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Looking forward Official Australian publication for the PCO Association

Swiss Grand Resort & Spa

Out with a bang

CAB Audited Circulation 16,837 March 2012 – Readership 58,929 monthly Nielsen Media Research

c&i briefing Leading cruise operator Complete Cruise Solution says enquiries about meetings on its ships have doubled following the launch of its Events at Sea program earlier this year. In response to the heightened interest, Complete Cruise Solution has embarked on a program of lunches and ship inspections for corporate event and incentive planners onboard it’s locally based P&O Cruises and Princess Cruises ships, coinciding with the summer cruise season. Events will held in Sydney and Melbourne throughout summer.

the year before, with 1.2 million delegates and visitors bringing in an economic benefit of RM407 million ($130 million) to Malaysia. bXb Online’s BOBtv, a global online event platform that makes event content available for remote attendees either live or on-demand by utilising video, has been awarded this year’s EIBTM Technology Watch award for its innovation and use of technology to support the improvement of event management.

Meet Taiwan’s “Shake to Share” campaign has won the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) Best Marketing Award, announced at the 51st ICCA Congress in San Juan, Puerto Rico, recently. The meetings app allows users to share their photos through social media channels by shaking their smartphone. The Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre has posted a 13 per cent increase in the number of events held from January 1 to September 30, 2012, against the previous corresponding period. The Centre hosted 1119 events, up from 973

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2013 Guide has named Hobart as one of the top 10 cities in the world to visit; it is the only Australian city to make the list. Business Events Tasmania CEO Stuart Nettlefold believes event planners can leverage off the accolade to boost delegate numbers for their own events. “There is a buzz about this place that is well deserved,” he said. “The great news for event planners is that this does translate to a buzz about events held here.” The Fullerton Bay Hotel Singapore has added three new Floating Event Pods in Marina Bay Singapore to its events facilities. Located in Marina Bay, the 44sqm event pods can accommodate up to 30 theatrestyle, 15 classroom-style and 20 in a banquet configuration. Each of the pods has an adjoining balcony and a rooftop with impressive views of the harbour backdrop. Barcelona’s International Convention Centre has released its first Corporate Social Responsibility Report (CSR), outlining the Centre’s activity in 2011. The CCIB carries out a self-

Taronga Zoo has relaunched its functions centre, the Taronga Centre, after an extensive refurbishment by Restaurant Associates. Set on two levels, the centre’s two function rooms have 180 degree views overlooking the zoo and Sydney harbour. Leading chef and Restaurant Associates’ ambassador Sean Connolly has been brought on board to work with executive chef Sebastian Lutaud, previously of Bistro Felix, to create a new function menu with matching wines.

Daydream Island Resort and Spa recently hosted Fuji Xerox Australia’s annual “Managing Director’s High Achievers Club” incentive. The three-day event rewarded a group of the top performing sales employees, agents and dealers. Themed as “Fuji Xerox Survivor Island”, the event featured a series of corporate team building challenges, a welcome cocktail function and an awards dinner, with performances by New Zealand-Australian rock band Dragon and comedian Peter Helliar.

evaluation in three main areas: sustainability, social responsibility, and economy. Evaluation of the various parameters was based on the standards established in the “Sustainability Reporting Guidelines” of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), an independent institution that collaborates with the United Nations. The report will be published annually. Registration is now open for trade visitors to the 2013 Perth Event Show. The show will be held from May 15-16, 2013, at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre. Registration is free at Indian travel organisation TCI (Travel Corporation India Ltd) has created a dedicated website,, for the Australian business events market. The company specialises in special interest and incentive tours, conferences and air charter and cruise ship ground operations, while investing in eco responsible and socially aware tourism. The Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre has been voted Best Convention & Exhibition Centre for the fourth time in the 23rd Annual TTG Travel Awards 2012. Infrastructure, along with strong business, academic and scientific expertise and green meetings knowledge, is part of what makes Germany a leading global meetings, events and conference destination, according to the Meetings & Events Barometer Germany 2012. The county hosted

2.72 million events in 2011, up 4.5 per cent from the previous year. Brisbane’s Royal International Convention Centre, at the RNA Showgrounds, is to host the first and largest developing unconventional gas conference held outside the US. DUG Australia 2013 will be held from August 26-29, 2013, and is set to attract 750 delegates and inject approximately $1.5 million into the local economy. “Securing these conferences is testament to the fact that Brisbane is being recognised internationally as Australia’s new world city,” said RNA chief executive Brendan Christou. Creatives from New Zealand and across the globe will gather in New Zealand’s capital Wellington this month for a range of conferences which celebrate innovation and inspiration. Events include New Zealand’s premier digital entertainment event, AnimfxNZ; the world-leading multi-disciplinary design conference, SemiPermanent, and the 20th Screen Production and Development Association conference. The $45 million redevelopment of the Dunedin Centre and Town Hall is due for completion in April, 2013, and will be open and fully operational by May, 2013. The refurbishment includes transforming the Glenroy Auditorium into a multi-use space, extending the Glenroy foyer into the ground floor of the Municipal Chambers building to double as a conference/function space, and converting the first floor of the Chambers into two new conference/function spaces.

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Peppers has launched a comprehensive conferencing website for its network of 26 retreats and resorts providing conference organisers with a “one-stop shop” for boutique regional conferencing options across Australia and New Zealand. The website,, features information on 19 properties across Australia’s East Coast and seven properties in New Zealand.

2   Convention & Incentive Marketing, November 2012

BCEC wins sustainability award The Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre (BCEC) has been awarded the Green Table Award for Excellence in Environmental Sustainability at the 2012 Savour Australia Restaurant & Catering HOSTPLUS Awards for Excellence. The national awards, announced at a gala event at the BCEC last month, also recognised caterers from around the country that have been judged the best in their category at a state level. Victoria’s Atlantic Group [V], Docklands, received the Function/Convention Centre Caterer of the Year award, while Sydney’s Forte Catering and Events won the Events Caterer of the Year

BCEC executive chef Martin Latter.

award, and Sydney Entertainment Centre was named Venue Caterer of the Year. The New Caterer award went to Western Australia’s Event Style.


Industry news


International news

BCEC general manager, Bob O’Keeffe, said the sustainability award lies at the very heart of the Centre’s operational ethos which is based on quality of product and service and caring for the community and the environment.


New Zealand news


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“This is our culture, epitomising who we are and the passion we share for quality and sustainability,” he said. “The Centre’s food philosophy is focussed on sourcing and showcasing the best of our local seasonal produce, together with a meticulous commitment to the highest of culinary standards and practices. “Our kitchens are the nerve centre of our community activities, donating thousands of meals to the local Foodbank agency, helping to educate members of our local community most challenged by society, in basic nutrition and cooking skills and hosting an annual Christmas lunch which has become a popular tradition for the Salvation Army’s many clients.”

Melbourne forges ahead Melbourne has secured 14 association business events in the first quarter of 2012/13, which will generate a forecasted $27 million for the Victorian economy, according to Minister for Tourism and Major Events Louise Asher. Melbourne has been awarded nine international and five national conferences, which will attract an estimated 7550 delegates to Victoria over the next six years, including Green Cities 2015; Congress of the International Federation for Structural Concrete 2018, and General Meeting of the International Mineralogical Association 2018. Asher said the wins added to the impressive



Talking point — Donna Kessler


In the air


Venue update






Northern Territory


5-star luxury




PCO Association notes


Meeting people



results achieved in the last financial year. “The 2011/12 financial year saw the Melbourne Convention + Visitors Bureau (MCVB) deliver its best results on record in terms of estimated room nights and forecasted economic impact,” Asher said.

5-star luxury

“MCVB secured 210 international and national business events for Victoria – a 62 per cent increase on the 2011/12 full year target. “The business events secured in the last financial year will inject a forecasted $361 million into the Victorian economy over the coming years.”


Australia’s global position H

aving just spent a month travelling overseas attending industry events, where I spend countless hours spouting the benefits of travelling to Australia, it is a relief to arrive home to positive news for our industry.

Photo: Verve Portraits.

With the emergence of China’s middle class and their willingness to travel, it is welcome news to see the rollout of online visa processing to streamline and speed up the process. Along with recent improvements in air access from Australia, this will make it easier for Chinese travellers to come to Australia.

Publisher’s word

It was also great to read that Tourism Australia and Emirates will collectively invest $14 million to work on joint marketing activates to attract more visitors from key inbound markets including the UK and New Zealand to Australia.

Admittedly, there are a few pitfalls such as the cost of visas increasing, the passenger movement charge and airport police tax. In this global financial environment these may prove to be stumbling blocks to the growth our industry is looking for. Another stumbling block I constantly hear about is how service levels in Australia need to improve. I won’t go into details here about the bad service I received on my recent trip overseas; however, I will say what I have said many times before – Australia’s business events industry punches well above its weight on the global stage.

Alexandra Yeomans, Publisher    Convention & Incentive Marketing, November 2012   3

industry news

Packer plans meet mixed reaction The announcement by New South Wales Premier Barry O’Farrell late last month that James Packer’s plans for a $1 billion “six-star” hotel and VIP gaming resort at Sydney’s Barangaroo has moved to the second stage of the state government’s “unsolicited proposals” process has received a mixed reaction. Australia’s largest hotel group, Accor, has come out in favour of the Crown development, saying that projects such as the casinohotel and the redevelopment of the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre were vital if Sydney is to compete in the competitive AsiaPacific market. “There is no doubt that Sydney failed to make the most of the Sydney Olympics and let its tourism infrastructure run-down, just at a time when cities such as Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Melbourne were ramping it up,” said Accor chief operating officer, Simon McGrath. “Sydney has so many natural advantages, but without investment in infrastructure it is easy for a city to fall behind its competitors in attracting major events, highyielding tourists and large-scale conferences. These produce tens of millions of dollars for the local economy and in the end benefit the whole Australian economy. “Anyone who has been to Singapore and Macau will have been able to see the impact of such developments on the tourism market. It is not just about gaming; it’s about creating facilities that tourists want. The Marina Bay Sands development in Singapore has created a whole new dimension to the city, attracted tourists who would never have gone there, and benefited the whole economy. The Packer Barangaroo development can have the same impact in Sydney.

John Hewsen has reportedly questioned the perceived “probity of process” surrounding the NSW government’s first-stage approval of the development. Hewson told ABC Radio his concern surrounded perceptions Packer had ``bulldozed’’ his plan through without it going to tender. The proposed development includes a 70-storey hotel with 350 rooms and VIP gaming rooms featuring 150 invitation-only gaming tables.

Darwin conference commemorates Bali bombing Royal Darwin Hospital’s War and Disaster 2012 conference, held at the Darwin Convention Centre, has marked the 10th Anniversary of the Bali bombings in 2002 which killed 200 people, including 88 Australians. The War and Disaster conference is an initiative of Darwin’s National Critical Care and Trauma Response Centre (NCCTRC) which was established following the Bali bombing, and has since formed ties with Bali’s Sanglah hospital. Former Prime Minister John Howard was the guest speaker at the Welcome Gala Dinner which raised funds for the Balinese hospital, telling guests that the legacy of the bombing has resulted in closer ties with Indonesia. “The fight against terrorism has been more successful in our part of the world than many predicted at the time,” he said. Howard paid particular tribute to the staff of the Royal Darwin Hospital for their treatment of

those injured in the bombings.

director Andrew McEvoy.

“The response was a triumph of what I think can be described as the gentle efficiency of Australians when faced with a great crisis,” he said.

“The findings suggest we’re already doing a lot right, in terms of where we are prioritising our resources and marketing activities. It’s encouraging, for example, that the highest levels of intention to visit are amongst Chinese and Indians, two of the markets we are most aggressively targeting.

“As a committed member of the Darwin community, it is especially satisfying for the Centre to have the opportunity to support and promote the awareness and interests of the city and its benefits and assets – particularly The Royal Darwin Hospital in which we all take so much pride,” said Centre general manager, Malu Barrios.

New research to help Australia reach potential Tourism Australia has unveiled the findings of a major international tourism research project into how global consumers view Australia and the demand triggers motivating them to visit at the annual Australian Tourism Directions Conference. The research – commissioned by Tourism Australia, and carried out by BDA Marketing Planning in 11 of Australia’s key international markets – identifies opportunities to make the Australia’s tourism offering more attractive to overseas visitors. These opportunities include focusing on the country’s strongest assets – its coastal, aquatic and wildlife experiences – and better marketing of the country’s quality food and wine. “Destination marketing is not one size fits all and what this new research helps us to do is identify our real strengths and fine-tune how we promote Australia in different overseas markets,” said Tourism Australia managing

“China is a large part of the future of Australian tourism, and the Chinese market has shown an increasing appetite for quality integrated developments like this. It will definitely raise Australia’s profile in China, as well as in many other important Asian source markets. Tourism Accommodation Australia (NSW) director Carol Giuseppi also welcomed the news saying that “this is exactly the kind of targeted iconic accommodation facility this city need”. However, former Liberal leader

“Equally, the survey has also identified some areas where the industry can step up its game, including better promotion of our high quality food and wine offering, where significant opportunities exist to strengthen what locals already know to be a core strength. “There’s also a disconnect in some markets around perceptions of Australia’s safety and friendliness against the reality – another area we can do more to get our warm and welcoming message across.” Tourism Australia plans to use the findings of the research to further evolve its marketing and identify opportunities to make Australia more attractive to overseas visitors.

Sustainability key to success Australia should focus on attracting high-value visitors with high quality, sustainable experiences and events rather than an endless pursuit for growth in visitor numbers, according to Kym Cheatham, CEO of Ecotourism Australia. Speaking ahead of the Global Eco Asia Pacific Tourism Conference in Cairns, held in October, Cheatham said that it was “time to reinvent Australian tourism”. “The endless pursuit of growth in numbers is a hollow ambition, with mass tourism bringing profitless volume,” she said. “High quality experiences founded on financially viable, environmentally sustainable and culturally responsible tourism products offer an alternative course.” Cheatham cited the growth of the ecotourism industry across the Asia Pacific region as successful model.

