Creating Meaningful Content
Leveraging Canada’s Knowledge Hubs When Choosing a Meeting Location
Does content really matter when selecting a host destination for your conference? You bet it does. In an ever-shrinking world, where more and more, planners are competing for their delegate’s attention, providing thoughtfully planned, content-rich event programming and opportunities for professional development and networking is more important than ever.
“Gone are the days where organizers only factor in dates, rates, and meeting space when considering a site for a meeting or convention,” says Virginie De Visscher, director of business development, economic sectors for Business Events Canada. “Today, organizers want to host their events in respected knowledge hubs. Thankfully, Canadian destinations offer world-leading intellectual capital across a variety of industries and planners are capitalizing on what we have on offer.”
So how do conference organizers capitalize on Canada’s intellectual capital? It’s as easy as connecting with Business Events Canada to facilitate introductions to local researchers and industry leaders. That’s what iMig Conference Manager Sukwhan Chung did when organizing the International Mesothelioma Interest Group conference in Ottawa last year.
“Ottawa did a really good job starting the bid, connecting with officials who spread the word to their own networks”, Chung says. Not only that, but “we saw a huge number of abstracts this year, which translates into delegates for us.”
Similarly, when the International Conference of Int’l Blood Transfusion took place in Toronto last year, ISBT organizers ran tours of transfusion labs and research centres at St. Michael’s and Toronto General Hospital – which offered so many parallel sessions, delegates had a hard time choosing which ones to attend.
Connecting delegates with researchers and industry leaders not only creates compelling content, but it also provides an opportunity for attendees to expand their professional network.
“Getting outside of a traditional meeting space, allowing for free-range learning provides the space people need to make connections on an individual level,” says De Visscher.
Another way to orchestrate such moments of serendipity and connection? Work with the host destination’s local ambassadors group, often associated with the city’s convention centre.
Take Montréal, for example. Not only is it one of Canada’s most alluring conference locations, but it is widely recognized as a knowledge hub for Aerospace, Life Sciences and Artificial Intelligence. 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.
"Conventions represent a privileged opportunity to exchange with our peers from all over the world, and they help push the boundaries of knowledge for our industries. These intellectual benefits greatly contribute to Montréal's international reputation," says Hany Moustapha, President of the Ambassadors Club.
Hosting events in destinations that align with your organizational mission not only provides delegates with first-hand insights into the latest innovations, but it creates opportunities for attendees to play an active role in the future of their industry. We like to think of this as “meeting with purpose.” You may call it next-level professional development.