Spice issue 103 Summer 2023

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Issue 103 – Summer – 2023

VICTORIA PAVILION AT MELBOURNE SHOWGROUNDS New and exciting cultural experiences


Close out the year in style


Highlights for this retreat from the bustle of Sydney


Why authenticity is on the 2024 agenda

KEEP YOUR FINGER ON THE PULSE. Stay up to date with breaking industry news on Spice Magazine’s social channels. @SpiceNews



Spice Magazine

Read the latest industry news at spicenews.com.au



Summer 2023







Going up, going down


New and noteworty


Cover story: Melbourne Royal – How Victoria Pavillion is setting new standards for summer end-of-year parties


Incentives: What trends will dominate 2024


Tips & trends: Industry experts share what they see on the horizon


Team building with purpose: How to use events to build better teams


Summer venues: The best places to celebrate the end of the year


Gold Coast: The latest from the tropical hotspot


South Coast: Just beneath Sydney lies spectacular locations





The final word: How events can help us re-focus on human connections spicenews.com.au 3

Editor’s letter

Welcome to the summer issue of Spice

A Paul Wootton

Managing Director Simon Grover Publisher

Paul Wootton pwootton@intermedia.com.au Editor

Matthew Sainsbury National Sales Team

Katherine Ross, Charlotte Marshall

s the temperatures start to soar, it seems appropriate to mention the hottest hotel launch in some time, the new W Hotel in Darling Harbour, Sydney. At its official opening in October, Steve Cox, CEO of Destination NSW, shared some interesting data. Visitor spend in NSW this year is already at $48.6m versus $42m in 2019, pre-COVID. Events have made a huge contribution to that impressive hike. While the post-COVID business landscape continues to present challenges, new opportunities have also arisen, especially in the events space. While many businesses are encouraging, or indeed compelling, employees to return to the office, it seems likely the trend of working remotely isn’t going away any time soon. Could there be a better time to run team-building activities for businesses? Not likely. After years of isolated working, companies are desperate to get their teams back together to bond, collaborate or just meet each other face-to-face for the first time. In this issue, we highlight some of the best team-building options around – we hope they’ll inspire you to create your own. We also offer a range of other tips and tricks in the events space, from styling and entertainment to health and wellbeing. So if you’re in need of some inspiration, some ideas around how your business might get ahead, or just need some tips around staying calm and centred during challenging times, we have you covered. A quick note to say that Lana Bogunovich has decided to move on from Spice. We wish her well with her future plans and look forward to welcoming a new editor soon. Watch this space! In the meantime, have an exciting, successful summer. Paul

Production Manager Jacqui Cooper

Spice Magazine Sales and Marketing Team

jacqui@intermedia.com.au Production Assistant Natasha Jara


Katherine Ross + 61 2 8586 6176 kross@intermedia.com.au

Charlotte Marshall +61 2 8586 6216 cmarshall@intermedia.com.au

Art Director

Alyssa Coundouris Tony Willson

Visit SpiceNews.com.au for the latest industry news as it happens. Our twice-weekly updates cover venues, suppliers, destinations and technology, as well as inspiration and tips to help you plan stand-out events.




subscriptions@intermedia.com.au The opinions expressed by contributors



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4 Spice Summer 2023

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Fluid shapes with organic feels that are soft and comfortable but also slightly out of this world. Think rounded edges, crescent moon shapes and undulating folds. This design trend feels retro feel but uses cozier materials that give it a modern edge.

Going up


Sustainability and eco-friendly design

Many event planners and designers are prioritising sustainability in their designs. This involves using ecofriendly materials, reducing waste, and incorporating more sustainable practices into events. This trend includes everything from sourcing locally grown flowers to using biodegradable or reusable decor items.

With more than 20 years combined experience, the D Plus D Events team delivers events with intuitive service and innovative style. Here, they share with us their views on the trends that are hot and those that are not in event styling and design.

The fiesta/carnival vibe

Fiesta-themed end-of-year parties will be big, where the atmosphere is filled with the vivacious spirit of summer. This trend represents a refreshing revival of a playful and vibrant style, infused with a modern twist. It’s a celebration that ignites the senses, leaving guests energised and invigorated by the sheer exuberance of it all.

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Trends Traditional and conventional layouts

Traditional event layouts and seating arrangements are giving way to more creative and flexible setups. Event organisers are experimenting with non-traditional seating styles, such as lounge seating, mixed-height tables, and modular arrangements that encourage social interaction and engagement.

