A coffee with Monique André de la Porte
During this new monthly agency profile series, you get to know the team behind the Utrecht Convention Bureau (UCB) over a fresh cup of coffee. What drives them to promote Utrecht Region as a congress destination? And what does their daily routine look like?
We kick-start the series getting to know Monique André de la Porte, our experienced Account Manager and spokesperson. Just a few months after the founding of the UCB on September 27, 2010, Monique started her journey promoting Utrecht to international congress organisers. She is personally responsible for the international growth and development of the Utrecht Convention Bureau as we are today.
What can you tell us about your perfect morning brew?
"In the morning I always need some time to get the internal engine running. A good coffee is a very essential part in my morning ritual. I prefer a traditionally brewed filtered coffee - black, no sugar."
What is your most memorable congress or event experience?
"There are too many nice memories and experiences, but what left a lasting impression on me was an exclusive conference dinner with over a hundred guests organised in the central hall of De Haar Castle, a venue which is not easy to secure."
Tell us more about your role
"As an Account Manager it is my job to put Utrecht Region on the map as an international meeting, congress and business event destination. Pre-corona, you could rarely find me at the office behind a desk. I was constantly on the move: travelling around the world to participate in exhibitions and forums, attending congresses and summits, connecting organisers with partners and institutions in Utrecht Region, welcoming international conferences and their delegates, guiding site inspections, and so on. I've learned a lot in the past 10 years. I’ve met so many great people, built up an enormous network and still feel a growing passion for my role and for Utrecht Region. However, I could not have done it without the great support of my colleague and our Project Manager Liza, my rock in the surf."
What are you currently working on/towards?
"Covid has hit the MICE-industry right in the heart. Most events have been postponed or cancelled. We hope that from 2022 onwards, international events can take place LIVE again (or at least hybrid) and that we can welcome delegates to our lovely city and region again. To do so, we currently mainly try to maintain our network, stay in the picture of organisers, attend online exhibitions and network events, assist in bid-procedures, and connect organisers to partners."
What accomplishment of the Utrecht Convention Bureau are you most proud of?
"Very difficult to say, there have been so many nice accomplishments over the years. The establishment of Hotel Service Utrecht in close cooperation with HOST hotels, the growth in amount of international congresses and the rise in position on the ICCA ranking list from 93rd city in Europe in 2011, to 56th city in 2019. Furthermore, the positive feedback from congress delegates that, even though having travelled and seen many cities, still saw the beauty of Utrecht and fell in love with it."
What is your favourite hideout in Utrecht Region?
"My favourite hideout in Utrecht Region is Stadskasteel Oudaen in the city of Utrecht. Oudaen is a historic tower house with a contemporary twist. It houses a Grand Cafe, a restaurant, a salon, a beer brewery and a number of halls that can be used for meetings or other events. What makes Oudaen unique, is for example the possibility to arrive by boat via the canal and then enter the brewery via the wharf for a beer tasting. Isn’t that wonderful?!"
With whom would you like to share your morning coffee one day?
"I would love to have coffee with our Dutch Queen Máxima! She has a very impressive personality. I think she is a very sympathetic woman with whom you can really have a lot of fun."