By Senik Events.
Planning events in a region where you may not speak the language or understand the culture can be a great challenge. Even if you know people on the ground and have connections, you can still find yourself stuck with small details that can become huge obstacles. Quebec, for many planners, is one of these regions.
Cultural differences, signage, permits, insurance, liquor and staffing laws, even vehicle requirements can be sources of frustration. It always makes sense to have a local partner who can be a resource. The amazing team at Sénik Events has created a cheat sheet to help you navigate some critical points when planning events in Quebec.
Do it Right From the Start.
You absolutely need someone with strong French knowledge to work with you from day one. This counts most for your suppliers. Many subtleties from both parties can be lost translation due to people not being used to speaking a second language. If you do not fully understand each other, you may get an unwelcome surprise when the trucks start offloading, and it’s not what you ordered.
Don’t Underestimate the Importance of French.
Quebec is a distinct society, and its language is its profound core. People are not necessarily bilingual here; most Quebecers know English, but not enough to be considered fluent speakers. But don’t worry; small gestures mean a lot to your French-speaking guests. They love it when someone abroad makes an effort to speak their language.
It has been said Quebecers are a bit biased toward their own products. They LOVE when eating or drinking something that was sourced locally, plus it is best for the environment, so it’s a win-win. Many regions have their own specialties; Quebec is no different, so inform yourself about the products and cultures of where your events take place and try to use them as much as possible.
Audacity is OK
If there is an event you have always dreamed of organizing, you may have a chance to organize it in Quebec successfully. Creative-wise, event clients in Quebec are very permissive about audacity.
“From our perspective, the clients in Quebec are essentially very open to the creative risk, and creativity standards are much more elevated than we see in other markets-Sébastien David, Co-Owner and President of Sénik Events.
Think About Logistics
Quebec is a very large province, and its population is concentrated around Montreal and Quebec City. If you have to execute events throughout the province in a very short time span, you will need a local support team who knows the region and can help you navigate transportation and logistical issues. Urban centers in Quebec have sometimes separated hundreds and hundreds of kilometres, and the weather may be different. Consider a local expert, even if it’s just a consult, and sleep easy knowing you have a thorough plan.
It’s well-known in the Canadian event industry that everything in Quebec costs about 30% less than the rest of the country. If you call a Montreal hotel or caterer, and they give you a price similar to what you’re used to, do not book it; get another quote. However, remember that taxes are about 15%, higher than in many provinces. Consider the overall expense sheet, and you will see Quebec is a fiscally viable option for large conferences and events that are not regionally driven.
Legalities in Quebec may vary from your province. For example, no event can run past 3:00 a.m.; it’s the law. Also, you need multiple permits depending on the size of your party and what you are going to serve. If holding an event outside, add on a few more permits and if you are in a public space…keep adding. The task of getting permits may be very puzzling for a first-timer, so be sure to ask all the right questions and, again, consider hiring a consultant to help you get through it.
Trust Your Vendors
Also, Quebec suppliers like to help each other, and it’s in their nature. Like planning an event anywhere, work closely with your suppliers; make them a part of your event. If you need something specific that isn’t on their task force, ask them about their contacts; the Quebec industry is small, and you may be surprised how well you can find great partners through word of mouth.
No Time Outs
The party atmosphere is very important in Quebec. If you want to hold festive events, you may want to arrange them to be fast-paced, without any slow and silent moments. Even if it’s a simple award ceremony, your event should always have something distracting at all times: music between presentations, shows of lights, music, and so on. Quebecers do not like to sit still and idle. Research the culture to find out more about how to achieve success for your guest experience.
About the Author
With headquarters in Montreal and Quebec City, Sénik has led the event industry for 15 years. The company specializes in creating executing cultural, corporate, and institutional events and works with clients large and small in Quebec and across Canada.