From left: Wayan Sutarga, CEO of Sanglah Hospital; Malu Barrios, general manager, Darwin Convention Centre; entertainer Kamahl; David Read, director of trauma, National Critical Care and Trauma Response Centre; Leah Read, and Fiona Wood, director, Burns Service of Western Australia.

4   Convention & Incentive Marketing, November 2012

“Australia is one of the most desired landscapes in the world, with unique native flora and fauna and an indigenous culture that resonates with visitors from around the globe,” she said. “The opportunity to reframe Australia tourism is beckoning.”

SCEC showcases top chefs The conference, headed by keynote speaker Jann Stuckey, Minister for Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and the Commonwealth Games, followed the signing of a partnership agreement between the Queensland Government and key industry figures centred on developing ecotourism in the State at the inaugural Destination Q Forum earlier this year.

Famil focuses on NT’s healthy outlook The Northern Territory Convention Bureau (NTCB) has continued to build on the success of its NT Industry Strengths strategy with a recent dedicated health industry educational famil for health industry association professionals. This was the second health sector famil to be conducted by the NTCB and builds upon the previous sector-specific famils held for the mining, oil and gas industry and the renewable energy sector.

One of the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre’s exhibition halls was transformed into a massive kitchen for more than a dozen of the world’s top chefs last month when the venue staged the World Chef Showcase. Part of the Crave Sydney International Food Festival, the two-day showcase attracted hundreds of foodies. The chefs, including Italy’s number one restaurateur Massimo Bottura, Spain’s Jordi Roca and Italy’s famous pizza chef Gabriele Bonci, cooked a range of dishes for their fans, assisted by a team of 12 chefs from the Centre and 16 volunteer chefs. With two showcase sessions running concurrently in the Centre throughout the weekend, 14 cooking stations were created to allow the visiting chefs and

The famil was timed to coincide with the War and Disaster Forum held at the Darwin Convention Centre, which commemorated the 2002 Bali bombings. The group also visited Darwin’s Crocosaurus Cove and enjoyed a sunset dinner at Pee Wee’s at the Point.

their teams to prepare food for their sessions, as well as two lunches for 150 people.

research into tropical and infectious diseases that affect everyday life such as malaria and dengue fever.

In all, more than 2500 dishes were served over the weekend. The Centre’s director of food and beverage Simon Lomas said the showcase was a significant logistical exercise with every chef requiring specific food items for their dishes.

“The congress will allow Australian and Queensland researchers and clinicians to showcase their world-leading research and to develop new strategic international partnerships into the control of neglected tropical diseases and diseases of poverty.”  

“It was a great experience to be working with such different chefs and cooking such different dishes,” Lomas said.

The QIMR is the largest medical research institute in the southern hemisphere and is leading the world in malaria research.

“From our purchasing department down to our chefs and waitstaff, we all had to think outside the square and be spontaneous, flexible and accommodating.”

The event adds to the growing number of scientific and medical conferences choosing Brisbane for their events.

Celebrity chef Matt Moran doing a live cooking demonstration.

Brisbane to host tropical medicine experts Brisbane has won the right to host 3000 of the world’s leading tropical medicine experts at the International Conference for Tropical Medicine and Malaria, to be held at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre (BCEC) in 2016. It is expected the event will deliver an estimated $9 million in economic benefit to the Queensland economy. Brisbane’s key convention partners, led by BCEC, joined with the Australian Society of Parasitology and the Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases to

bid for the event. Associate Professor Malcolm Jones from the University of Queensland and the Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR), a past president and fellow of the Australian Society for Parasitology, said Brisbane’s selection as host of

the conference confirmed the city’s reputation as the home of tropical medicine research in Australia. “Brisbane has long been a major focus for tropical medicine and tropical diseases research in our region,” he said. “The QIMR in particular has led international

Tassie famil aims for high end bullseye Archery, ghost tours and oyster farming were just some of the high end treats for six of Australia’s leading corporate meeting and incentive agents on a recent three-day familiarisation hosted by Business Events Tasmania. Showcasing Hobart and the south and taking in experiences such as the Barilla Bay Oyster Farm Tour, Redbanks Fish and Field, the Port Arthur Exclusive Champagne Twilight Cruise and Ghost Tour, Salamanca Markets and MONA, the famil highlighted Tasmania’s high end business events product. “Tasmania has always been, and continues to be, a popular destination for Association conferences, but our credentials for hosting high yield corporate meetings and incentives have not been well known,” said Business Events Tasmania CEO Stuart Nettlefold. “Business Events Tasmania has a business development manager dedicated to building our market share of the C&I sector and we are starting to secure some very prestigious clients.”

MCEC Australasia’s ‘leading’ Centre The Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) has taken out the title of Australasia’s Leading Meetings and Conference Centre in the 2012 World Travel Awards, announced last month at a gala ceremony in Singapore. The Centre was selected from eight nominated finalists from around Australia and New Zealand. Chief executive Peter King said he was extremely proud of the venue’s achievements. “We have a world-class venue and a fantastic team who deliver an exceptional service to our customers, so it is wonderful to see this recognised within the travel and tourism industry,” King said. The Centre will now represent Australasia in a final round of voting next month to decide who will win the world title.    Convention & Incentive Marketing, November 2012   5

international news

Australia ‘hot on US radar’ Tourism Australia’s presence at the recent IMEX America was the biggest yet, with 20 partners joining Tourism Australia in Las Vegas to showcase the country’s business meetings, incentive travel, and conference and events sectors. Up from 16 stand partners in 2011, Australia’s presence at IMEX America coincides with a significant increase in visitor numbers from the United States to Australia. In the year ended July 2012, the US market delivered an 18 per cent increase on the previous year, making the US the second largest source market for business events visitors to Australia after New Zealand. This result was achieved by 120,249 US business arrivals and 20,686 convention and conference arrivals to Australia. “Australia is hot on the radar for US business events,” said Penny Lion, head of Business Events Australia, adding that there was “strong interest” from the US in Australia as a luxury incentive and large conferences destination.  “The market is definitely recovering from the impact of the economic downturn and, as we can see from the size of our presence at IMEX America, Australian suppliers are eager to invest in the United States,” she said.

ICCA endorses IMEX America Following the success of last month’s IMEX America expo in Las Vegas, the ICCA Board has formally endorsed the show, which now joins the original IMEX in Frankfurt and EIBTM in Barcelona as the only meetings industry events enjoying this status. ICCA only endorses trade shows that are of genuinely global stature in terms of both exhibitors and buyers, and which actively involve a high proportion of ICCA’s members around the world. Speaking at the ICCA Congress in San Juan, Puerto Rico, ICCA President Arnaldo Nardone said, “Ray Bloom and his team have created an astoundingly successful global event in the space of only two years, and the messages coming to us from our members have been entirely positive about its impact. We’re delighted to deepen our relationship, to help IMEX create an even stronger association buyer programme, and to ensure that exhibiting ICCA members are able to extract even more value from attending.” The three-day show was 28 per cent larger than its inaugural show in 2011, featuring 77 new booths and showcasing 2413 exhibiting companies.

and in boosting business opportunities both at home and abroad. TCEB expects the industry to generate revenues of $6 billion (180 billion baht) over the coming three years. Acting director of meetings industry department of TCEB, Vichaya Soonthornsaratoon, said “our approach to stimulating the market in 2013 will focus on driving Thailand’s meetings industry in line with the government’s ‘Modern Thailand’ policy. The policy seeks to create new trade and investment opportunities by positioning Thailand as the natural gateway to the ASEAN market, and a hub for creation of new regionwide business opportunities. The Bureau has identified their top five key Asian markets as India, China, Singapore, Japan and South Korea, whilst “Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Australia have considerable potential for growth”. Over the next three years the Bureau will pursue a range activities and promotional campaigns to raise awareness in the market, including trade shows, road shows and familiarisation trips. Thailand will exhibit at the Asia-Pacific Incentives & Meetings Expo (AIME) in Melbourne in February, 2013, with Soonthornsaratoon saying the expo offers a “prime opportunities to build awareness of Thailand’s superb venues and diversity of choices”.

Kyoto cultural grant scheme a success A grant scheme launched last year by the City of Kyoto to enhance business events through Japanese culture has been embraced by event planners, with the entire 2012/2013 budget already allocated. The Culture Programme for Meeting Events Support System was launched last year as

part of Kyoto’s policy to promote the city’s brand internationally and encourage meeting planners to incorporate traditional cultural activities into their events. The program supports traditional arts being integrated into education workshops, gala dinners and reception parties, and the scheme has been embraced by organisations with activities such as taiko drum, tea ceremonies and kimono dressing performances added to events. James Kent, international marketing manager at the Kyoto Convention Bureau, has welcomed the news of the scheme’s success. “Kyoto stands out from other business destinations because of its rich culture and heritage,” he said. “The scheme was launched to offer support to organisations visiting the city for business events and help them integrate cultural activities, giving them the choice of which were best suited to the venue and content.”

AIPC lays out road to recovery The International Association of Congress Centres (AIPC) has released the results of its latest global annual member survey. Entitled “The Road to Recovery”, the survey showed conference centres were managing to increase revenue despite continuing global economic challenges, with centres recording an average of 5.7 per cent growth in gross revenue in 2011. AIPC president Edgar Hirt said the industry is “showing reasonable progress under what for many are adverse conditions, which is a testament to the resilience of the industry and the creativity that many centres have shown in adapting to new conditions and exploring alternate business models.”

Mantra heads to Asia Mantra Hotels & Resorts is set to open its first hotel in Asia with a new resort development in Bali opening in December this year. The Mantra Nusa Dua will offer 172 guest rooms including 24 suites, a spa and wellness facility and extensive conference space, including a ballroom catering for up to 400 delegates

Thailand focuses on ‘mega events’ The Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) continues to drive the meetings industry forward with an ambitious $30 million three-year plan, focusing on megaevents from key Asian and ASEAN+6 markets. The plan, which targets corporate incentive travel, includes the launch of the ASEAN Visitors Promotion Campaign. Thailand’s MICE industry has a major role as a bridge to ASEAN economies, 6   Convention & Incentive Marketing, November 2012

and eight meeting rooms and boardrooms. Mantra Group CEO Bob East said it was an “exciting time” for the group “combining a familiar brand name with a popular destination for Australian travellers and further expanding our growing hotel network”. Mantra has partnered with MJB Hoteliers on the new project, which is the first of a series of properties to be opened in Bali by Mantra Group with properties also planned for development in Lombok and Seminyak over the next two years under the group’s Peppers brand.

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nz news

Work on convention centre precinct underway Work on Christchurch’s new Convention Centre Precinct is underway, with the Christchurch Central Development Unit and Christchurch City Council calling for expressions of interest (EOI) from groups wishing to participate in the project.

The Convention Centre Precinct will be connected to Cathedral Square, Victoria Square, and the Avon River Precinct so it will need to be built with those links in mind.

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee says the EOI process will enable the private sector to put forward initial proposals for the convention centre, its car parking area, connected retail and commercial operations, and a 5-star hotel. Submitted EOIs will need to outline proposed design, build, finance, maintenance and operation of the Convention Centre Precinct in a plan that would see the facilities open for business by March 2017. “We’ve opened up a blank canvas for a single company or consortiums to let us know how they might deliver all of the required components, or some elements that play to their particular strengths,” Brownlee said. To complement other facilities across New Zealand the convention centre must be able to run three concurrent events and be able to comfortably host 2000 delegates.

Mr Brownlee says the Convention Centre Precinct is a priority “anchor project” for Christchurch and will act as a catalyst to reinvigorate the city centre, as well as boost the wider Canterbury economy. “With work underway on this precinct, other businesses will be keen to cement their own position in the central city,” he said. “The convention centre will need to be supported by other hotels, eateries and shops, so this step will trigger progress for other businesses too.”

SkyCity focused on Convention Centre plan SkyCity remains focused on negotiating an agreement with the New Zealand government after the Auditor-General’s review of the proposed $350 million International Convention Centre is completed. According to the company the review is expected to be released in the near future.

The Centre, which is expected to attract large internationalscale conferences New Zealand currently misses out on, will deliver “much needed jobs and economic growth” according to SkyCity chief executive Neil Morrison, speaking at a recent shareholders meeting. Morrison told shareholders that the company had recently spent $40 million on land adjacent to its existing Auckland site.

New lease of life for Viceroy Hotel Napier The Viceroy Hotel Napier, which is currently undergoing a multi-million dollar transformation, has joined the Heritage Boutique Collection. Due to reopen next month, the hotel has completely refurbished 40 rooms and suites furnished with an Art Deco theme, as well as an 80-seat restaurant and conference facilities for 50 people. Located at the start of the famous “Art Deco Parade”, it is close to the beach, city retail stores, the Art Deco Theatre and Clive Square, site of the popular weekend farmers market.

Lonely Planet praise ‘priceless’ Lonely Planet’s placement of Christchurch at number six on its “Top 10 Cities for 2013” list is being hailed as game-changing news for the city. “To have such a respected worldwide publication single out

Christchurch as an exciting, vibrant place to visit is an incredible boost for Christchurch,” said Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism chief executive Tim Hunter. “It is priceless recognition of all Christchurch’s Re:START Container Mall.

the hard work that has gone on in Christchurch since the quakes and has the potential to make a huge difference to the speed at which our tourism industry recovers.” Christchurch is the only New Zealand city to make it into Lonely Planet’s annual Best in Travel guide – a collection of the world’s best trends, destinations, journeys and experiences for the upcoming year. The city was singled out by Lonely Planet for the way it was “bouncing back with a new energy and inventiveness”. “New Zealand’s second largest city is rising from the rubble ... with a breath-taking mix of spirit, determination and flair,” the guide says. “The recovery effort is well under way and 2013 will be an intriguing year to join the rebirth of this proud southern city.”

