Association Insights


Top 3 Hacks for a Stylishly Themed Corporate Event

Oct 24 2016

Content provided by Québec City Business Destination

As an event planner, we’ve all been there. We’re organizing a convention, tradeshow 
or corporate event and we’re asked one of the most catch-22’s of them all: what’s the theme?

We hear you. From 80’s parties to The Great Gatsby ambiances to James Bond missions, themed events are touch and go. Go overboard and attendees can view your event as the ultimate in kitsch. Tone it down to subterranean levels and event goers will feel underwhelmed at best.

Trends abound with the usual suspects in terms of event themes (think sports, casinos, masquerades). However, have you thought about a theme based on your event’s location? Most probably. But have you

also considered going beyond the clichés for a truly authentic experience? Let’s take a look at how you can craft an engaging and genuine destination-theme event using Québec City— and its unique culture—as an example.

1. Get past the marketing hype

Destinations are often tagged with two or three core stereotypes. Think of major locations around the world. A few evocative images may come to mind. However, it’s imperative to dig deeper and understand the true heritage of your host city.

Québec City tip

Québec City is known for having a rich history and French culture and buried in snow for months out of the year. Many planners do pull off wonderfully themed events based on the undeniable allure of Québec City’s past. However, this is only the tip of the iceberg (pardon the pun). The city’s culture has also been influenced by the four seasons, the British and Irish, and smorgasbord of other influences. In a nutshell, talk to your destination’s local representatives for the inside scoop into other, more little-known facts that may surprise delegates as much as the obvious standbys.

2. Tap into what’s trending now, with a wink to the past

Immersing delegates into what attracts thousands of visitors each year is one way to start. But for a class act and to really get delegates’ attention spans a-flutter, try to combine the past with the future.

Québec City tip

Our culture is steeped in tradition and history. It’s something to be proud of. Nevertheless, we are blossoming into a major metropolitan hub. What does this mean? For example, everyone associates Québec City with poutine and maple syrup which is so, well, eons ago for native Quebecers. This is not to say you shouldn’t dish up real-deal poutine and maple syrup (many of us even pair it together, we kid you not), but there are so many other delicacies that can be enjoyed. For example, at the Hilton Québec the culinary master offers reinvented flavors, marrying innovative recipes with the freshest ingredients.

3. Look for idiosyncrasies

Those je ne sais quoi facets that are brimming with potential for an event organizer with a creative mindset, sleuthing skills and gusto. A host city’s idiosyncrasies, not readily glaring from the pages of a tourist guide, can be anything from a hip new district that nobody but the locals know, quirky event venues that command attention, or activity that is not quite readily available anywhere else.

Québec City tip

Québec City offers an eclectic mix of intimate and original venues as well as versatile spaces to fit you’re your needs such as the Québec City Convention Centre. activities and neighborhoods for event planners to blend into their programs. Want to hold a cocktail reception in a church, we’ve got that. Want to spend a night in an ice hotel? Done! Aiming for your delegates’ adrenaline rush with dogsledding or white water rafting? Check! From the venue to the décor to the fare to the entertainment, you need to strike a delicate balance that plays with the local culture and heritage, which enables attendees to discover a location with fun and class. Avoid outright clichés, particularly with conventions and conferences, that can negatively impact the credibility of your event. Be open to speaking to locals, even if they are not intimately involved in your event and, when possible, spend a few days during your site inspections to soak in the local vibe. And remember, while all travel experiences are technically authentic, you can definitely up the ante to make them truly one-of-a-kind.