiative.


If you want your event to be well attended, it needs to be accessible. Based on the consumers you want to attract, determine whether you need to consider parking, public transit, or both! Will there be heavy or large-size items on the exhibition floor? If yes, find a venue with high ceilings and check the floor’s load bearing capacity. If you’re looking to organize a green event, make sure the venue is certified to provide green services.


Event space providers are often equipped with tools designed to shepherd new promoters through the development of their project. This includes information on the various steps of starting up an event. E.g. event promoters are required to be duly incorporated under provincial or federal law. Foreign firms must be duly registered in their country of origin. Starting up your event requires, among other things:

  • Determining:
    • when you’d prefer to hold your event (make room for a few options)
    • which days of the week
    • room requirements: how many and what size
    • room setup: theatre-style, classroom-style, etc.
    • the type of 10 x 10 booths
    • the estimated number of days required: setup, exhibition, takedown
  • Assessing the number of exhibitors – Defining the event’s structure:
    • Exhibition only
    • Exhibition with conferences/workshops
    • Exhibition with demonstrations
    • Exhibition with food concessions
  • Settling on a ticketing system:
    • No ticketing service
    • Onsite box office only
    • Onsite box office and online ticketing service
  • Reading and learning about the venue you are interested in, e.g. information found on their website
  • Determining your overall budget, including the venue rental

Using this as your general outline of the event you’d like to host, you can now move on to finding your venue, and when warranted, scheduling visits so you can scout the venues and pick the right one.


Once you’ve fleshed out the general idea of the event, found your venue and started the process of finalizing the programming, it’s time to tackle logistics and publicity. More specifically:

  • Ascertaining your needs in terms of:
    • services (rigging, plumbing, electricity, merchandise handling, etc.)
    • staff, i.e. greeters, coat check
    • internet (organizers, exhibitors, visitors)
    • audiovisual (projection, sound, etc.)
    • food services (organizers, exhibitors, visitors)
    • ticketing
    • visibility
  • Looking into sponsorship revenue opportunities

Sound planning is the key to booking an event without losing your shirt! There are many expenses to consider, but also numerous revenue sources you can tap into. Seize every opportunity out there. Renting the space in which to host your exhibition will definitely constitute your biggest expense. Make sure you ask which services are included in the rental fee. Often, the fee will include offices for the event’s promoter, registration or storage areas, building security and housekeeping services. Below are some of the costs that need to be factored in, by either the party renting the space or the suppliers working the event:

  • Labour for room setups
  • Rigging
  • Electricity hookups
  • Plumbing
  • Coat check
  • Security
  • Nurse’s/First aid station
  • Housekeeping (during and post event)
  • Telecommunications and internet services
  • Ticketing and greeting services (operating expenses and/or royalties)
  • Food and beverage
  • Audiovisual (microphone, screen, projector, staff, etc.)
  • Decoration (booth, handling, labour, etc.)
  • Parking
  • Lodging
  • Advertising and graphic design services
  • Speakers, host, spokesperson
  • Customs clearance
  • Transportation (deliveries, travel expenses, storage fees)

The list of expenses might seem long, but the range of possible revenue sources is also quite extensive, e.g. participant registration fees, signups for specific activities, booth rentals for exhibitors, sponsorship plan, merchandising, subsidies/grants or other funding operations.

Take the time to inquire about the advertising opportunities the venue offers. For instance, some venues are equipped with event technology organizers can use to not only promote their event but also sell ad space to sponsors and generate some serious income. Wi-fi access portals, dynamic signage, poster displays – a multitude of possibilities. All you need is a little creativity to provide both your sponsors and visitors with an exceptional experience. When you integrate sponsors and exhibitors in your communication plan, they become allies in spreading the word about your event to as many people as possible.



Once you’ve hammered out your needs and drafted your budget, next is making your event happen. Here, the support of a dedicated event manager assigned to your event by the event venue can make all the difference in terms of advising you throughout the logistical planning process. Your manager will liaise with team members and service providers to ensure everything runs smoothly every step of the way during the setup, the actual event, and the post-event takedown. Your manager also knows the venue inside out, so s/he will be able to recommend creative ways of using the event spaces at your disposal. Think of your manager’s knowledge of the premises as a Pinterest board you can draw inspiration and practical solutions from. Also, make sure the venue assigns someone to the exhibition floor during the event, to handle last-minute adjustments.