8   Convention & Incentive Marketing, November 2012

Trans-Tasman Talk

Words are great, action is greater. A very good friend of mine, Richard Jeffery, is the chief executive of TelstraClear Pacific Events Centre in South Auckland. A champion for the local community, he recently gained approval to proceed to stage two of his development Wero,, which involves creating a magnificent white water kayaking and rafting facility which will benefit the community by giving at risk youth the opportunity to engage in outdoor sports. During the inevitable fight with various community planning organisations Richard coined the phrase “CAVE”, Citizens Against Virtually Everything. New Zealand also has a problem involving the Green Party of New Zealand who instituted the formal complaint to the New Zealand Office of the Auditor General about the Prime Minister’s involvement in the proposed International Convention Centre development. The Green Party in New Zealand seems to be against everything involving any kind of commercial benefit to the community, so for the purpose of this article I will call them “GAVE” – Greens Against Virtually Everything. Don’t get me wrong, I believe passionately that the environment needs to be protected and that all developments should be sustainable. But the point I would like to put to the Green Party is we know they are against convention centre development; mining, petrochemical and oil exploration; anything that involves carbon emissions – cars, power generation, you name it. Yet, they want to have first world social welfare, education and health systems. I’ve yet to hear how these are to be funded. The convention centre issue in particular has been negatively impacted by the Green’s intervention, which I believe was designed to try to embarrass our Prime Minister and the current National Party. Without being overtly political, I think it is time that the Greens tried to connect more with the commercial community of New Zealand. It would be nice to know what their vision is for economic development for New Zealand which would enable the country to continue to fund the first world social welfare, education and health systems we enjoy. By Alan Trotter, CEO of Conventions and Incentives New Zealand.

Auckland set to impress

our Hamilton property,” he said.

New Zealand’s most important annual tourism business event, TRENZ 2013, will take place at The Cloud and newly renovated Shed 10 on Auckland’s waterfront, from April 21-24, 2013. It will be the first time that TRENZ has been held in the CBD, offering about 1000 delegates easy access to Auckland hotels, bars, restaurants and waterfront venues which were a key feature during Rugby World Cup 2011.

The hotel will be situated above the existing SkyCity Hamilton Casino in the Centre of Hamilton’s Golden Mile.

“With the advantages brought by the new, central venue, we are confident we will dazzle our international guests and show them new and exciting aspects of our urban lifestyle,” said Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA) chief executive Martin Snedden.

SkyCity plans Hamilton hotel investment Plans for the SkyCity Hamilton development are well underway, according to SkyCity chief executive Nigel Morrison. “We have a lot of confidence in the growth of the Waikato region and we are pleased to announce that plans will be finalised shortly for the $35m development of a 4-star plus hotel with 135 rooms above

“Our Hamilton property goes from strength to strength,” said Hamilton Casino general manager Arthur Pitcher. “We believe the hotel development brings much needed quality hotel accommodation to central Hamilton. It will significantly improve the facilities that we are able to offer to our existing and future customers.”

Double-decker bus resumes tours New Zealand’s only open top doubledecker bus resumed its tours around Christchurch last month as its owners celebrated an awarding-winning first year of operation. Mark and Nikki Gilbert, who together run Hassle-free Tours, brought the distinctive 1964 Routemaster bus to Christchurch last year and it, along with a closed top double-decker, has proved a big hit with visitors to the city. The company now has five purpose built vehicles to take passengers

Auckland named Australasia’s top tourism destination Auckland has beaten Sydney, Bora Bora, The Whitsunday Islands and Fiji’s Yasawa Islands to take out the title for Australasia’s top destination in the 2012 World Travel Awards, the second time it has done so in three years. Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) acting general manager destination Jason Hill said the win reflects Auckland’s ever growing strength and an international destination. “This is an outstanding result that once again shows Auckland is more than holding its own against some of the world’s most popular destinations,” he said. “We are consistently ranked as one of the best places in the world to visit, live, study and invest, and this latest award is further testament to that.

around the Canterbury high country and three double-decker buses and expects to carry 17,500 passengers this year. “The earthquakes forced us to re-think our business but we were determined to continue offering

Now celebrating its 19th anniversary, the World Travel Awards (WTA) acknowledge and recognise excellence in the global travel and tourism industry. Also recognised in the awards were Air New Zealand, named Australasia’s leading airline for the fourth year in a row, and Tourism New Zealand, named Australasia’s leading tourist board.

visitors to the region a high-quality experience and we are thrilled that we have managed to do that,” said Mark Gilbert. “Christchurch has a very interesting story to tell and we’re committed to being part of the story-telling.”

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cover sto r y

Summer celebration The Swiss Grand Resort & Spa has seen the sun rise many times over Sydney’s Bondi Beach, but this summer marks the final curtain call for this celebrated beachside icon. If walls could talk what tales the 4.5-star Swiss Grand Resort & Spa would tell. Countless sporting teams, including the Australian Volley Ball team and French Rugby team, celebrities and musicians from Engelbert Humperdinck to Snoop Dog and Bon Jovi, who played a concert in the grand lobby, have all passed through its doors. Only 15 minutes from Sydney’s CBD, the 202-room hotel feels a world away with its views overlooking the iconic Bondi Beach. A mecca for beach lovers globally, the allure of this golden strip of sand has captivated visitors and locals alike for decades, with the Swiss Grand Resort & Spa cementing its reputation as Bondi’s premier events venue.

from $185 and Day Delegate Packages from $65. Make the most of mixing business with pleasure at the Swiss Grand Resort & Spa’s 11 function rooms, most of which have natural light and some with views over the Pacific Ocean. No views are more spectacular than those from its outdoor rooftop, which has 180 degree views of Bondi Beach and can cater for 300 cocktail-style or

150 banquet-style, making it the perfect place to celebrate. The hotel’s largest meeting space is the 330sqm Pavillion Ballroom, which caters for 430 cocktail-style and 230 banquet-style.

Centre within easy reach.

Team building activities are a big factor of the Swiss Grand Resort & Spa’s appeal, with surfing lessons at Bondi Beach a great way to enjoy the ocean, and both North Bondi Golf Club and Bondi Tennis

Summer is coming and it’s going to be a hot one, so come and celebrate the end of an era and help the Swiss Grand Resort & Spa go off with a bang – it has plenty more Champagne to open.

Opened in 1991 as The Grand Hotel and shortly afterwards branded as a Ramada, it was rebranded the Swiss Grand Resort & Spa in 1996 and managed by Accor since 2008. In that time it has organised over 40,000 business events, made over 1.2 million beds and served over 2 million bottles of wine and Champagne. In April 2013 the Swiss Grand Resort & Spa will welcome its final guests. To celebrate the great memories it has and the myriad of amazing functions it has hosted the hotel has launched a special offer of accommodation 10   Convention & Incentive Marketing, November 2012

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ta l kin g po i n t

10 years at the top After 10 years representing some of Australia’s top venues, Travel Portfolio’s Donna Kessler has plenty to say about the state of the business events industry. She shares her thoughts with Ylla Wright.

Sydney-based Travel Portfolio, one of the Australian travel industry’s leading sales representation companies, celebrated a major milestone last month, clocking up 10 years in business. Founded by Donna Kessler in 2002, the boutique company represents some of Australia’s top venues, hotels and resorts including the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre (GCCEC), Wolgan Valley Resort and Spa, and The Byron at Byron Resort and Spa, as well as destination management companies around the globe. While her own business has grown “organically through reputation and referral” over the years, Kessler says she has seen the business tourism sector change dramatically over the past decade. “In 2002 companies had big budgets for multiple, knock-your-socks-off events each year to long-haul destinations,” she says. “With the global financial crisis came a shift towards fewer events, smaller budgets and short-haul locations.” Even when companies had money to spend on Donna Kessler and Susanna Boyd celebrate Travel Portfolio’s 10 year anniversary.

meetings and incentives, they were reluctant to be seen by the public – and especially the media – to be doing so. With Australia’s economy weathering the storm better than many other nations however, budgets have loosened up recently, according to Kessler, with more companies looking further afield for events. “Companies that have for the last three or four years stayed domestic or short-haul, have said ‘you know what, we want to look at South Africa, or Italy, this year’,” she says. “I think with the GFC, a lot of companies realised that their staff are their most important asset and they still need to be motivated. And that’s why we’re seeing increased demand knock-your-socks-off destinations and money-can’t-buy experiences.” With clients increasingly savvy about the options open to them, thanks largely to the internet, Kessler says that client expectations are at all time high. “Years ago, buyers would come to us and say ‘we’re looking at Vietnam, or France, come back to us with a program’,” she says. “Now they’ll say ‘we want to take this group to Brazil, we want to float down the Amazon in this kind of boat, and we’ve had a look at this boat, this boat and this boat – does your DMC know of any others?’ “They’re three quarters of the way and that puts pressure on the DMCs because they have to continually keep coming up with something new that will really blow them away.” A complementary challenge for operators is to re-educate consumers that top-shelf experiences require realistic budgets. “During the GFC hotels offered very competitive deals in order to attract business, which helped create a perception that quality products can be obtained for unrealistic rates,” she says. “To buy a money-can’t-buy experience costs money, and maybe that’s why groups tend to be smaller than they used to be.” With business events tending to be held over fewer days than they perhaps would have in the past, Kessler has also identified a trend towards organisations pulling back on teambuilding activities. “Instead of groups doing a team building activity in the afternoon, they might have a speaker instead who is going to give more of a take-home impact,” she says. While the Australian business events market is “quietly optimistic”, Kessler believes there are several issues that need to be resolved for the industry to really thrive in the years to come,

12   Convention & Incentive Marketing, November 2012

including the use of social media “I think the MICE sector must learn how to use social media and online channels to more effectively build brand awareness, forge networks, and engage with new and existing clients,” she says. “As an industry we also need better information and research, to help us understand our sector’s importance and keep abreast of market issues and trends.” Having the right data to hand was vital, for example, when the GCCEC was lobbying to expand the Centre. “We had to demonstrate to government that we needed to build another two halls because we were missing out on conferences because we didn’t have the capacity to accommodate them,” she recalls. “We were able to give them the facts and figures about how taxi use was up, how room occupancy rates were up, and how we were filling the venue. “Without data we don’t have anything solid to go to government with.” Overall, however Kessler is optimistic that the business events industry will continue to grow in the years to come. “I think people understand, particularly post-GFC, the value of meeting,” she says. “Teleconferencing is great but the value of meeting colleagues face-to-face can’t be underestimated.”

in th e a ir

Tourism Australia and Emirates to partner Tourism Australia and Emirates have signed a global marketing agreement aimed at boosting visitor numbers to Australia from key markets in Europe and New Zealand.

with three return services per week in off peak periods and operate five times a week over peak demand times from mid-December to the end of February.

Under the new agreement, the two parties will collectively spend up to $14.3 million over the next three years on a range of joint marketing activities focusing on some of Australia’s leading inbound visitor markets – the United Kingdom, Germany and New Zealand, in addition to France and Italy. The arrangement will feature joint marketing on traditional and digital media platforms, as well as event and sponsorship activities.

“This is a huge boost for the visitor economy from North America and offers additional opportunities for New Zealand exporters,” said Norm Thompson, deputy CEO of Air New Zealand.

“Tourism Australia has worked with Emirates on local cooperative marketing activities across individual markets for some years now, and very successfully so, linking Australia’s visitor appeal with the airline’s extensive schedule and internationally recognised and well respected brand,” said Tourism Australia managing director Andrew McEvoy.

Swiss business class Europe’s best Swiss International Air Lines has been named Europe’s Leading Airline Business Class in the 2012 World Travel Awards for a second consecutive year. “Swiss has developed an exceptional level of service, both on the ground and in the air, and I am pleased that this has been acknowledged by our voters,”

said Graham Cooke, president and founder of the World Travel Awards. Part of the carrier’s ongoing success is the 2m long lie-flat business seat, which incorporates advanced pneumatic air-cushion technology for added inflight comfort, introduced in 2011 as part of the business cabin revamp throughout its long-haul aircraft fleet.

Qantas business class to sleep better Skybeds with mattresses, duvets, exclusive Kate Spade New York and Jack Spade amenity kits and more flexible menu arrangements with Select on Q – Eat are the latest features for Qantas Airways’ international business service. Qantas International CEO Simon Hickey said the airline “is focused on putting the customer at the centre of everything we do”.

Melbourne welcomes Emirates A380

The move follows Emirates recent alliance with Qantas, and “takes the airline’s investment in ‘destination Australia’ to the next level”, according to Andrew Parker, Emirates’ senior vice president, public, international, industry and environmental affairs.

Melbourne recently welcomed the Emirates Airbus A380 as it touched down on its inaugural flight from Dubai. The arrival takes Emirates’ A380 commitment to Australia to twice daily and increases capacity on the non-stop Dubai-Melbourne-Auckland service by 38 per cent, and grows Emirates’ Melbourne capacity by 540 seats daily.

“This is the largest investment Emirates has ever made with a global tourism body, highlighting our commitment to Tourism Australia’s strategy for attracting global travellers,” he said.

“The introduction of A380 services to Melbourne has been in the pipeline for a number of years and its timing could not be better with international arrivals to Victoria of 1.75 million at record

highs,” said Salem Obaidalla, Emirates’ senior vice president, commercial operations Far East and Australasia. “Also, it’s no coincidence that we’re launching on the eve of the Spring Racing Carnival and the Emirates Melbourne Cup, which is a magnet for high-yielding international visitors.” Obaidalla went on to say that the Emirates A380 services to Melbourne and Auckland were “a key component” to the recent partnership with Qantas.

