“Event planning: a profession for the passionate”. Lecture given by Mr Gérald Duport, Commercial Director of Montpellier Events.


In mid-February, Montpellier Business School hosted Gérald Duport at a brand-new conference. Mr Duport is an events management professional with 25 years of experience, who has spent the last three years heading a team of 40 people as Commercial Director for MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions) at Montpellier Events! A fascinating look at the commercial profession within an event-planning organisation that captivated a whole year group.

In the changing world of events planning, with the arrival of important new players such as “e-exhibition” organisers, competition is tough, and so are the strategic challenges, particularly for regional areas. “As one of the most sought-after French cities for holding events, Montpellier is organising at least 500 occasions this year on four venues: the Arena, the Exhibition Centre, the Zenith, and the Corum/Conference Centre. And this success is essentially due to five factors: accessibility, hotel capacity, tourist appeal... And not forgetting the quality and size of its facilities, and the professionalism of its teams.”

And if some venues may seem easier to manage than others, this is not at all the case! “At the Exhibition Centre, 70% of the business comes from recurring events, whereas for the Conference Centre it’s only 20%. But it’s important to realise that, no matter the event, planning starts from scratch. So I can assure you that no two days are alike in this profession. And that’s why I still find it so fascinating.”

What challenges do commercial teams face? “The developer has to make clients want to rent out their spaces, but also want to sell services or food and beverages on-site. We don’t just sell floorspace – we also sell service! And as in any service profession, there eventually comes a time when prices may or may not dwindle. Depending on the demand, the supply changes, and so does the sales representatives’ job. If we plan everything right to optimise profitability, we reach €30 million annually. My sales team need to have a vision, to be enterprising and creative, and to be constantly reassessing the situation. They’re part of the future of events planning in Montpellier, with a vision for marketing, sales, and logistics, because not everything is achievable. Everything is prepared well in advance — we’re already working on events that will take place in 2021.”

Gérald Duport concluded his talk with some remarks about his teams. “The team is the key to our success. They’re the heart of our company. At Montpellier Events, I work with 40 people from 25 to 67 years old. What matters for me is enthusiasm and personality. We’re always looking for talent, for curious people who aren’t afraid of positive pressure. Some of your alumni have worked for us, and others are interning with us now. So don’t hesitate to come see us if you’d like to experience Montpellier Events with us!”

Find out more at: http://www.montpellier-events.com/