My Profession? Business Tourism Event Designer

My Profession? Business Tourism Event Designer

19 September 2019

This article is the sixth in a series prepared by the Quebec Association of Convention Professionals (QACP). This sectorial tourism association participates in the growth of business tourism in Quebec by promoting alliances between actors in the field, developing strategic knowledge and business opportunities for the tourism industry.

Many professions can contribute to promoting tourism in Quebec, which helps a region’s economic development. Among these professions, there are different actors in business tourism event planning that ensure the smooth execution of corporate events, meetings and conventions. These include sales representatives, project coordinators and banquet teams. These three distinct departments are found in most establishments that host major events, such as convention centres and large hotels. All three are complementary and essential within the tourism ecosystem because they are the front line in a critical part of the industry – holding corporate events dedicated to business tourism.

Photo : One hundred business event planners gathered at the Hotel Le Concorde as part of the QACP annual business event in Quebec

From submission to the implementation of an event: real teamwork

When a planner is tasked with organising an event for their association, company or organisation, they will contact many different actors. From the project quote to the actual event, many stages involve the contribution of many different participants. How do these different stages function, and how do these three different departments operate? Let’s take a closer look.

Julie Beaulieu, sales manager at the Hôtel Le Concorde Quebec City, became addicted to sales and event organisation when promoted to her job two years ago. After 11 years working in this mythical establishment in the provincial capital, “she found her calling,” she confided.

“In all honesty, it was a revelation for me when I shifted to the sales department. My job involved discovering new event planning trends, meeting people, networking,” she continued. “To be successful, helping clients has to be natural. If you don’t care for the wellbeing and satisfaction of your clients, it won’t work.”

Of course, to be successful in a profession associated with sales and event planning, you have to be determined, a go-getter, someone who lives for challenges. And you need to love people and social interactions. The role of the sales manager is to lead their team to success, ensuring that each potential client is well-served and receives all the attention and information necessary when making their decision.

“The role of the sales department is to ensure that the hotel is full and as many events as possible take place. You have to know the hotel, the service offer. So it’s important to network and develop business. Once the contract is signed, the event and its details will be finalised by the coordinator, who will supervise the logistics and smooth execution. Finally, the banquet department will ensure the food and drink aspect. But in event planning, everyone relies on each other, and each department is complementary. It’s all about teamwork,” concluded Mrs. Beaulieu.

Jessica Fradette holds the position of event coordinator with Restos Plaisirs, the exclusive caterer for Le Concorde. She works closely with the hotel’s sales department, lead by Mrs. Beaulieu, and the banquet department, led by Mrs. Ève Dickson. Jessica ensures the smooth execution of corporate events held there.

“My position is in the sales department, but I also work closely with the banquet department,” explained Mrs. Fradette. “I am in the middle! When the client signs the contract, we plan the menu, logistics, needs, special requests, etc., and I work with the client until the first day of the event. The banquet department then takes over to handle the big day(s).”

From left to right: Ève Dickson, Julie Beaulieu and Jessica Fradette from Hôtel Le Concorde Québec.

To fulfill the role, you need to be patient and an excellent listener, and take client services to heart. “Clients need to feel they are in good hands, feel confident. You have to be responsible and on top of everything. My work changes from case to case, as each client and each event is different. But I have to treat a group of 40 the same way I would treat a group of 400.”

At the end of the corporate event spectrum, we find the banquet department, which ensures the food and drink aspect, and is the bridge between the dining room and kitchen. At Le Concorde, this department is led by Ève Dickson. She worked for many years in the restaurant industry before taking over the banquet department two years ago. “Restaurants don’t usually organise events, unlike hotels. The clientele is also different. In the hotel industry, our clients are not individuals but groups, so the service aspect is less personalised. On the other hand, we may often see the client three times a day over a three day period, unlike in a restaurant where the client will be there for a couple of hours. A different dynamic needs a different approach.”

The banquet department ensures everything is perfect for the arrival of the guests

According to Mrs. Dickson, to succeed in her profession, you need to be “passionate about service and the restaurant experience, because in the banquet department, we work closely with the kitchen, and I am always on the floor with the serving staff. I wouldn’t have understood how it worked If I had never worked in the restaurant industry before. You also have to have a basic understanding of table service.”

The key to success: Communication

Each week, the Concorde team organises a coordination meeting with the departments involved in event organisation – sales, coordinators, cooks, audiovisual staff and the banquet team. “That’s when everyone shares information and asks questions about each event. We see how each department can contribute to optimising an event,” explained Ève Dickson. “Each stage of the process is important. The sales representative first speaks to the client, and if they know what they want, the coordinators prepare a plan for the event, and the banquet team ensures the kitchen is aware of allergies, special requests, etc. When it comes time to serve, everything has to come out at the right time.”

Do you need to love the product you are selling to sell it well? Julie Beaulieu, sales manager, was nuanced. “A good seller can sell any product, but if you believe in your product, it can make a world of difference. You have to be proud of what you do.”

The Right Words to Say It

If you would like to learn more about business tourism, consult the Vocabulary developed by the Quebec Association of Convention Professionals (QACP), which standardises the terms used, communicates them to is a network of qualified organisations and professionals, and contributes to standardising the basic terminology in this business sector. The vocabulary is available at and helps differentiate business from leisure tourism. 


Ginette Bardou
General Manager
Telephone: 1-888-969-1307
[email protected]

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