Air NZ boosts capacity to North America

The Auckland to Vancouver route will also see a boost in capacity

“An initial trial of the Select on Q – Eat meal service on our Los Angeles route was very well received by customers, who liked the broader menu and the ability to choose in advance at what stage in the flight they would like to eat.”

Air New Zealand returns to Bali Air New Zealand today has announced it will operate a second season of Auckland to Bali services next year, following a 38 per cent increase in Kiwis travelling to the island compared with the 2011 winter. “More than a third of our seats to Bali for the 2012 season sold within the first week so we’re expecting them to be incredibly popular once again,” said Air New Zealand Group’s general manager Australasia, Bruce Parton. A Boeing 767-300 aircraft will operate twice weekly non-stop on the Auckland to Denpasar route from June 1 to October 15, 2013, with economy class “Seat” fares at $599 one way, or $1499 one way for business class.

In-flight calls not welcome Despite an increase in carriers allowing voice calls on mobile phones while aloft, most passengers say they don’t want in-flight voice calls permitted, according to business travel specialist Corporate Traveller. Out of the 710 people that took part in the survey, 88 per cent of respondents said mobile phones should only be used for texting, emailing and internet browsing.

Air New Zealand will add approximately 5000 return seats a month to North America as it further increases capacity to San Francisco, Vancouver and Los Angeles from April 2013. The additional capacity will replace more than 75 per cent of the seats lost from the Californian market earlier this year following the exit of one of Air New Zealand’s competitors. The airline will operate daily return flights on the Auckland and San Francisco route, while the service between Auckland to Los Angeles will also increase, with twice daily flights from April. Air New Zealand will continue to operate a third Los Angeles flight one day a week in peak demand periods around the July and October school holidays.

“Our premium customers travelling in Business have told us they want greater choice and the ability to maximise their sleep,” he said. “That’s why we’ve made these changes.

“That outcome gives a pretty clear indication of how travellers involved in this online survey feel about the idea of calls being made on board aircraft,” said Corporate Traveller marketing manager Jerome Bamminger.

Emirates staff with, from second left: Chris Woodruff, CEO of Melbourne Airport; Gordon Rich-Phillips, Minister for Aviation; Salem Obaidalla, Emirates’ senior vice president, commercial operations Far East and Australasia, and Dean Cleaver, Emirates regional manager for Victoria and Tasmania.

“As a business travel specialist we know that many of our clients who travel frequently for business are looking for some quiet time when they’re on a flight. Generally business travellers are catching up on sleep or work or preparing for a meeting, so sitting next to someone talking on the phone for a long time could be disruptive.”    Convention & Incentive Marketing, November 2012   13

ve n u e u pda te

Artist’s impression of the new Vibe Hotel and Conference Centre Marysville.

New Vibe for Marysville Toga Group is to develop and manage a new hotel and conference centre in Marysville, Victoria, to be called Vibe Hotel and Conference Centre Marysville. The $28 million development is a significant boost for the township of Marysville, which was devastated by the Black Saturday bushfires of 2009. The 4-star hotel and conference centre will include 100 accommodation rooms and a meetings capacity for up to 300. The construction of Vibe Hotel and Conference Centre Marysville will commence mid-2013 and be completed in late 2014. “Toga is honoured to play a key role in the revitalisation of this stunning part of regional Victoria with the development of this

Holiday Inn Parramatta.

brand new hotel and conference centre, and its subsequent management,” said Allan Vidor, CEO of Toga Group.

rooms, including the Anderson Ballroom which can accommodate up to 500 delegates, have also been revitalised as part of the upgrade.

Holiday Inn heads to Parramatta

Darwin Waterfront’s new Precinct

Following a $3 million refurbishment, the former Clarion Hotel on the Park has been rebranded Holiday Inn Parramatta.

Darwin’s Waterfront Precinct overlooking Darwin Harbour has a new venue catering for up to 300 cocktail-style.

Holiday Inn Parramatta’s refurbished 181 rooms include 30 executive spa suites, each with a separate living area with a large workspace. The upgrade extended to the hotel’s lobby bar and Twenty One Fifty restaurant, and included the introduction of wireless internet access throughout the hotel. The hotel’s seven meeting

The Precinct offers a modern craft beer bar with 44 individual local, domestic and international beers and ciders on tap, as well as pub food and canapes. It also has a cocktail lounge which can seat up to 180 diners, utilising the indoor area and the outdoor terrace which overlooks the Waterfront Precinct’s Wave Lagoon. The Precinct is located directly beneath the Vibe Hotel and Medina Grand and is a short walk from the Darwin Convention Centre.

Chinese Embassy or consulate information, a hotel location card in both English and Chinese and essential Chinese items in their restaurants such as fried rice, congee, fried vegetables, dumplings, jasmine or green loose leaf teas.

Mantra launches MICE website Mantra Group has launched a new dedicated website for conference enquiries, Under the banner “Mantra Makes It Easy”, the website features the top nine conferencing properties from Mantra’s portfolio of 23 hotels and resorts across Australia. “The diversity of our products and locations allows us to be flexible with what we offer and this is just one of the ways that Mantra makes it easier to conference,” said Paul Wilson, Mantra’s director of MICE.

Mercure and Ibis Brisbane China ready

Zoo relaunches Taronga Centre

Accor has accredited Mercure Brisbane and Ibis Brisbane with a China Service Accreditation as part of their new Optium Service Standards program. With China expected to be Australia’s second largest inbound market by 2018, the program provides a range of services designed to meet the needs of Chinese guests and educate hotel staff about Chinese culture.

Sydney’s Taronga Zoo has relaunched its functions centre, the Taronga Centre, after an extensive refurbishment by Restaurant Associates. Set on two levels, the centre has two light-filled function rooms with 180 degree views overlooking the zoo and harbour, and there are a number of other spaces within the zoo’s grounds available for cocktails, dinner or break-outs.

These services include Chinese speaking staff, a welcome booklet,

To complement the newly redesigned surroundings, leading

14   Convention & Incentive Marketing, November 2012

chef and Restaurant Associates’ ambassador Sean Connolly, working with executive chef Sebastian Lutaud, has created a new function menu with matching wines. The menu features dishes such as saltimbocca quail with spicy dipping sauce, goat’s cheese croquette with smoked paprika aioli, and duck and foie gras pie with peas.

SilverNeedle Collection launched SilverNeedle Hospitality has launched its newest venture, SilverNeedle Collection, a group of independently owned and branded boutique hotels and resorts in the Asia Pacific region. Every hotel featured is distinguished by offering guests unique and authentic experiences in locations where service excellence comes as standard. The three properties debuting in the SilverNeedle Collection are 137 Pillars House, Chiang Mai, Bangkok’s Riva Surya, and Kiridara Luang Prabang, Laos. Iqbal Jumabhoy, managing director and group CEO of SilverNeedle Hospitality, said the group was “on track to reach our goal of fifteen hotels under the ‘SilverNeedle Collection’ banner in the Asia Pacific region by 2016”.

Revamp for Four Points by Sheraton Sydney Four Points by Sheraton Sydney, Darling Harbour has completed the revamp of its accommodation rooms, the Corn Exchange Restaurant and Grand Ballroom as part of its $20 million refurbishment. The new Premium Room category includes Premium City Side and Harbour View Rooms whilst the larger Deluxe Harbour View

Rooms and Premium Maritime Suites feature balconies with panoramic views of Darling Harbour. The Grand Ballroom has had a complete makeover including the latest audio visual technology, and there is the addition of a new function space, the Heritage Atrium. “As one of Sydney’s premier hotels and the largest in Australia with 682 rooms, the refurbishment strengthens the Four Points by Sheraton Sydney, Darling Harbour as the market leader in the upper upscale category,” said the hotel’s general manager, David Fraser.

The expansion of Accor’s 5-star Pullman brand continues with last month’s rebranding of Quay Grand Suites Sydney to Pullman Quay Grand Sydney Harbour, bringing the number of Pullman-branded hotels in Sydney to three. The Sebel Cairns, The Sebel King George Square Brisbane and The Sebel Albert Park Melbourne are all primed to take on Pullman branding within the next six months, which puts Pullman on track to becoming Australia’s largest 5-star network, with the

brand expected to grow to at least 15 hotels by the end of 2013. “We see Pullman Quay Grand Sydney Harbour as one of the brand’s flagship hotels in the region and it will be the venue for the Pullman Global Launch in December, as we celebrate the strength and growth of the Pullman brand,” said Simon McGrath, chief operating officer of Accor Pacific.

Pan Pacific Hotels Group on a roll Pan Pacific Hotels Group is to add two more properties to its Singapore portfolio in the next six months, ParkRoyal on Pickering and Pan Pacific Serviced Suites Beach Road, Singapore. These openings will bring the Group’s Singapore portfolio to eight hotels and serviced suites with an inventory of over 2600 rooms. The move comes following the recent completion of the S$90million ($71.1 million) renovations of Pan Pacific Singapore and Pan Pacific Orchard, Singapore. “Singapore represents a great operating climate – we are confident that occupancy and room rates will remain buoyant, even with new hotels coming on line in the next five years,” said Patrick Imbardelli, president and CEO of Pan Pacific Hotels Group A.

revamped bathrooms and kitchens/kitchenettes, new carpet and a fresh coat of paint. The refurb is part of Mantra Group’s $20 million investment in refurbishments across its 21 CBD properties which commenced in July, 2011.

New function space for RACV City Club

The Terrace Hotel opens in Perth Boutique hotel The Terrace opened its doors at the beginning of this month, making it the latest addition to Perth’s hotel sector. Located on St George’s Terrace in Perth’s CBD, the Heritage-listed St George’s House offers 15 rooms including a Premier suite with a private dining room for eight. Functions spaces also include The Sommeliers Tasting Room and two private dining rooms.

Facelift for Mantra on Queen

The Heritage Atrium at Four Points by Sheraton Sydney, Darling Harbour.

Pullman push continues

Brisbane’s Mantra on Queen has announced the completion of a $2.2 million refurbishment, which included the hotel’s living areas, bedrooms and public areas. The revamp of the accommodation rooms includes new furniture, new window furnishings,

RACV City Club in Melbourne’s CBD has launched its new 140 seat function space – The Club Pavilion. The accommodation range has also been extended, with 24 new executive rooms and suites.

Crown Towers revamps villas Melbourne’s Crown Towers has completed the $20 million revamp of its luxury villas positioned on the top floors of the hotel. The 32 villas enjoy 24-hour butler service, customdesigned Axminster carpets, hand crafted furniture, and custom-made pillow top mattresses and bed bases that are larger than a traditional king size bed. “Crown Towers has successfully created a residential guest experience within a hotel,” said Peter Crinis, Crown’s group executive general manager hotels

and retail. “Paired with the discreet and expert service for which Crown Towers is renowned and Crown’s new guest offering including Crown Towers new Crystal Club and Crown’s new Club 23, new additions including Bistro Guillaume and The Waiting Room and our stable of awardwinning restaurants, it’s a winning combination.”

Swissôtel expands in China Swissôtel Hotels & Resorts has continued to expand its portfolio in China with a new hotel to be located in Changsha, the capital of Hunan Province in south-central China. Swissôtel Changsha will be part of a mixed-use development featuring an office tower, and is scheduled to open in 2014. “Changsha is one of the most important economic centres in the country, and as the ‘entertainment capital of China’ it is a yearround attraction for visitors,” said Meinhard Huck, president of Swissôtel Hotels & Resorts. “Swissôtel Changsha is another important step in our expansion in China, where we already manage several five-star hotels, and it is significant for the growth of our brand recognition in Asia.”    Convention & Incentive Marketing, November 2012   15

te chn olo gy with the properties they are using. InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has launched a new meetings and events booking tool across 23 of its Australian and New Zealand properties, giving meeting attendees a way to book their hotel rooms and planners a more efficient process to work with IHG hotels.

If you’re appy and you know it Apps are being developed by a wider spectrum of sectors servicing the events industry in a push to bring event organisers, their clients and delegates closer together, writes Sheridan Randall.