After the event, once everyone has slept a few hours, it is essential that you perform a thorough review of the experience and take stock of what went right and what could be improved upon, for the next edition of your event. Also, take the time to reply to the satisfaction surveys from your sponsors and suppliers, to give them the opportunity to improve how they do things as well. Proper feedback facilitates the process of tweaking your operations to better meet your customers’ needs.

Is putting together an event a lot of work? Of course. But the sight of thousands of visitors sharing a common interest and experience, eager for new information, instantly makes it all worthwhile. Teamwork, sponsors, suppliers – they all make everything so much easier. The support is there, avail yourself of it by developing ties that will foster success!


A colorful space for talking about death without taboos

salon-mortFor the first End-of-Life Trade Show, an event bringing together funeral industry stakeholders and end-of-life planning professionals, the organizers have chosen as their venue Palais des Congrès de Montréal, a cheerful space well suited to the exchange of ideas.

The 5,000 or so people expected to attend will have a chance to learn about a variety of end-of-life topics. Experts, presenters, and workshops will support attendees as they contemplate these sensitive but important issues.

Creating a backdrop to encourage openness and acceptance

Talking about death or even uttering the word can plunge us into a feeling of withdrawal or distress. The organizers are faced with the significant challenge of creating an atmosphere that will encourage people to share their experience and engage in informed dialogue.

To meet that challenge, they have tasked GES with decorating the various exhibition spaces, one of which is the ritual zone. Created with the show’s main partner, Urgel Bourgie-Athos, this zone will immerse attendees in five different environments to give them insight into the rituals of different cultures.

In addition, the Mémoria Wishing Tree, a giant structure measuring 12 feet in diameter and 15 feet tall, created entirely by GES, will give attendees an opportunity to write down a wish and add it to those of other attendees throughout the show.

Come and see for yourself on November 3 and 4. We have plenty more surprises in store.

See full details at:


The Montreal Vegan Festival Comes to Palais des Congrès

festival-vegan-enFor its fifth anniversary, the Montreal Vegan Festival is headed to Palais des Congrès de Montréal. The organizers of the exhibition, slated for October 20 and 21, 2018, have put their trust in the Palais experts for the event, which will bring together thousands of vegans, vegetarians, foodies, and anyone curious about a vegan diet.

The Montreal Vegan Festival has been a success since its very first year and has quickly become an event not to be missed. About 18,000 attendees are expected to come and mingle with some 155 exhibitors who will be showcasing the health, ethical, and environmental aspects of veganism. In addition, lectures and workshops are available to anyone interested.

You might think that a big-name sponsor must be behind such a successful event, but actually, all the credit goes to a group of about ten volunteers with a shared passion.

For Sabrina Watelle, the event’s general manager, it is important to make the exhibition as accessible as possible. That’s why admission is free to the public. In exchange, Watelle and her team are ready to work as many as 30 hours a week as volunteers, over and above their regular jobs, to make sure the Vegan Festival meets your expectations.

This public exhibition is proof that with a good idea and a strong team, anything is possible. Come and check it out! From now on, the organizers can count on our team of experts for support and advice.

For more information about the Montreal Vegan Festival:


A new stage for a show that stands “out”

Illustration about fishing.The next Montréal Outdoor, Hunting, Fishing and Camping Show will be the 58th edition—and the first to be held at the Palais des congrès de Montréal. It will run from February 14 to 17, 2019.

Year after year, this show offers a full spectrum of great outdoor activities and continues to transmit the passion for nature to many new visitors.

The Palais is very pleased to be hosting this popular consumer show and our team eagerly looks forward to welcoming outdoor lovers to their annual event.


5 interesting facts about the Palais des congrès de Montréal for show promoters

Show organizers have to deal with very specific issues and consider tons of factors when picking the venue for their next event. Since we’re always here to help, here are some key things you can automatically cross off your to-do list when you host your event at the Palais.