Cliché party themes

Generic and overused event themes are becoming less popular. Event planners and designers are avoiding themes that felt clichéd or lacked originality. Instead, they are customising and tailoring themes to better suit the unique objectives and personalities of their clients or the event’s purpose.

Going down Traditional use of flowers at weddings

In the wake of the pandemic, soaring floral prices have cast a shadow over couples’ dreams of opulent, Bridgerton-inspired wedding floral displays. Gone are the days of single-use ceremony arrangements, as couples opt for the practicality of repurposing them in the reception, seeking to maximise their floral investments.

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Peppers Manly Beach

REVY @ Jones Bay Wharf

REVY is a centrally-located and stylish 20th-century venue located at Jones Bay Wharf, and ideal for smaller functions, be it corporate or social, of up to 110 guests. With its waterfront location, REVY boasts spectacular views of Sydney Harbour and the iconic Harbour Bridge. The venue’s timeless design features exposed natural brick for an industrial chic aesthetic, while floor-to-ceiling glass doors flood the space with natural light and open onto a picturesque harbour deck. REVY’s location and setting offers easy access to nearby accommodation and is a convenient tram ride away from the CBD and Darling Harbour. The venue also has a full suite of catering options, promising choices between seafoods, premium cuts of meat, and an extensive range of drinks.

New + noteworthy

Accor Pacific’s newly opened Peppers Manly Beach is an ideal choice for event organisers, offering 42 studios, apartments, and suites, along with four versatile conference spaces. Two beachside function rooms can be merged for larger meetings, providing 110 square meters of space with a private bar and a beach view terrace. Alternatively, two courtyard rooms can host up to 20 participants each and open to the Courtyard Terrace for outdoor breakout sessions. The hotel’s coastal-inspired design blends luxury with a relaxed beachside charm, while its central location in Manly provides easy access to the beach, attractions, shopping, and dining, making it a perfect setting both the event itself, and postevent evening or weekend activities.

Meriton Suites Canberra

Meriton Suites is investing over $400 million in new locations, including Canberra, Liverpool and Melbourne. Among the additions, the Canberra property stands out as a prime choice for event organisers. Located on Allara Street in the CBD, it’s adjacent to the Canberra Convention Centre, making it the ideal accommodation for event attendees. The hotel offers a range of suites, including one and two-bedroom options, with luxurious amenities such as king-sized beds, kitchens, and stylish bathrooms. Guest facilities include a rooftop pool and spa, fitness centre, and gourmet dining options. These make it a sophisticated choice for those that want to impress. Additionally, its proximity to historical landmarks and outdoor adventures in Canberra, makes it an ideal location for events where there is an opportunity for delegates to make a weekend of it. 8 Spice Summer 2023

Upfront Top 10 A/NZ Hotels

Condé Nast Traveler’s 2023 survey named The Fullerton Sydney as Australia’s top hotel, with Park Hyatt Auckland second and The Langham Sydney third. Tasmania’s The Tasman Hobart took the ninth spot after winning Metro Accommodation of the Year at the Tasmanian Hospitality Awards. Western Australia featured with COMO Perth at sixth and The Ritz-Carlton Perth at seventh.

The Fullerton Hotel Sydney

Top 10 A/NZ Hotels: 1. The Fullerton Hotel Sydney 2. Park Hyatt Auckland 3. The Langham Sydney 4. Four Seasons Hotel Sydney 5. Park Hyatt Sydney 6. COMO Perth 7. Ritz-Carlton Perth 8. The Langham Gold Coast 9. The Tasman Hobart 10. The Langham Melbourne Meanwhile, Tasmania’s Kittawa Lodge also won Best Resort in Australia by Condé Nast Traveler.

CONNECT WITH PURPOSE Guests work with renowned Indigenous artists for an introduction to Aboriginal art and its purpose in storytelling, through the artworks of the facilitating artwork. We then invites guests to create their own artwork that connects with their own story and purpose. This experience proudly to supports Self Made Indigenous Corporation.