There will come a time when we’ll ask, how did we manage without apps? That tipping point may already be on us, as more apps are launched to cater to the different needs of event planners and delegates alike. Event organisers are already asking for more apps catering for exhibitor and delegate interaction, as well as live integration to global distribution systems to access accommodation inventory from hotels, according to Lauren Hall, CEO of software developer iVvy. “For the last three to four years the landscape of event management has been changing, with a greater demand for accessibility to information with one source,” says Hall. “By bringing data to a central point, it ensures greater efficiencies and productivity levels.” The rise in event specific apps and software is changing the way events run, she adds, with more hybrid events, new billing models for PCOs, and greater transparency within the industry between suppliers, organisers and corporations. Staging Connections, already established in terms of event management and services, has just released a new app, IStageEvent, as part of its push into the digital events sector. IStageEvent has been designed to allow event organisers and exhibitors to better

engage their potential audience at every touch point and receive realtime data about their delegates’ behaviour at events and provide immediate feedback. “It’s a combination of a few products that are part of the broader hybrid events sector, which expands the reach of the natural audience,” says Tim Chapman, general manager digital event services at Staging Connections. In collaboration with Staging Connection’s 70 venue partners across Australia, Chapman says that the firm has “got a finger on the pulse” of what organisers want. “We’ve had a lot of assistance at the venue level saying wouldn’t it good if… and we finished the sentence with a product that would fit that purpose.” The app includes a calendar, map, exhibitor listings and details, messaging functions, speaker information and scheduling, and is designed to “allow people to interact before, during and after an event”. “One of the coolest parts of the app is that attendees can message each other prior to the event,” he says. “What we are finding is that attendees are getting quite savvy these days in that they really want to maximise their time at event. You can turn up to an event that has multiple schedules with five or six breakout sessions happening

at the same time. What the app allows you to do is create your own personalised schedule with alarms to keep you on track.” With some in the events industry questioning what future face-toface events have in an increasingly digital world, Chapman remains optimistic, declaring “long live the live event”. “We want live events to get bigger. A very interesting trend on a global level is emerging. Event organisers think that whenever you turn an event into a hybrid [with webcasts] people won’t come, [instead] they’ll stay at their desks and watch it. However, what we have found is that those watching it on their computers feel quite alienated when the breaks occur, as that’s when they’re normally out chatting to people and networking and all that. When the registrations come out for the same event the next time, 50 per cent of those that watched it previously as a webcast are the first to book. “Virtual events, rather than detracting from a live audience, are actually building it so that the money they got from the people watching the webcast pays for them going to a bigger room next year.” Hotels are also jumping on the app bandwagon in an effort to help not just event organisers but also guests have greater control over their relationship

16   Convention & Incentive Marketing, November 2012

The GroupMAX app, a reservations technology developed by US-based Passkey which has already been rolled out in the US and is set to be launched in South East Asia in the near future, allows hotels, event planners and delegates to fully automate their group reservations process and features live event tracking, automated room lists and an integrated email marketing platform. Piloted in the first half of the year across six of IHG’s key meetings and events hotels, the group “had really positive feedback from the predominantly corporate meeting planners that used the tool during the pilot period”, according to Anne Gill, IHG director, commercial, Australasia. “We are always looking at ways we can add value to the meetings experience across our brands and given the changes in technology, this tool is particularly good because not only is it a booking engine, it also has a mobile application and integrates some social network components that meeting organisers and guests can use when they are at the actual event,” Gill says. “The system has a great suite of dashboards and reports that mean from a hotel perspective we can go in at any time and look at the pickup of rooms. Traditionally meeting organisers send us a rooming list 21 days out if we’re lucky, and although you’re checking with organisers leading up to the event about how the room sales are going you really don’t know until you get that rooming list. Using this, hotels have a much better line of sight as to what the pick-up and pace of that particular block is and can better work with the organiser so that if the block is slow to pick-up perhaps reduce the block and so avoid cancellation fees, or if the pace is fast talk to the organiser about adding more rooms into the block. It absolutely works for both of us.” Expected to be particularly useful for smaller corporate events that “aren’t using a full blown PCO”, Gill anticipates that those PCOs looking to upgrade their technology may prefer to use GroupMAX to run events at IHG properties, instead of outlaying further investment.

Cyber butler at NEW!! Cloud Stamford Hotels Technology & Resorts for Venues Stamford Hotels & Resorts has launched iGuest, a real-time app designed to give control back to guests. Once guests have checked in, a password and username is provided which will activate their account giving them total control of their needs during their stay. The key features include the option to arrange meals, snacks or beverages to be waiting on arrival, or notification of any special hotel requirements. Guests can also set wake up calls, do not disturb functions, listen to voice messages, track their bill, and have instant access to flight arrival

and departure times. “We live the life of our business and leisure travellers and want to continually evolve and develop better tools to make the journey smoother,” says Jon Foo, Stamford Hotels and Resorts deputy chief operating officer. “Time is something we are all short of so by developing iGuest we have deleted the need for waiting for things to happen, we give you power at your fingertips.”

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1300 004 889    Convention & Incentive Marketing, November 2012   17

a del a ide

Looking to the future With billions of dollars of infrastructure currently being completed, Adelaide’s business events community is looking to the future, despite some challenges ahead, writes Ylla Wright. Adelaide continues to present an attractive package to event planners, with Adelaide Convention Bureau Chairman Phil Baker reporting at the Bureau’s recent Annual General Meeting that the hard work and strategic direction of the Bureau had produced a significant increase in the number of events won in the past 12 months, up 29 per cent on target with 28 per cent of these events being held during low season. However, Baker also noted that the events won are smaller in size than many previous years, leading to the economic benefit contributed to South Australia being down 15 per cent on target. While predicting that the trend of winning smaller events will continue with larger events “remaining elusive in a highly

competitive industry where significant resources are required to win large events,” Baker suggested that the considerable amount of new infrastructure currently coming online in the next few years, particularly the $3 billion redevelopment of the Adelaide Riverbank Precinct, will “only assist the Bureau in selling the destination”. “So looking forward, it certainly is an exciting future for SA’s business events industry, however this will not be without its extreme challenges to ensure new government and industry infrastructure will be maximised to its fullest potential,” he concluded. Bureau chief executive Damien Kitto agrees that in a period where global and national competition to secure events is at an all time high, the current investment in

infrastructure meant Adelaide was looking firmly to the future. “Our greatest challenge is the ability to present an attractive and well funded bid to convention organisers,” he said. “Such is the value of these highly sought after conventions, competing destinations are increasingly presenting highly resourced and well funded bid submissions. “There is a real opportunity to

deliver a ‘Vibrant Adelaide’ and greater prosperity to the business events sector if greater business development resources were provided to the Bureau. “In particular, the development of a ‘bid development fund’ would immediately let the Bureau and partners entice clients away from the safe haven of the eastern seaboard and allow Adelaide to better compete with Asian competitors at a time when Government, Council and industry

Watch the video in the CIM iPad app. 18   Convention & Incentive Marketing, November 2012

are investing unprecedented levels in related business events infrastructure.”

Build it and they will come Key to Adelaide’s future as a leading business events destination is the $350 million redevelopment of the Adelaide Convention Centre, which will transform the Centre into a world class facility that can cater for 3000 or more delegates. To be completed in two stages, phase one of the expansion includes an additional 4300sqm of multipurpose convention floor space, associated pre-function spaces and multiple meetings spaces, which will be completed mid-2014. Stage two of the redevelopment, which replaces the existing Plenary Building (home of the original Centre, which opened in 1987) with a modern, multi-purpose facility with plenary capacity of up to 3500 seats, is scheduled for completion in June 2017. Several new function rooms opening up the Centre towards the River Torrens have already been unveiled. These include the Riverbank Foyer which opens directly onto the riverbank and provides an ideal location for cocktail functions or as a pre-function space for the new multipurpose meeting rooms. With an eye to attracting new business up to and beyond the completion of its expansion, the ACC has recently strengthened its business development team, welcoming new team members Wade Galea and Erryn Dryga.

All in the details Adelaide Convention Centre has been named South Australia’s best Function/ Convention Centre Caterer at the 2012 South Australian Restaurant and Catering Awards for Excellence, announced earlier this year.

“This might include chefs cooking and serving at the table or creating communal dining experiences like the Haighs’ Chocolate Wall where guests can chip off a piece of chocolate for themselves.”

Judging for the award took into account the quality of food, service and atmosphere, with judges commenting that the Centre managed to deliver a high quality a la carte-style restaurant experience while catering for hundreds of guests.

The Centre also prides itself on using the very best South Australian produce, according to Gilbert.

Adelaide Convention Centre chief executive Alec Gilbert said the Centre prided itself on providing guests with an intimate experience and making each guest feel special, whether dining at a function for 20 or 3000. “We adopt a personalised approach to catering for events,” he said.

According to ACC chief executive Alec Gilbert the pair will work with the existing team to secure events for the two buildings being created in the staged redevelopment. The ACC redevelopment will be complemented by an additional $3 billion worth of projects along the River Torrens, including the new Royal Adelaide hospital, South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, and Adelaide Oval, which is set to transform the area into a vibrant convention, sporting and entertainment precinct. Across the river from the

“The food and wine at the Centre showcases the best of South Australia with 95 per cent of all the produce we use coming from the state including Port Lincoln tuna fish, Coffin Bay oysters and Spencer Gulf prawns,” said Gilbert. “Our team understand that delivering a great event is about focusing on the details and making sure each element adds up to a spectacular experience for our clients and their guests.”

Convention Centre, the $535 million redevelopment of the iconic Adelaide Oval is well underway, with two new stands beginning to take shape. The 18,000-seat Southern Stand will be the first to open in October 2013 with the 16,000-seat Eastern Stand following in early 2014. When completed the Adelaide Oval will have 22 function rooms available across three grandstands, not including corporate suites. Chief amongst these will be City View Room in the Southern Stand which will give commanding views over the River Torrens to Adelaide’s

The kitchen team at Adelaide Convention Centre hard at work.

CBD with facilities for up to 1200 people in theatre or cocktail configuration. Andrew Daniels, chief executive of the Adelaide Oval Stadium Management Authority, says demand for facilities was already building 12 months ahead of the space being available. “We have been inundated with inquiries and booking requests, particularly for the City View room which, – in our opinion, – will be the best conference venue in Adelaide,” he said. “Its proximity to the CBD as well as the Convention    Convention & Incentive Marketing, November 2012   19

Centre is making it very attractive to convenors, not only around the country but also internationally where the Adelaide Oval brand is already famous.” Other options including the 200seat Cathedral Room which will overlook St Peter’s Cathedral, and the revamped northern mound, which now boasts 2100 sqm of lawn and almost 900sqm of timber decking, which winds around the Moreton Bay Fig trees and historic scoreboard and offers another alternative for events. For fans of “The Don”, the Bradman Museum will be returning to a new home in the Southern Stand in October 2013, and will provide an excellent pre-dinner drinks venue, or a great place to have a conferencing break. On a smaller scale, the Science Exchange (the former Adelaide Stock Exchange) relaunched earlier this year, offering corporate clients with an interest in holding hybrid meetings access to some of the highest quality audio visual and production technology available in the market. With a dedicated broadcast studio that holds up to 180, conferences, meetings, presentations or

An artist’s impression of the new convention centre.

launches can be broadcast live in high definition to the internet as well as recorded for later use. And, because the studio is permanently set up, it can be provided at a fraction of the cost of traditional production companies. With clients from the financial, corporate, government and

professional services markets, the Science Exchange can host anything from short meetings through to multi-day conferences, in the heart of Adelaide CBD. “Word is definitely getting around,” says functions manager Bianca Attard. “Most of our new business comes from client referrals, and our repeat business rate is massive. “Our location certainly helps as well. As a multi-purpose facility right in the heart of the CBD, businesses can invite clients and staff to an event within walking distance to their own offices.”

Rooms to move Adelaide’s business events community has also welcomed news of several new hotel developments which will add to Adelaide’s room stock in time for the opening of the expanded ACC.

An artist’s impression of the Hotel Ibis Adelaide.

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Accor announced earlier this year that it will launch its economy hotel brand, Ibis, in the city in conjunction with hotel developer Hines Property, who will develop a new hotel in the heart of Adelaide’s CBD. With 307 guest rooms, the $65 million hotel development will be the largest Ibis Hotel in Australia, as well as Adelaide’s first purpose-built economy hotel in the CBD for over two decades. Ibis Adelaide will offer guests restaurant and bar facilities, a fitness centre, business centre, guest lounge, conference and meeting space, and wi-fi coverage throughout the hotel. Hailed as a “key development for Adelaide” by Accor Pacific’s chief operating officer Simon McGrath, the hotel scheduled to open in early 2014. Hines Property’s existing Adelaide hotel, Crowne Plaza Adelaide,

Scenes from a recent famil to Port Lincoln.

Incentives Adelaide one year on A little over a year on from the launch of the Incentives Adelaide Program at Destination SA 2011, the Bureau is happy with the reception it’s received from both suppliers and buyers. “Our preferred operator base has grown by at least 40 per cent so we have a lot more product out there, and as such, we have a lot more engagement when it comes to hosting site inspections, famils, and that kind of thing,” says director of sales and marketing Martin Radcliffe. “Our bid output has also probably picked up by about 40 per cent, so we have a lot more opportunities in the

which opened in May 2010 and has won several design and tourism awards, has proved such a success with events planners that it has already added two new conference rooms to its mix. “The hotel recognised the need for growth following a successful 18 months since opening and as such in November last year, we added two new ground floor

pipeline because of the program.” The program focuses on enriching, exclusive experiences with a distinctly South Australian feel for small- to medium-sized groups. Easily accessed from “gateway” city Adelaide, incentive guests can experience unique South Australian landscapes including the Flinders Ranges, Kangaroo Island and the Barossa Valley, and enjoy activities ranging from blending their own wine with guidance from world famous winemakers to riding with the stars of world cycling, or even cage diving with great white sharks.

conference rooms to our already strong meetings, events and conference offering,” confirms hotel general manager Linda Collis. “The demand for our conference facilities demonstrated the need to further expand in this area to create additional conference spaces. “Forward bookings are looking strong for 2013, with many regular guests booking early to

Representative of the itineraries organised by the Bureau is the famil they hosted in July for a group of incentive buyers to Port Lincoln and surrounds at the tip of the Eyre Peninsula.

scenic light plane ride over an untouched coastline of pristine waters, long white sandy beaches, magnificent ochre cliffs and native bushland; swimming with tuna weighing up to 40 kilos; a visit to the Hopkins Island to see endangered Australian Sea Lions, and a breath-takingly close encounter with a great white shark at Neptune Bay.

The three-day famil saw the group travel to Port Lincoln, a 40-minute plane ride from Adelaide, where they were able to experience the region’s pristine waters, “We’re still doing mostly magnificent scenery and an conventions but the incentive abundance of the freshest seafood component of our business is first-hand. Activities included important, and one that we’re sampling oysters plucked straight committed to,” says Radcliffe. from the sea at Coffin Bay and shucked on the spot; a Watch the video in the CIM iPad app. secure their preferred dates.” A second hotel project is the $32 million redevelopment of Adelaide’s historic Colonial Mutual Life building into a 4.5star boutique hotel, which will be called the Mayfair Hotel. With work set to start before the end of this year, the development will include 170 luxury suites, as well as function and meetings room,

and an executive lounge with connected outdoor terrace on the upper floor. It is scheduled for completion in December 2013. With Adelaide’s infrastructure projects set to make the city more attractive to corporate and association meetings of all sizes, the city is certain to maintain its popularity with events planners in the years to come.

