The Importance of Face-to-Face Networking in Business Tourism

The Importance of Face-to-Face Networking in Business Tourism

14 January 2019

In an era when we can solve almost anything from a distance using video conferences or Skype (yes, technology is increasing the distance between physical people), how can we maintain quality client services that rely on proximity?

In this context, offering personalised service is even more important, and personal meetings should be even more relevant. A recent study by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) notes that effective marketing strategies need to meet the needs of every individual in an organisation. This is even truer when the goal is to invite them physically go to a business meeting. Yes, they want to attend. All you have to do is convince them!

The most difficult goal for event organisers is ensuring that the meeting achieves the business goals of their guests, “and that they feel that the experience was productive and allowed them to reach several specific goals.” Since we know that 74% of people attending a business event make this choice by themselves, it is even more important to personalise approaches. But it is critical to organise events that are relevant. More than half (57%) of business professionals consider face-to-face meetings the most important factor that can have an impact on decision-making. Keep this in mind.

The last Business Marketplace, which is organised each year by the Quebec Association of Convention Professional (QACP), took place at the Sheraton Centre in Montreal on December 5th. This event, which takes place twice a year (in June in Quebec City and in Montreal in December) promotes meetings and exchanges between convention organisers and members of the QACP from business destinations around Quebec.

It is one of the few events of its kind in the industry. But it still makes clients and QACP members happy, as they can get information, network and maintain their business relationships.



The Importance of Networking

Alain Gascon, from Vélo Québec, is a regular participant at the QACP’s Business Marketplace. Each year he organises the Randonnée Vélo, and he uses this event to make new contacts and maintain business relationships. “I love the event’s formula. In a few short hours, I make new contacts and I like meeting other organisers to talk about our strategies and ideas.”

Nancy Mcpherson, Hotel Fairmont’s Regional Commercial Delegate, is a repeat participant during the Business Marketplace as a member of QACP. She thinks that it is important to network to help each other out. “Based on the size of an event or its budget, I may have something that will meet the needs of clients in one of my other regions (Editor’s note: the delegate represents the regions of Mont-Tremblant, Montebello and Richelieu), but maybe not. I need to know what is happening in the business. You can’t see other members as competitors. You have to trust your product and help each other when we can’t meet a client’s needs.”

Paulette Lalande, Event Coordinator for the Quebec Association of Furniture Manufacturers, used her time at the Marketplace to “shop” for her next convention site. “My convention takes place each year in November, and our members like to discover new locations. There are always new hotels, other that expand or renovate…an event like this let’s me get informed and also maintain my business relationships.”

“What makes people travel to conventions is the following, in this order-the conference topics, dates, and then the site,” she stated. “People are increasingly busy, it has to be interesting for them to attend and they like to combine what is useful with what is fun,” she added.

Mrs. Lalande said it perfectly! Conference speaker and author Daniel Lafrenière concluded the event with a 60-minute presentation talking about the importance of “client services,” reminding attendees that clients normally choose an individual before a company.

“An event like the Marketplace is a unique occasion for companies! In marketing, the most difficult stage is establishing a relationship of trust with your brand,” she explained. “By attending an event like the QACP Marketplace, this completes the ‘typical’ marketing cycle. 1. I know the brand. 2. Can I make a deal now? Additionally, 3. You get an interactive experience for the client, where they can ask questions and see if someone has everything to meet their needs.”

While new technologies meet certain communications needs, marketing experts recognise that personal interactions are worth their weight in gold.

Nothing can really replace the trust relationship that develops through human contact. So, while businesspeople like to reduce their travel through things like videoconferencing, they will travel when they feel that the face-to-face networking is a win-win situation.


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 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. 

This text is the third in a series prepared by the QACP, the sectorial tourism association that participates in the growth of business tourism in Quebec by promoting alliances between actors in the field, developing strategic knowledge and creating business opportunities for the industry.


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

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