Robert Mercure named President and CEO of Palais des congrès

Robert Mercure assumed his new position as President and CEO of the Palais on September 4. A well-known figure in the international tourism community, Mr. Mercure has extensive experience in the hospitality industry.

“It is with great pleasure that I return to Montréal after 11 years at the helm of a Québec crown jewel, the Château Frontenac. First and foremost, let me say that I absolutely love Montréal and its energy. Our city is known for its joie de vivre and as a place where any idea can spark something big to be added to an already rich slate of events, exhibitions and festivals. Montréal is a city of opportunities, and we are fortunate to be able to count on the creativity and drive of passionate people like you to make it such an exciting spot.

I come to the Palais with a headful of new ideas. As you know, the exhibition market is in the midst of a transformation, and staking your claim now requires the ability to generate surprise, think outside the box, and provide visitors with a genuine experience. Let’s be bold together! Our seasoned staff is eager to hear your daring ideas, and they will work alongside you doing everything they can to make them happen. Creativity is a gem that helps events grow, and we are ready to contribute to your success.”


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:


Changes at the Palais: Renée Langlois takes over from Catherine Paul!

Renée LangloisThe Palais team would like to congratulate Renée Langlois, recently named Associate Director for Business Development. Ms. Langlois has worked at the Palais for the last six years and has plenty of experience in event management. She is now responsible for exhibition accounts.

“We have the tremendous privilege of working with loyal customers who are well known for their creativity and drive. Helping them succeed is a pleasure for me and my team,” said Langlois.

The exhibition market alone generated $47 million in tourism dollars for Montreal and the province in 2017–2018!

After serving as Associate Director for Business Development for eight years and a total of 15 years at the Palais, Catherine Paul has decided to take on new challenges in her career. We wish her every success in her future endeavors. During her time at the Palais, she saw 729 public and private exhibitions come and go and impressed her co-workers with her ability to bring people together and her can-do approach. Thank you for everything!


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.


Prestigious multisector strategic taskforce set up to attract even more international conferences to Montréal

The Palais des congrès de Montréal has assembled a group of leaders representing eight of the city’s key economic sectors to form a new Multisector Strategic Taskforce. Their mission will be to establish ties with influencers who will actively contribute to attracting major international conferences to Montréal and the Palais des congrès.

Among the members sitting on this prestigious taskforce are:

Louise M. Benoît, president of Aéro Montréal Frank Béraud, Chief Executive Officer of Montréal InVivo
Mathieu Charbonneau, Executive Director of CargoM James J. Clark, Professor at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering of McGill University
Fabrice Labeau, Interim Deputy Provost, Student Life and Learning, at McGill University Marie Larue, Chief Executive Officer of the Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail
Maryse Lassonde, Scientific Director of the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Nature et technologies Serge Marchand, Scientific Director of the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé
Louise Poissant, Scientific Director of the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Société et culture Gilles Savard, Chief Executive Officer of IVADO

The role of the vastly experienced leaders who make up the new Multisector Strategic Taskforce will be to develop and nurture ties with researchers, scientists and business executives who might be inclined to actively participate in the process of bringing large-scale international gatherings to Montréal. They will be able to mine their networks for topnotch collaborators and match them with specific conferences.

Conferences advance science
Montréal is widely recognized as a knowledge hub. The city attracts international conferences that enable local researchers and experts to interact with peers who have travelled here from every continent. The Palais des congrès de Montréal works very closely with its Ambassadors and partners to advocate for the major sectors driving the Montréal and Québec economy.


Experient Supplier of the Year Nominee

The Palais’ event managers work as suppliers to numerous professional convention organizers (PCO) throughout the year to set up their events at the Palais. They develop working relationships and form one-off teams to contribute to the success of the event.

To recognize the outstanding job done by their suppliers who continually goes above and beyond, Experient, a global meeting and events management company, has developed the Supplier of the Year award process. The Experient Supplier of the Year Awards are based on several criteria:

  • Making an extraordinary contribution to Experient and their clients’ success
  • Displaying outstanding character and integrity
  • Displaying ongoing excellence in their job—responsiveness, problem‑solving skills, etc.
  • Sharing in our vision of continuing to perfect the event experience by demonstrating continued excellence in their job

In 2017, our very own Karine Plamondon was nominated for the title. Here is what an Experient team member had to say about Karine’s work:

“I have had the pleasure of working with Karine three different times over the last 10 years. Each experience has been exceptional, she is more than willing to go above and beyond for you and your group. She completely understands who Experient is and respects the relationship we have with our clients. Every convention center has their own unique rules and regulations and the Palais des congrès is no different. What makes them different is having a convention service manager like Karine to personally walk you through these regulations and help find ways to make them work for your individual groups. She makes sure all departments are giving high levels of customer service, helps negotiate internal costs in order to stay within the client’s budget, and is a great resource when contracting external suppliers. It is very rare to work with the same individual each time you return to a location (especially over a period of 10 years) but that is what I have had the pleasure of doing. I love knowing that when I return to Montreal, I’ll be working once again with a great partner and dear friend!” – Kim Rhodes, Senior Meeting and Event Manager

Congratulations Karine and keep up the good work!



Creation of the Multisector Strategic Taskforce

We can never stress this enough, but hosting international conventions enables Québec’s entire scientific community to shine internationally. Over 30 years ago, the Palais introduced its Ambassadors Club to help attract and hold these events in Montréal. Your involvement is vital so that Montréal may continue to be the Number One host city in North America for international conventions. You make a difference.

We recently announced the rollout of a Multisector Strategic Taskforce, whose members will represent eight of the city’s economic sectors:

  • Health and life sciences;
  • Natural and engineering sciences;
  • Energy and the environment;
  • IT and AI;
  • Transportation and logistics;
  • Aerospace; and
  • Workplace health and safety.



A new image

When Andrée-Anne, Marc-André or Marie-France from the Palais’ business development team meet with prospective Ambassadors, first impressions are crucial. They need to quickly pitch the importance of their involvement and the quality of the support from the Palais they can look forward to every step of the process. During that crucial introduction, the prestige associated with attracting a conference to Montréal needs to be conveyed in the bat of an eye.


The Club recently gave its visual brand a makeover, with a new logo and an updated version of its explanatory leaflet. Cleaner, prestigious, distinctive and contemporary, the new image projects the powerful strength of those proudly involved in the Club.

The Ambassadors Club page on the Palais website has also been redesigned to include new content, like a videoclip featuring Ambassador Fabrice Labeau delivering a firsthand account of his experience.