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Artist’s Impression, South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI)

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Ph: + 61 (0) 8 8237 0100    Convention & Incentive Marketing, November 2012   21

da rw i n

Paradigm shift Nothing if not resilient, Darwin is set to undergo a radical shift as the emerging resources boom puts the Top End capital at the centre of the Asia Pacific region’s focus, writes Sheridan Randall.

Everything changes – the one constant in life. And there is nowhere better to appreciate this than Darwin, in the Northern Territory. This small city, with just over 127,000 residents, is by all accounts set to be a hub for the Asia Pacific region and not just because of its location, but because of its resources. A massive investment boom led by international resource companies, including the $34 billion Inpex natural gas project, is on track to put Darwin on the map both domestically and for the Asia Pacific region. This is remarkable for a whole host of reasons, not least of which is that there is a city still here to reap the benefits. Darwin has been rebuilt almost from scratch twice, once after the Japanese bombings in WWII and once after Cyclone Tracy in 1974. If you’re looking for heritage you’re in the wrong spot, but if you’re looking for spirit you’ve hit pay dirt.

questions that need to be answered before moving on. No, you can’t swim at any point during the year (except for designated pools) because if the crocs don’t get you in the dry season, the stingers will in the wet season, which brings us to the next FAQ. Contrary to popular opinion the locals say one of the best times to visit is in the wet, or green, season from December through to March, because that’s when things come alive. Yes, there are daily downpours, but you can set your watch by them and the electrical storms at night beat the television hands down.

“North of the Tropic of Capricorn has 5 per cent of the [Australia’s] population, but produces 50 per cent of the nation’s GDP. The Northern Territory is forecast to have the highest Gross State Product per capita over the next five years, which coupled with the strong trade links with Asia, means that there has never been better time to consider the NT.”

For a group of professional conference organisers on a recent famil to Darwin, the first port of call was Mindil Beach Sunset Markets, a smorgasbord of food stalls, art and craft, live entertainment, and gathering spot for locals and tourists alike. Although plenty of locals simply bring a camping chair to watch the sun set into the Arafura Sea, there are three reserved open areas that can be used for private events of between 40 and 1000. There was on this particular night a “flash” brass band on the beach, which appeared unannounced in various locations around the city during the Darwin Festival which was running at the time, and nudity, courtesy of a young man who, it was assured, had nothing to do with the festival but was nonetheless very excited to see the water. These events, though unrelated, highlighted what appears to be a unifying theme of the NT – spontaneity.

However, there are some frequently asked

Following a sound night’s sleep at the 336-

“Why should you bring your events to the NT?” was a question posed at the recent NT Meetings Muster in Sydney by Scott Lovett, director – business events at the Northern Territory Convention Bureau (NTCB).

The Journey of Discovery dinner.

room Mantra Pandanas in the heart of the CBD, the group enjoyed breakfast at the il lido Restaurant, giving them a great view of the harbour from its prime position at the head of the Darwin Waterfront Precinct. Proprietor Darren Lynch made sure everyone got their coffees early, with the venue offering three dining spaces, with the capacity to seat 350. On the opposite side of the Waterfront Precinct sits its new sister property, The Precinct, a craft beer pub offering event space catering to 180 seated, along with 44 beers and ciders. Only a short drive from the CBD, SkyCity Darwin has just completed a $40 million redevelopment of its property, with 32 new luxury accommodation rooms adjacent to a tropical lagoon pool, as well as a new Asianthemed spa. The Lawn, SkyCity’s outdoor area overlooking the sea, is also to undergo a revamp, with a new marquee to be completed by February, 2013, turning it into a year-round venue. Just behind The Lawn is Little Mindil, a 5000-capacity space the property has exclusive use of during the dry season and where it holds the annual Qantas Turf Club Ball. Inside, the Grand Ballroom can cater for 450 theatre-style or 340 sit down. For an uninterrupted view of Fannie Bay and the Darwin skyline, Pee Wee’s at the Point is the place to go. Situated in East Point Reserve, the restaurant can cater for 120 sit down all year round, while the lawns leading to the beach can hold up to 500 cocktail-style or 450 sit down during the dry season. Darwin Sailing Club is also blessed with picturepostcard views over the bay, and was the location for a relaxed brunch and an opportunity for the group to learn some traditional craft from Darwin waterfront precinct.

View slideshow in the CIM iPad app. 22   Convention & Incentive Marketing, November 2012

The PCO group enjoys a sunset cruise on Fannie Bay.

Darwin, the only Australian capital city to have been attacked during WWII, than with a visit to the Darwin Military Museum. Immersive and interactive displays bring the tragedy to life, and are a reminder of the lasting impact. Events of up to around 100 cocktail-style can be held in the outdoor area among the vintage cannons and armoured vehicles.

two Indigenous locals, with hands-on lessons in local jewellery making techniques and clapstick painting. With the region home to the Larrakia people, Indigenous culture is more than just a backdrop to the Darwin experience, it is an integral part of its culture, with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people making up 29 per cent of the NT’s population, compared to 2.4 per cent of the national population. Home to the iconic Darwin Cup, Darwin Turf Club is host to a number of function spaces, including the versatile Schweppes Pavilion. A permanent air conditioned venue with glass frontage doors leading to the balcony overlooking the racecourse, the Pavilion caters for up to 800 banquet-style or can divided up for smaller functions. The Club’s tropical gardens and lawn area can accommodate up to 4500, while numerous indoor spaces offer flexibility for smaller groups. There is no better way to understand the impact the bombing by the Japanese had on

Crocosaurus Cove is another venue that offers event spaces with a difference. Home to the world’s largest collection of reptiles, and some rather large crocodiles, Crocosaurus Cove provides both indoor and outdoor functions areas, catering for 1000 cocktail and 260 sit down. Tantalising flavours were on offer at a cooking demonstration by Jimmy Shu, the affable chef and owner of Darwin’s much loved Hanuman Restaurant. Very much a mirror of the Top End himself with multiple influences of Thai, Nonya and Tamil flavours, Shu delivered a wonderful insight into his journey as well as producing some mouth-watering dishes. The final “Journey of Discovery” dinner was held at the Darwin Convention Centre. The Centre recently hosted the Annual NT Resources Week with a record attendance of more than 800 resource professionals – double the number of the previous year and an indication of the growing importance resources are playing in the region. Under the stewardship of general manager Malu Barrios, the Centre has gone from strength to strength since its opening in 2008, and is set to continue to raise the bar in terms of numbers

and standards. The dinner marked the end of a very enlightening journey that brought to life the history of Darwin while illuminating what is set to be a very bright future. The key to managing that future is through continued investment in the infrastructure that will support the resource boom unfolding. Darwin International Airport is currently undergoing a $50 million terminal expansion, with the Qantas Club lounge to undergo a refurbishment and a new Virgin Lounge to be complete by 2014. The airport expansion is set to see further international destinations added on top of the six already offered (Denpasar, Dilli, Singapore, Tokyo, Osaka and Manila), as well as positioning Darwin as a hub for domestic cities onward to Asian destinations. It seems Darwin’s luck may have changed. Once at the mercy of nature, the region’s natural resources are now propelling the city into a period of growth not seen before. “Home to 48 different cultures, we’re a diverse culture,” Lovett said. “An ancient business culture that stretches back 40,000 years combined with an Asian culture which is reflected in our food, our lifestyle and the way we do business.” Combined with a proximity to some of Australia’s most awe inspiring landscapes, unique incentive destinations and a diverse and resilient population, Darwin is on track to bloom. ● Sheridan Randall was hosted by the NTCB and Darwin Convention Centre.

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5-sta r

The personal touch Sophisticated consumers, global competition and a focus on authenticity have changed the parameters of a luxury hotel experience, writes Sheridan Randall. The style of hotel we find familiar began over 100 years ago, with the rise of the business traveller in both the United States and Europe. Grand hotels such as The Ritz in London epitomised the glamour and lavish opulence that defined the luxury hotel sector for years to come. Times change, and the advent of globalisation has not only shifted the retail spending habits of consumers who can now shop online accessing global brands at the click of mouse, it has raised the level of expectation higher across all sectors. Gone are the days when simply having 24-hour room service, a fluffy bathrobe and slippers, and a doorman tipping his hat at the front entrance was enough to satisfy a 5-star rating. A decade or more of home renovation madness has

left many houses with wall-sized flat screen televisions, designer furniture and palace-like bathrooms. Business travellers and conference delegates now expect the latest mod-cons as a given when staying at 5-star properties, whether it’s in the accommodations rooms, the food offerings or the meeting facilities. What people seek now when they book into a 5-star hotel is something almost intangible – an authentic luxury experience that doesn’t feel contrived, simply a natural extension of their aspirations. “The rise of the Arab Emirates hotels pushed hotels to 6-,7- and 8-stars and they started to make a mockery of what we called 5-star in this part of the world, and truly I don’t think Australia has yet that expected [level of] opulence,” says Heather Idoine, general manager at

Sir Stamford at Circular Quay. Situated on Sydney’s historic Macquarie Street, only a stone’s throw from the Opera House, Royal Botanic Gardens and bustling CBD, the red carpet leading to the entrance is an indicator of the old world glamour of this hotel that partially resides in the Heritagelisted Health Department Building built in 1897. “We want people to come through and have a look at our lobby and our bar. We recognise that we are definitely a part of the history of this area,” she says. Filled with antiques and original fine art, the 105-room hotel exudes a refined calm that complements the historic nature of the building. As Idoine is keen to point out, “there are no sharp edges”. “We aren’t modern and we don’t have the latest gadgets – no designer has gone through the place. The crockery is Staffordshire, the rugs are Persian, the mirrors are French, the marble is Italian, the floorboards are Australian boxwood timber and the walls are sandstone – it’s what Australia is, all brought together.” Not trying to “compete with the view”, she says that the hotel “does small well”.

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“We balance our authenticity and the historic nature of our building with that other very significant part of 5-star, which is service. Our regular guests are people who are looking for comfort and a welcome back that is genuine. We make things, no matter the size, really special. If you’re a meeting of 20, you’ll still feel important.” Sitting directly on the waterfront and next to the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Sebel Pier One has just completed the redevelopment of its new waterfront event space, Water@Pier One, while its new Premier Suites and Harbour View Suites, with the focus on “pure luxury”, will be ready by February 2013, according to the hotel’s general manager, Michael Sheridan. “The service aspect is more important than ever, as people have in their own home such quality finishes and their expectations have risen,” Sheridan says.

24   Convention & Incentive Marketing, November 2012

Conservatory restaurant at Crown Towers Melbourne.

“We make a significant effort with our new guests to engage with them and find out what they want. Then make sure that those details are logged into our management system so we can always log in and know what they want – and that gets us off to a good start.” Exclusivity is still part of the luxury experience, Sheridan says, and the ability to “create something special”. “We’ve got heritage building – it’s a 100 years old this year. We’ve retained the beautiful steel supports throughout and stripped them back to properly emphasise the industrial past. By the time they [guests] get into their rooms, that’s when the understated luxury comes into it. It’s just about the quality, beautiful carpets that feel luxurious underfoot and quality marble in the bathrooms.” Focusing on the beach lifestyle that Australia is renowned for, the Sheraton Mirage Resort and Spa Gold Coast has quietly undergone a $26 million transformation that has brought a real sense of luxury to “a property that was still caught in the ’80s,” says Leon Thomson, the hotel’s director of sales and marketing. Despite “a lot of cane and floral style décor” the “bones” of the hotel were very well built, he says. “The location has always been here but the product now is so much better aligned with what the consumer wants, particularly when it comes to quality. The key aspect is the beach and our style is different to the brash hustle and bustle of Surfer’s Paradise, which is only 4km

aggressive hotel refurbishment program and a complete transformation – we have made a quantum leap forward in the quality of our offering,” D’Cruz says. This includes the recent addition of Bistro Guillaume by French chef Guillaume Brahimi to the suite of high end dining options such as Neil Perry’s Rockpool Bar & Grill Perth and Nobu Matsuhisa’s Nobu Perth. Another new offering are the VIP Mansions reserved exclusively for international guests, a move designed to attract more high rollers from Asia.

View slideshow in the CIM iPad app. away but may as well be a world away particularly from a conference and events side,” Thomson says.

pallet that draws your attention to the outdoors rather than to the furnishings and interior.”

With a rise in the number of enquiries coming through from the incentive market and high end conferences that want an element of incentive incorporated is testament to the revamped hotel’s ability to fulfil the needs of what are two distinct markets, with Thomson calling it a “one-stop shop”.

However, Thompson says that no matter what you do with design and décor you still come back to the fundamentals of good quality food and good service, “and that’s the key recipe for our entire resort and our philosophy”.

The beach plays a crucial role in the resort’s identity, as it is the only one on the Gold Coast to have direct access, which in practice means that guests can almost treat the beach as exclusive to the hotel. “The key focus with the refurb has been to de-clutter and have a clean Sheraton Mirage Resort and Spa Gold Coast.

