Fate played a part in the planning of Destinations International’s Annual Convention in Montreal in 2017 as the destination marketing association went through a complete rebrand from its former name of DMAI.
“The decision [for us to meet in] Montreal was made by previous leadership, but there was no doubt the city would ensure a hugely successful convention for us,” says Colleen Phalen, CMP, CEM, executive vice president of program management and meetings at Destinations International.
More than 1,400 CVB and destination marketing professionals gathered for the three-day event in July at Palais des congres de Montreal, which has 550,000 square feet of meeting space and is designed with rainbow-colored, floor-to-ceiling windows (undoubtedly the world’s most colorful convention center).
Both the opening and closing receptions were held off-site to allow attendees to experience Montreal’s diverse culture and history, says Phalen. “Even under threat of rain, we knew we wanted to hold our opening reception in the Old Port so attendees could have the view of the Old City and experience the true sights and tastes of Montreal,” she says.
With any international destination, there are concerns on travel logistics, but Phalen says it was a breezy process for her event. “Montreal is a world-class city and is experienced in dealing with events from all over the world,” she says, noting a customs broker was on hand to make sure attendees had no trouble getting in. “I strongly encourage any planner to meet with the CVB to avoid any issues with shipping, customs or travel,” adds Phalen.