  1. The Palais is located in the heart of the city and is easy to get to. The nearby metro and train stations, and the 1,600 parking spaces, make attending a show here a breeze!
  2. Our event spaces are truly versatile. Need to display a helicopter, stage an angling pool or install a kitchen in a booth? Just ask our event managers — they’ve seen it all! With a little creativity, the possibilities are endless!
  3. Our Palais team and their official and exclusive suppliers thrive on successful events. Each step is meticulously planned and executed to ensure each event exceeds its objectives. Which explains why we enjoy a 93% customer satisfaction rate for the quality of our event support.
  4. Our event technologies are designed to incorporate sponsorship and advertising opportunities. Your partners enjoy added recognition, and you get to balance your budget!
  5. The client portal allows exhibitors to order their services online, anytime. Say goodbye to faxing forms, and hello to a simpler and more productive way of doing things!



Putting on a show for 35 years

The Palais des congrès de Montréal turns 35 in May 2018. Over the years, it has hosted over 1,400 consumer and trade shows, adding up to 163,000+ exhibitors and over 10 million visitors. This has helped generate over $1.8 billion for the Québec economy! Virtually every subject has been tackled, from serious issues to more unusual fare, including horse auctions, a gardening show, a sanitation fair, and the “Palais des merveilles” exhibition.

The first exhibitions happened the month after the Palais opened in June 1983. They were “Sous-traitance Transport 1983” and “Festival de la Photo 1983,” a trade show and a consumer show, respectively. Many are those that have amassed a very long track record of hosting their event at the Palais:

  • The most impressive is the Motorcycle Show: 36 editions between May 1983 and May 2018
  • Let’s Get Married: 34 annual shows at the Palais
  • Salon du timbre et de la monnaie: 36 times
  • Expo-Prestige: 31 editions

Consumer shows and trade shows are deeply entrenched in the history of the Palais and have provided visitors with many unforgettable moments.


A summer abounding in milestone editions

Cheers to the 25th Mondial de la Bière de Montréal!
From June 6 to 9, 2018, the Palais des congrès de Montréal will host the 25th edition of the Mondial de la Bière, an international beer festival. A Palais regular for the last 5 years, this unique event kicks off the summer season by attracting an average of 85,000 visitors each year.

Tastings, workshops and tours are among the activities on the menu, some of which are held outdoors on the Palais Esplanade. The nearby Place-d’Armes metro station is also a big advantage, allowing festival-goers to commute safely.

Let’s all raise a glass to the Mondial de la Bière!

Comiccon: 10 years already!
It started as a meeting of comic book collectors in a small room of the Palais, and evolved into a Comiccon that draws 50,000 people each year. What a remarkable journey for the Montréal Comiccon team!

The 2018 edition will mark the 10th year of this incredible achievement. Over the years, the Comiccon and Palais teams have developed a level of cooperation that has allowed the event to grow with each passing year and realize its full potential. Indeed, the event has occupied the Palais in its entirety since 2015.

To celebrate, guests appearing for the 10th anniversary will include legends such as Chuck Norris and David Duchovny.


Expo Manger Santé: A brilliant success

The 2018 Expo Manger Santé et Vivre Vert consumer show was a resounding success, drawing 25,000 visitors. Since 2002, lovers of healthy and natural food have been converging on the Palais every year to discover the products featured at the show.

Buoyed by last weekend’s turnout, the Expo and Palais teams are now busy performing their post-event review to plan for next year’s edition, and the even higher number of visitors it will inevitably attract.

Expo Manger Santé et Vivre Vert: the must-attend show for eating well!



Something for everyone!

Mid February to late April is the peak period for consumer shows, and 2018 will not disappoint the throngs of Montréal and Québec visitors! Over 115,000 people are expected to attend and check out the wide range of exhibitors lining the no-fewer-than eight shows on the calendar.

Participants can look forward to hundreds of exhibitors as motorcycling, RVing, outdooring, running and a host of other interests for all ages and lifestyles are showcased in a friendly atmosphere.

Dates Event
February 23 to 25, 2018 2018 Motorcycle Show
March 1 to 4, 2018 2018 RV Show
March 16 to 18, 2018 Salon de la course à pied de Montréal
March 23 to 25, 2018 Expo Manger Santé et Vivre Vert
April 7 and 8, 2018 Outdoor Adventure and Travel Show
April 14 and 15, 2018 Franchise Expo
April 20 to 22, 2018 National Women’s Show
Salon Carrefour 50 ans et +


Our Galeries du Palais shopping mall merchants, including the recently opened 3 Amigos resto-bar, are also eager to welcome visitors for a snack or coffee break.