Crown Towers Melbourne is also looking to attract that lucrative demographic, having recently completed refurbishments to its luxury villas, spa and Conservatory restaurant, as part of a push to “to lift what we had currently and improve on the hardware and just as importantly the service level behind that”, says Andrew Cairns, general manager at Crown Towers Melbourne. It is, he says, imperative that the group keeps that brand promise available at each one of their properties. “Rather than trying to create a product and say ‘this is what we have’ and let the guest adapt

to that we are adapting to the guest,” he says. “It is about individualising the experience for the guest. “Being observant, that’s a big part of the service delivery. We subtly observe what a guest likes and update their profile and the next time they stay those little nuances that we noticed will be rolled out for them. And that’s the ‘wow factor’ in terms of really understanding what the guest wants and what they need.” Crown Towers is a large hotel that manages to do opulence well, balancing the needs of their group business and incentives market with high-end individual guests. The villa product takes service to another level, which is purely “one-on-one” and tailored “to make sure they get everything they need during their stay and more if we can”, says Cairns. “The aim for us is to be more competitively positioned not so much domestically, but with the Asia region, which is getting closer to home. If you look at Singapore and Macau in terms of the products that they are bringing to the market, we have to be ahead of the game.”




Another key aspect of the resort’s new philosophy is the move away from the “look but don’t touch”, he says, with the hotel showcasing art works by established Australian artists, which guests can then purchase. “It’s not so much about being aloof and prestigious, it’s about being integrated and being connected with our guests. This business is very much about trying to connect with our guests needs and better serve them in that way.” Two jewels in the expanding Crown portfolio are located together at Crown Perth’s complex in Western Australia. Set to be the location of Crown’s most lavish hotel yet, Crown Towers Perth, in 2016, the resort is currently home to Crown Metropol and Crown Promenade, as well as 31 restaurants and bars, a casino, nightclub, theatre and convention centre. Shaun D’Cruz, general manager of Crown Metropol Perth says that the key to offering “world-class” service is the “need to invest in our people”, all 5600 of them, making Crown Perth the largest single site employer in the State. “Over the past two years, Crown Metropol has undergone an

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ca tering was for vegetarian meals, other requests included gluten- and lactose-free options; dishes free of specific ingredients such as nuts, seafood and oil, and halal and kosher meals. The event organisers were also keen for menus to reflect the healthy nature of the message their organisation wants to convey to the general public. While in this instance the Centre’s food and beverage team was able to cater for the event by drawing mostly on its extensive compendium of more than 500 dishes, the Centre’s director of food and beverage, Simon Lomas, says that catering for the increasing number of dietary requests is not without its challenges.

The SCEC’s gluten-free butter-poached marron tail on crab and artichoke risotto with red beet essence.

Dealing with dietary requirements An increasing amount of delegates have special dietary requirements, adding to the complexity of designing and delivering menus for business events, discovers Ylla Wright. When the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre (SCEC) played host to the 16th International Congress of Dietetics 2012 in September, more than 400 of the approximately 2000 delegates nominated special dietary requests.

While it’s perhaps not surprising that a conference focussing on the latest research in nutrition, with a delegate base made up of dieticians, nutritionists and nutrition science researchers, would have a high proportion of

people with special dietary needs, the figures suggest that a greater proportion of people attending events across the board now have special dietary needs. While the largest number of requests at the Dietetics event

Where possible they try to narrow the number of different meals down, by ensuring that a vegetarian meal, for example, is also suitable for those needing a gluten- or lactosefree option, keeping the menu as simple as possible. “If we know about it in advance, it’s relatively easy from a preparation point of view,” Lomas says. “One of the benefits of having a kitchen operation where most of the elements are made in-house is that we know that the jus being put on meat, for example, is not thickened with wheat-based products [making it gluten-free].” There are however always a number of people who don’t request a special meal until the event itself, which means the kitchen has to prepare a number of suitable meals just in case. “We will always have an additional five per cent of vegetarian meals available on top of those ordered in case someone turns up with a dietary requirement,” says Lomas. “There are also often a number of people who’ve asked for a special meal and then don’t take it, which becomes a waste because you can’t give it to anyone else,

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Artist impression: ‘Theatre of the Horse’

Exhibition Centre (MCEC), believes the number of people requesting special meals is increasing by about three to five per cent a year, with requests ranging from vegan to fructose-free and low-FODMAP (a group of molecules found in food which are associated with irritable bowel syndrome). At one international convention for 2000plus delegates last year, more than 600 guests had dietary requirements.

Ground, ZINC at Federation Square, Brisbane City Hall and Westpac Stadium in Wellington, trains all their chefs to understand and manage the requirements for dishes that cater to either strict religious guidelines or for guests that have allergies or intolerances for certain foods. In addition, a trained staff member is always on hand to identify those common ingredients known to cause allergic reactions.

While most requests can easily be accommodated, for more complicated requests Panetta will contact the delegate on the phone, or even arrange to meet them faceto-face, to discuss their options before the event.

While it’s tempting to question the reasons behind the rise in special dietary requests in recent years, Marco Adler, executive chef of Sydney-based Fresh Catering, points out that the “client’s safety is key at all times”. With some allergies, such as peanut allergies, potentially life-threatening, who can afford to take the risk?

Regardless of the specific request, a priority is to create dishes that cater to specific dietary needs but remain similar to those served to the rest of the group, so that they don’t feel singled out or like the “poor cousin”.

Photo by Epicure.

“For our gluten-free pasta, for example, we worked with Farinacci so they could develop a gluten-free pasta that looks no different to their regular pasta,” he says.

Epicure’s Quinoa Salad.

because you’re thinking they may still turn up.” As the Centre does not have a kosher kitchen, kosher meals are bought in where necessary, delivered sealed with appropriate cutlery, while halal accredited meat can be sourced through the Centre’s usual butchers. “If there are a large number of halal requests for a specific event we make take the decision to make sure that all the meat for the event

is halal accredited,” adds Lomas. Service can present its own problems. With a stand-up buffetstyle event special dietary meals are put in a specific place where delegates who have requested them can collect them. Sit-down dinners without allocated seating rely on guests letting their waiter know that they have ordered a special meal, which can delay service. Tony Panetta, executive chef at the Melbourne Convention and

One of the Centre’s most popular dishes for gala dinners is their Taste of Victoria tasting plate, showcasing the best of Victorian produce, which is gluten-, dairyand fructose-free, and can easily be adapted for vegetarians. As with the SCEC, Panetta says that producing nearly 100 per cent of the elements they use in dishes in-house, gives them control over what exactly goes into their dishes.

“Using separate cooking implements, chopping boards, utensils, pans, mixing bowls [to avoid cross contamination] is of the utmost importance,” he says. “We will also cook allergy-friendly foods first or in a separate area of the kitchen.” Adler recommends serving plated meals at events where there are food allergy sufferers attending, as it can be stressful for guests to have to pick their way around a buffet, looking for dishes they can safely eat. “It’s important that we have ongoing and close communication with the event organisers to ensure that the right meals go to the right guests,” he adds.

Function caterers are also increasingly seeing an additional number of special dietary requests at events.

The SCEC’s Lomas agrees that keeping the lines of communication between an event’s organiser and the venue is the key to ensuring every guest is happy and well-fed on the day.

Major event specialist Epicure, which operates exclusively in a range of iconic venues across Australia and New Zealand including the Melbourne Cricket

“If you know about dietary requirements in advance, you can provide for them,” he says. “We want everyone to have an enjoyable meal.”

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Delivering award winning events With over 30,000m2 of flexible, indoor and outdoor space for gala dinners, conferences and large scale exhibitions and events, Rosehill Gardens really is the event planners’ venue of choice.    Convention & Incentive Marketing, November 2012   27

p co a sso c i a ti o n

Myth busting There are any number of myths as to why a business doesn’t thrive. Ric Wilmot looks at the most common. Mediocrity is the comfortable curse organisations can live with and get by on, but which significantly restricts potential growth. And, if mediocrity continues for too long, it will deteriorate into paralysis and business failure. We need to eliminate the shrug and smile response that maintains a “she’ll be right” culture while allowing inefficiency and incompetency to fester. To justify this mediocrity, people create myths to explain away why success has been unattainable. The three most common myths I encounter are: Myth 1: We work in price sensitive markets. The reality is that we work in value sensitive markets. Why else are so many Porsches sold every year? Nobody needs a Porsche for transportation, not at that price. A Nissan will do just fine. Clients will always want to reduce their costs, and so they should, but equally important, they detest reducing the perceived value to them. I call it the “Porsche paradox”. People believe they get what they pay for. What is your fundamental value? And I do mean “fundamental” – forget about “unique” as there is nothing new under the sun. How is the client better-off today, because they engaged you for their conference, seminar, event or gala dinner

yesterday? Why should they engage you and not your competitors? Why should they buy from you now, and not defer the decision? If the customer doesn’t feel it; it doesn’t count! Myth 2: Life wasn’t meant to be easy; accept what fate deals you. The reality is you need to have good self-esteem. We invent impediments, obstructions and anxiety by insisting on standards that cannot (and need not) be attained, and by suffering guilt about the performance we do actually achieve. In my mentor program I work with individuals regularly who are hesitant about going forward – in business and in life – because they believe they’re not prepared; their work could be still more refined, or they’re troubled about an as yet unknown client response. While some gurus would tell you that you can’t be over-prepared, I’m telling you that overpreparation is paralysis, just as under-preparation is recklessness. The ultimate permission to succeed comes from within. We exacerbate our problems by blowing them out of all proportion. A customer’s rejection of our professional service becomes a personal insult. Adverse feedback becomes a torpedo into the bow of our selfesteem. Most are transient and utterly minor.

Myth 3: Business is hard. The reality is we’re just not adequately prepared for the challenges business has to offer us. A few mentorees I counsel, in one way or another have a habit of giving a deep sigh, carping or keeping stoically taciturn whilst I describe options for improvement. Their behaviour discloses that they have already decided it will be fruitless, notwithstanding never having tried the remedy or option. Regardless of my (or anyone’s) best efforts, these talented people are often halted before they start, undermining their own best interests. They are persuaded, from past experience, that they’re in point of fact, helpless. You may not be able to control a client returning a phone call but you can definitely control your ability to act in response to objections she raises; you may not control a prospect remembering your name but you can control your branding and marketing; you may not be able to control traffic that causes you to miss a meeting with a client or prospect but you can control your ability to use a mobile phone to warn the other party and arrange another meeting. We’re not jellyfish, floating on the waves, subject to tides and winds. We have propulsive power, if we choose to use it: resourcefulness, intellect and experience. Helplessness in adulthood is a learned condition, not a natural one. I could make a case that it’s the ultimate evasion, since it’s an abandonment of all accountability and responsibility. “Everyone is against me. Fate controls me and everything around me. There’s nothing I can do about it.” Oh, yes there is. Stop feeling helpless, start taking action, and break free of mediocrity. Willmot is the author of Successful business writing templates: every business letter, memo and inquiry you require for a thriving professional services firm and a consultant to the PCO Association.

● Ric

PCO Association NEWS PCO 2012 National Conference More PCOs attend this annual conference than any other single conference in the industry across Australia and New Zealand – make sure you don’t miss this year’s event! Program highlights include: • Speaker showcase breakfast presented by Great Expectation Speakers Bureau • Workshops on Ivvy, MIE, Project Management, Social Media • Craig Rispin will speak on technology transparency • New cloud based technology and online conferences will be discussed • Hugh Gyton will explain how to strategise to gain more clients, more revenue and more successful events • Mike Prior from TVP Law will cover financial/ risk management and current employment law considerations • Tony Steven, chief executive of the Australian Medical Association will explain how to get inside the head of an Association CEO

• Learn about the latest in audio visual and theming technology Full program and registration details can be found on the PCO website The Gold Coast Convention Bureau will be hosting a PCO familiarisation immediately following the conference, commencing on Saturday December 1, designed to showcase a new side to meetings and events on the Gold Coast. To register your interest, please contact Shannon Thwaites on (07) 5584 6256, or via

PCO Industry Forums The PCO Association Industry Forums held in Melbourne and Sydney recently were a huge success, covering topics including risk management, social media, conference and event insurance, and audio visual technology update.

The next series of Industry Forums will be held in March 2013, and will include a workshop on risk management and its application to conference and event management. Presented by Paul Chivers from risk management company riskfacilitator, the workshop will provide participants with techniques and tools to take back to the office. The topic of social media will again be discussed, this time with an emphasis on social media and the law – a must-know for all conference and event managers. Full details on the Forums can be found on the PCO website.

PCOnline Wine Don’t forget to check out the PCOnline Wine Club specials on the PCO website in the “Service” section.

