Virtual event case study: The Tourisme Montréal Holiday Party
At the end of each calendar year, Tourisme Montréal organizes a holiday party for its members. This is the biggest networking event of the year for the local tourism community. Last year, more than 700 people gathered at the Grand Quai for a cocktail reception to celebrate the successes of the record-breaking year that was.
This year, however, with the global state of tourism the atmosphere has been rather gloomy among the members. Still, we felt the need to "see" each other at the end of the year, even if it was not in the usual context.
What does a 2020 party look like?
We asked ourselves an important question: should we even have a holiday event this year? The answer was quick and simple. Yes! We wanted to host a holiday party for our members to spend time together, to remind each other of the faces of the people who make our industry shine, and to keep our community alive and engaged.
For an event of this nature, certain things had to be in place. Firstly, we wanted to offer a complimentary activity to our members, most of whom are facing huge losses of income. We were helped immensely by suppliers who offered advantageous partnership terms, eager to provide their own colleagues in the industry with a warm and enjoyable member's party.
Finally, we needed technical support, so partnered with FMAV. The audio visual and event technology company supported us in organizing the event and by hosting us in their studios.
Choose your own adventure
What’s a great activity to suit everyone's tastes? That’s a tough decision! There’s no singular activity that makes everyone happy. Therefore, we offered four choices to participants, who could select one activity among the following:
Mixology with Ateliers et Saveurs. Under the guidance of a mixologist, the participants learned a Montréal signature Christmas cocktail — red like the Tourisme Montréal brand — created especially for members.
Wine tasting with Ateliers et Saveurs. Participants tasted a Chianti Classico of their choice while discussing (with a sommelier) the main elements to be observed: at what temperature to drink your wine? How to serve it? What are the visual elements to recognize in the glass? (You can see all the Ateliers et Saveurs online courses here!)
Quiz activity with Randolph. Masterfully led by a Randolph facilitator, participants were assigned to random teams and were able to test their knowledge while having fun with colleagues in the industry!
Wellness activity. In collaboration with the award-winning 5-star Forbes spa at the Four Seasons, TraveL.I.C.E Agency curated a half hour of pure relaxation, featuring the learning of good posture, acupressure points, health advice, and the preparation of a “Zen” atmosphere. A generous way for the agency and for the Four Seasons to offer a moment of well-being to their colleagues who have been challenged by the last months.
This year was — as much as we hate to use the word again — unprecedented. Collectively, we found ways to pivot and to explore new ways of gathering. We could paint a merry picture about how *awesome* our virtual holiday party was. But the truth is that, when it comes to celebrating our members, our first choice will always be to host in-person gatherings. We want to be able to clink glasses and offer hugs and stand beside each other. That stuff is magic.
This year we innovated and came together in an alternative way, a digital way. We’re proud of what we came up with. We’re even prouder of our Montréal tourism community that continues to display resilience and optimism.
Here’s to a healthy and happy 2021!
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