Why Montreux

By Karin Subert Hagemann, Head of Markets & Convention Bureau, Lausanne Montreux Congress

Many destinations have been heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. How is Montreux currently dealing with this crisis?

The Swiss government has taken necessary health and safety measures that are regularly adapted to control and prevent the spread of COVID-19 within Switzerland.

Montreux has a long history of hospitality and we work hard to keep this tradition going. A big advantage of being a small destination is that we have a very close relationship to all our partners and the government which makes it easier to get the conversation going and adapt to the new circumstances with the constant uncertainties.

Already in April when there were still meeting restrictions, we obtained an exception from the government to host the 45th Ordinary UEFA Congress, the annual meeting of Europe’s football parliament gathering 200 people in the Montreux Music & Convention Centre – 2m2c which was a success.

Since then, we have been working with our key partners to align our strategies while keeping health and safety our main focus to reassure and accompany our clients to maximise the success of their meetings and congresses.

How do you think COVID will change our industry, and what measures can be taken, in your opinion?

The Meetings Industry was highly affected by COVID-19, but the industry is resilient and has been constantly readapting to adjust to the new challenges. The pandemic forced organisers to rethink the purpose of their meeting or congress to reshape it and try out new formats. Virtual and hybrid are here to stay, but so too are face to face meetings. These formats are not in competition with each other, but complement each other depending on the purpose of the meeting. Now more than ever, purpose, legacy and sustainability are top priorities for organisers which is the reason why destinations need to be ready for those needs to offer real value and solutions to the organisers.

Did you know, that…?

… You “own” the city when you come to Montreux with your congress. Montreux is the ideal size if you don’t want to get spread out in a big city: you have everything within a 15-minute walking radius, from the convention centre to the hotels, the train station and the city centre. This proximity and the beautiful setting along the lake with views of the Alps make the journey from the hotels to the convention centre a perfect networking platform for delegates to connect.

… Everyone staying in a hotel receives the Montreux Riviera Card which offers free public transport in the region and many discounts to local attractions.

… ‘We all came out to Montreux, on the Lake Geneva shoreline...’ is the famous song Smoke on the water by Deep Purple telling the story of a fire that broke out in the Casino in Montreux 50 years ago. And this is just one of the many stories that Montreux has to tell.

Where to meet?

Montreux’s leading event venue is the Montreux Music & Convention Centre – 2m2c which expertly accommodates meetings and conferences, and also hosts the world-renowned Montreux Jazz Festival each July. The 2m2c features 18,000 square meters of event space and 23 meeting rooms between two connected glass-walled buildings designed to take full advantage of the views of Lake Geneva and the Alps. Event spaces include the 1,800-seat Auditorium Stravinski which is famous for its exceptional acoustics.

Within a 30-minute radius, in Lausanne, two other convention centres complete the offer of the region: SwissTech Convention Center and Beaulieu Convention Center. For special venues for your gala or other events, the Chillon Castle, the Olympic Museum or the Casino are the highlights of the region.

Where to stay?

Montreux Riviera offers a great diversity of hotels with more than 2,500 rooms in all categories, 1,000 of which are located centrally within a short walk from the congress centre.

On a broader spectrum, the region offers 6,000 rooms. In the past few years, Lausanne’s and Montreux’s hoteliers have invested heavily to ensure their business customers are ideally served, with an abundance of conference rooms and accompanying high-tech facilities, designed to make every event truly memorable.

How to get there?

Located in the centre of Europe, Switzerland is easily accessible by plane or train. Montreux’s closest airport is the international airport of Geneva, with direct flights to over 140 destinations, that is located a beautiful one-hour train ride away. Montreux can also be reached in 2.5 hours from Zurich Airport. Both airports have a train station onsite which makes the train the best way to reach Montreux.

Do you offer any special services/assistance for associations?

We offer a number of free services:

• Research of suitable locations with tailor-made suggestions
• Bid support and assistance in creating your bidbook
• Hotel room block reserved for your event
• Connection with local partners
• Organisation of site inspection
• Assistance with selecting a DMC /PCO
• Promotional material at your disposal
• Social programme ideas and tailor-made advice

Personal recommendation/insider tips?

Make time to enjoy your surroundings. Montreux Riviera can be referred to as Switzerland in a nutshell, as in less than an hour you can have it all: a wine tasting in the breathtaking UNESCO World Heritage Lavaux vineyards, a snow experience on Glacier 3000, a cruise on the lake, a visit of one of the many museums or sites of the region such as the Chillon Castle or Chaplin’s World by Grévin to name just a few.

My personal favourite after a long day at work:  enjoy a nice dinner and a glass of local wine in one of the many restaurants and watch the sunset over the lake with the Alps in the background.

Whom to contact?

Karin Subert Hagemann - Head of Markets & Convention Bureau
+41 21 962 84 27