For more information, visit

28   Convention & Incentive Marketing, November 2012

Corporate social responsibility gains recognition With many organisations now seeking to leave a lasting legacy from events, it’s important to understand corporate social responsibility, writes Anna Stewart. One of the few positive outcomes arising from the Global Financial Crisis has been the increased attention being paid to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). In an endeavour to reverse the negative perceptions created by irresponsible corporate behaviour, particularly in the financial sector, companies and organisations are now adopting a much more considered position with regard to the impact of their actions. As a flow-on from that position, many conference and incentive programs now have a mandatory objective to leave a positive legacy in their host destination. All of this bodes well for the business events sector which in years gone by, was, perhaps not totally unfairly, branded as a world of junkets, excesses and conspicuous consumption. In essence, CSR is a commitment by a company or an organisation to embrace responsibility for its actions and encourage a positive impact through its activities on the environment, consumers, employees, communities and a wide range of stakeholders. It can take many forms and may involve fundraising, a financial or “in-kind� donation, or volunteering of time for a hands-on activity. It can be limited to a short term activity undertaken during a conference or may become a permanent ongoing project of a company or organisation. Team building specialist Sabre Corporate Development has been delivering CSR events for clients since the 1980s and has watched the level of commitment to CSR wax and wane considerably over the years. “The trend for CSR-driven corporate team building events has been an interesting one for us to observe,� said Talan Miller, managing director of Sabre. “Regrettably, some organisations seem to have been caught up in the fad of it all and undertake CSR activities with a superficial fluffy, short-term, feel-good outcome in mind.  “We have also had clients book a small charity team-building activity with us, only to then award winning teams with lavish prizes worth two or three times the dollar value of what was

actually gifted to the charity.� Being sincere is a big factor in ensuring CSR events have an authentic legacy, added Miller, citing examples of clients such as a major pharmaceutical giant and one of the world’s largest engineering groups, who have recently done just that. These two organisations respectively donated toys worth thousands of dollars to children’s charities as part of Sabre’s “Team Toy Story� event, and substantial cash donations to struggling regional schools as part of the Sabre “Global Village� program. Sincere engagement with CSR initiatives can also sometimes lead to accolades being bestowed upon those organisations that undertake them. At the recent Society of Incentive Travel Executives (SITE) International Conference, destination management company Somewhere in Africa, collected a SITE Crystal Award in the category of “Responsible Experiences�.  It was won for a community service day undertaken by direct selling skincare and cosmetics company, Nutrimetics, during a group visit to South Africa in May 2012. The CSR day program, designed by Somewhere in Africa in collaboration with Australian incentive house Unique Group Travel, saw the group visit The Khayelitsha Sewing Project, a sustainable sewing micro-business initiative, run by a group of women in Cape Town’s Khayelitsha Township. It provided a hands-on CSR activity for the 200 predominantly female incentive participants who not only donated sewing machines and brought useful items for the project from their own countries, but also spent the day working alongside locals. Many destinations are now making the conference or incentive planner’s job easier by reviewing and pre-selecting organisations or projects that have a genuine need and a strategy to ensure that in-kind or financial assistance does not go to waste.

Beneficiaries of Nutrimetics CSR activities.

A good example is the Northern Territory Convention Bureau (NTCB). The bureau has identified 13 key CSR partners in the Territory, for involvement with Convention Bureau activities, as well as for the consideration of conference and incentive planners wishing to leave a lasting legacy from events held in the Northern Territory. The NTCB and their industry partners in the national Meetings Muster road-show held in October “walked the CSR talk� by providing a CSR donation of $5000 in lieu of promotional gifts being given to attendees at the five events held around the country. This donation was made to Alice Springs-based children’s drum and percussion group, Drum Atweme, which was formed to meet the needs of at-risk Aboriginal town camp youth who are interested in music – the group now performs at conferences, events and festivals. The funds will be used to support an interstate trip in 2013 for five members of the drumming group. “We see so many benefits in facilitating engagement with our local communities for conferences and incentives held in the NT,� said Scott Lovett, NTCB director of business events. “There is the opportunity for cultural exchange, the chance for delegates to venture out into the environment and gain invaluable insights and experiences and to leave knowing that their time in the Territory has made a positive impact that will extend well beyond the actual conference or incentive itself.� � Anna Stewart is from Queensland Conventions & Incentives and is a consultant to the PCO Association.

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F: 07 3461 0156    Convention & Incentive Marketing, November 2012   29

meeting people CIM magazine has welcomed Sharon Davidson to the role of account manager. Davidson has more than 15 years experience in sales and business management, most recently owning her own business. Langham Hospitality Group has appointed John O’Shea as the new general manager of The Langham Xintiandi in Shanghai. He has more than 30 years experience in the hospitality industry, 18 of which were spent in general manager and managing director positions at hotels across Australia, Thailand, Malaysia, Japan and China. Aaron Gomes has been appointed the new managing director for Jupiter’s Hotel and Casino on the Gold Coast. He previously worked for MGM Resorts in Las Vegas and in 2007 opened and managed Indiana Live Casino. His most recent leadership role was acting chief executive officer for Resorts Casino in Atlantic City. Accor has appointed Phil O’Brien as the new general manager of Mercure Geelong. He has been involved in the hotel industry for 15 years and has held various positions with Accor. Prior to this role he was general manger of Mercure Melbourne Treasury Gardens, Ibis Melbourne and Novotel Melbourne Glen Waverley. Karen Taylor will step into his previous role at Mercure Melbourne Treasury Gardens; she was formerly general manager of Mercure & Ibis Brisbane. Caitlin Craig and Sue Stepatschuk from the Perth Convention Bureau

business development team have been promoted to the positions of senior business development managers. The Bureau has also appointed Tracey Cinavas-Prosser as director industry liaison and Jacqui Roberts as industry liaison officer. Leon Wood has been appointed general manager for Stamford Plaza Sydney Airport. He has been promoted to the new role after eight months as acting general manager. His experience in the hospitality industry includes 15 years in various food and beverage, operations and management positions. His knowledge in technology has led him to develop the iGuest app which will be used across Stamford Hotels & Resorts properties. Destination Queenstown has recently appointed Tracey Maclaren for a one year maternity cover as Queenstown Convention Bureau manager. Her previous experience includes convention and incentive manager and general manager operations for Real Journeys, as well as a position on Destination Queenstown’s board of directors. Christiana Zhu has joined the Bureau as trade marketing executive. She was previously Tourism New Zealand’s media advisor for China. She has international tourism experience, particularly in the Asian market and is fluent in Mandarin and Cantonese. The Orange Group has announced the appointment of Martin Smith as general manager of catering and venues. He brings to the role 14 years of experience in catering, most recently as sales manager and head of event catering for one of Auckland’s leading catering companies Dawsons. The Grace Hotel Sydney has made new appointments to its sales, marketing and conference team. Craig Gosling has been appointed as director of sales and marketing, bringing with him 30 years of experience in the hospitality

industry. His most recent positions include director of corporate sales for Rendezvous Hospitality Group and group sales manager for Mirvac Hotels and Resorts. Belinda Harvy has been appointed assistant director of sales; she has a MICE and corporate background and has previously worked with the Sydney Harbour Marriott. Hilton Worldwide has appointed Katie Lee as sales executive for the New Zealand sales team. She has 10 years experience in the industry and spent five years working in the US. Most recently she was business analyst and solutions manager for Corporate Travel Management in Australia. Jason Oakes has been appointed director of sales for Palmer Coolum Resort on the Sunshine Coast. He has over 10 years experience in the industry, most recently as the resort’s senior sales manager. His sales team also includes two new sales managers. Business Events Sydney has appointed Cheryl Siow as director of Chinese operations to help grow Sydney’s business event success in China. Prior to this appointment she played a major role in setting up two international business event agencies in Shanghai; Pacific World Singapore Shanghai Representative Office, and the MCI offices in Shanghai and Beijing. She brings to the role 12 years experience in the business events industry. Georgina Torrington from Velox Group New Zealand has been appointed as sector manager for the conference and incentive sector of Stay and Play NZ. Velox Group will be responsible for representing members of Stay and Play’s collective of local tourism

30   Convention & Incentive Marketing, November 2012

attractions, accommodation providers and transport operators, to corporate event planners and professional conference organisers throughout New Zealand. RACV Royal Pines has announced the appointment of Yandell McEnroe as the new sales manager conference and events. Prior to this appointment she acted as functions manager for The Gold Coast Turf Club and will continue to work closely with the Gold Coast market to showcase the resort’s venue options. Tony Howlett has been appointed general manager sales and marketing for Heritage Hotel Management in Auckland. He began working for Heritage Hotels in 2005 as sales manager for Heritage Hotel and CityLife Hotels. He spent the last four years as general manager of Heritage Hanmer Springs and brings a wealth of sales, marketing and hotel operations experience to his new role. Replacing him as general manager is Vicki Bretherton who has managed various hotels including CityLife Wellington and Heritage Queenstown. She was previously regional manager for Air New Zealand South Island Koru Lounges, a position she held for seven years. Pan Pacific Hotels Group has recently appointed Keren Southgate as area director of sales Oceania; she will be responsible for the overall sales performance for the Group’s hotels in Oceania. She brings to the role more than 20 years experience in the hospitality and tourism industry. Her previous positions include director of sales and marketing for Melbourne Conventions & Visitors Bureau and general manager sales at Staging Connections. Most recently she was director of sales and marketing for The Sebel & Citigate Albert Park Melbourne.

Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre will host the 26th Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management conference in December.

January 2013 2-4 International Nanoelectrics Conference, IC, Singapore; 2-5 Association of Science Education, NC, Liverpool; 3-5 British Fertility Society, NC, Liverpool; 6-8 New Media Expo, IE 30,000, Las Vegas; 7-9 Biotech Showcase, IC, San Francisco; 7-10 Aust Geography Teachers Assoc., NC, Perth; 7-10 Business & Economics Society Int., LC, Perth; 9-13 International Biogeography Society, IC, Miami; 10-13 Grand Slam Coaches Conference, NC, Melbourne; 13-15 AEB International Artists & Event Exhibition, IE, Eindhoven; 13-17 Transportation Research Board, IC 11,000, Washington; 14-15 Process Safety Management Asia, NC, Kuala Lumpur; 16-17 Conventa, IB, Slovenia;

February 2013 1-3 Brisbane Bridal Expo, LE, Brisbane; 2-4 Melbourne Jewellery Fair, LE, MCEC, Melbourne; 3-6 Australian Neuroscience Society, NC, Melbourne; 5-6 Event Production Show, IE 4000, London; 5-20 Gourmet Abu Dhabi, IE, Abu Dhabi; 6-8 Aust International Furniture Fair, IE, SCEC, Sydney; 6-8 Decorations & Design, LE, SCEC, Sydney; 10-12 Aust Library and Information Assoc, NC, Brisbane; 18-21 SES London, IE, London; 18-21 Drug Discovery and Therapy, IC, Dubai; 18-22 Global Resistance Challenge, NC, Perth; 20-21 Green Universities Conference, NC, Melbourne; 20-22 Champs Trade Show, IE, Las Vegas; 20-22 National Screenwriters Conference, NC, Mornington Peninsula; 23-24 Adventure Travel Expo, LE, Melbourne; 23-26 Australian Gift and Homeware Association, IE, Sydney; 26-27 greenmeetings and events Conference, IC, Darmstadt

CHINA Beijing – +86 10 6588 8155 ext. 613 Mobile +86 1391 077 5351 Song Yang, Publicitas (Beijing) Advertising Co. Ltd, Tower A, Room 808, 8/F, Fulllink Plaza, No.18 Chaoyangmenwai Avenue, Beijing, 100020, P.R. China Fax: +86 10 6588 3110 Email:

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KEY: L, Local; N, National; I, International; C, Conference; E, Exhibition; B, Both. Figures are of expected attendance. Contact details are included where available.

December 2012 2-4 Health Service Research Assoc, NC, Wellington; 2-6 Aust Society for Immunology Meeting, NC, Melbourne; 2-6 Aust Assoc for Research in Educations, NC, Sydney; 3-4 Global Future Energy Event, IB, Saudi Arabia; 3-5 Security Congress, LC, Perth; 3-5 Health Summit, IC 4500, Washington; 3-6 Int. Luxury Travel Market, IE, Cannes; 3-6 Biomarker Discover Conference, LC, Port Stephens; 3-7 Ecological Society of Australia, NC, Melbourne; 3-7 American Geophysical Union, IC 20,000, San Francisco; 4 FutureGov Forum Queensland, NC, Brisbane; 4-5 Radio Comms Connect, NC 800, MCEC, Melbourne; 4-6 Expo! Expo! IEAA’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition, IE, Orlando;

4-7 Asia TV Forum, IB, Singapore; 4-7 ISANA International Education Association conference, IC, Auckland; 5-6 Social Media Marketing, NC, Las Vegas; 5-7 Aust. Population Association, NC, MCEC, Melbourne; 5-7 Aust & NZ Academy of Management Conference, IC, Perth; 5-8 Int. Assoc. Of Surgeons, Gastroenterologists & Oncologists, IC 1000, Bangkok; 6-8 World SME Expo, IE 40,000, Hong Kong; 6-8 Inno Design Tech Expo, IE, Hong Kong; 7-9 International Fisheries & Seafood Expo, IE, Shanghai; 7-10 Food Technology Show, IB, New Delhi; 8-11 American Society of Hermatology, NC, Atlanta; 10-11 Food Regulations & Labelling Standards Conference, NC, Sydney Harbour Marriott;

Publisher Alexandra Yeomans Managing Editor Ylla Wright Journalist Sheridan Randall Sales & Marketing Manager Jo Robinson Account Manager Sofia Alexander, Sharon Davidson Design/Production Bin Zhou

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16-17 Best of Events International, IE, Dortmund, Germany; 19-20 Brickvention, NE, Carlton; 21-23 Asia Pacific Bioinformatics Conference, IC, Vancouver; 21-31 Student Conference on Conservation Science, LC 100, Brisbane; 22-24 ATF TRAVEX, IE 400, Laos; 22-25 Technology, Travel and Tourism, IC, Austria; 29-Feb 1 Computer Science Conference, NC, Adelaide; 31 Women Legal, LC, Sydney;

Shanghai – +86 21 5116 8877 ext. 629 Mobile +86 1364 160 1409 Anita Hu, Publicitas (Shanghai) Advertising Co. Ltd, Room 708, Wise Logic International Center, No. 66, Shanxi Road North, Jing'an District, Shanghai, 200041, P.R. China Fax: +86 21 5116 0678 Email:

CAB Audited Circulation 16,837 March 2012

Nielsen Media Research July 2004 Readership 58,929 monthly

Copyright © Creative Head Media Pty Ltd. Opinions expressed by the contributors in this magazine are not the opinion of CIM. Letters to the editor are subject to editing.    Convention & Incentive Marketing, November 2012   31

CIM News Magazine November 2012  
CIM News Magazine November 2012  

For more than 35 years CIM has been the market leading publication for the meeting and events industry, reaching a who’s who of key decision...