No beating around the bush – Montréal is a leading location for hosting events, beloved both by planners and attendees (and we’ve received a few swell awards for the mantelpiece this year to back that up). One of the joys of our job keeping tabs on the Montréal event scene is the opportunity to attend many of the events we write about, and 2018 will go down as a banner year thanks to the five trends we’ve noticed marking events today.
Diversity is key
In 2018, we sang along to Ariana Grande, marking a year where women made major impacts on the local start-up scene and as part of Montréal’s groundbreaking Artificial Intelligence sector. Queer Tech MTL and Lesbians Who Tech made waves with events that have grown in size since starting in 2016, and the Queerness & Games conference returned for its fifth edition, bigger than ever. Finally, major conferences like C2 invited trans VIPs like Chelsea Manning to hold court on the main stage – a trend easy to spot in international events.
Technology at centre stage
The prevalence of technology at conferences without question, via custom made apps and unique networking tools like wristbands and nametags that transfer information at a touch. (We also had the chance to meet the first robot celebrity Sophia, making a stop in Montréal on her world tour). But at this year’s Robocup, over 5,000 robots took over the Palais des congrès de Montréal both inside and out, with nearby streets buzzing with self-driving cars in a fully-immersive experience for attendees that proves the future is now.
Creativity first and foremost
No doubt about it, we live in the Experience Economy where attention spans need entertaining in order to keep engaged. This year, we noticed an emphasis on on-site group projects from hackathons to cookie baking to sets of keywords, and the effect on keeping attendees inspired was palpable.
Attendees love events that appeal to all five senses, and an up-tick in mindfulness and wellness is setting the new standard for events. On-hand barbers, massage tables, relaxation stations and makeup artists leave attendees recharged and ready for the next round of presentations and networking – looking good, and feeling even better. Giving back to the local community is another trend worth investigating, broadening the impact of events both large and small.
Turn up the fun
The meetings of 2018 are not the meetings of 1998, and between presentations and meetings it’s become time to turn up the excitement. In no time it’s become not uncommon to spot the suit and tie set ziplining over the Old Port, relieving some stress in rage cages or engaging in a game of Harry Potter’s Quiddich. Here’s to 2019 – we’ll meet you on the bubble soccer field!
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