1300 390 082 spicenews.com.au 9


The Calile Hotel

The Calile Hotel achieved the 12th spot and was crowned the Best Hotel in Oceania at the World’s 50 Best Hotels awards in London. This prestigious list was curated by the World’s 50 Best Hotels Academy, comprising over 580 independent experts. The hotel, known for its innovative architectural design, sustainability efforts, and integration with the local sub-tropical climate, has been a trailblazer in the concept of ‘urban resorts.’ Designed by Richards & Spence, the hotel offers various event spaces, including a grand ballroom accommodating up to 500 guests and a level two amphitheatre suitable for smaller cocktail events of up to 100 attendees. Globally, the top three hotels on the list were Passalacqua in Moltrasio, Rosewood in Hong Kong, and Four Seasons Bangkok at Chao Phraya River.

The Round

The Round, a new events venue in Melbourne’s east, boasts multiple meeting spaces, conference rooms, and a 600+ seat theatre. As an arts and culture hub, it aims to become the cultural heart of Melbourne’s east. With world-class sound and lighting technology in its large theatre, extensive back-of-house facilities, and a versatile studio space with retractable seating, it can be tailored to suit a very large range of events. The venue also offers an outdoor stage in a parkland setting to given organisers the option of incorporating some fresh air into the experience. Accessibility is prioritised with proximity to Nunawading Railway Station and free guest parking.

The Sebel Wellington Thorndon

Accor’s The Sebel Wellington Thorndon is the second Sebel-branded location in Wellington. Conveniently located near Sky Stadium and government offices, this nine-story serviced apartment hotel offers 72 wellappointed rooms and secure parking. What sets The Sebel Wellington Thorndon apart are its spacious event spaces via Lower Hutt Events Centre, which is in close proximity to the hotel. The largest, the Event Space, can host up to 900 seated/1,200 standing guests, while the more intimate Meeting Rooms are designed for breakouts, seminars or leadership meetings and can host 50 people per room. Additional meal options are serviced by nearby restaurants and cafes, while The Sebel itself has a premium bakery service available for anyone who wants a quick sandwich or pastry. 10 Spice Summer 2023

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Cover story

Throwing the ultimate end-of-year party You want to make sure that the 2023 send-off is one to remember. Victoria Pavilion at Melbourne Showgrounds is a venue that’s built to impress.

Above: Vibrant and bustling, the 2023 Melbourne Royal Australian International Beer Awards at Victoria Pavilion's atrium showcases beer excellence amid elegance

12 Spice Summer 2023


s the year draws to a close, the hunt for the perfect venue to host your end-of-year party intensifies. One option that is sure to prove popular this year is Victoria Pavilion at Melbourne Showgrounds, which provides event planners with an ideal choice for any business or organisation that seeks an exceptional celebration to cap off the year in style. Part of the appeal is the design of the venue itself. Victoria Pavilion boasts timeless architecture that exudes sophistication, setting the stage for a festive event that will be remembered by all attendees. The adaptable space caters to both intimate gatherings and grand festivities, ensuring every guest feels valued and ready to usher in the new year. Another standout feature of Victoria Pavilion, Hannah von Bibra, Melbourne Royal executive general manager for client experience and commercial, said, is its layout, designed to seamlessly transition between various aspects of an event. “Whether it’s mingling, dancing, or dining, the overall venue provides an ideal setting for a diverse range of activities, allowing hosts to plan and execute events of varying scales with ease,” she said.

Delivering a celebration that all can enjoy

Accessibility is another key advantage of the Victoria Pavilion. Nestled within Melbourne Showgrounds, the venue offers stress-free accessibility, making it convenient for guests coming from different parts of the city. Ample parking space and proximity to public transport ensure a smooth journey for everyone, enhancing the overall convenience and enjoyment of the event. “Of course, a year-end celebration isn’t complete without culinary delights,” von Bibra said. “We understand the importance of gastronomic satisfaction during festivities and has partnered with Dean & McPherson to craft a diverse range of menu options. From enticing appetisers to sumptuous main courses and delectable desserts, the culinary offerings promise to elevate the festive experience to new heights.” For event planners, the sum of this is total flexibility with theme. Whether the goal is to delight with a winter wonderland or a glamorous Hollywood-style soirée, the venue can be transformed to suit any preferences, creating a captivating atmosphere that guests will remember.

Cover story

“By selecting Victoria Pavilion, you not only create an exceptional event but also play a part in promoting a greener, more sustainable future.” Hannah von Bibra Left: Wedding reception held in Victoria Pavilion Below left: 2019 North Melbourne Football Club’s Syd Barker Medal Presentation, held in Victoria Pavilion

Sustainable celebrations

“At Victoria Pavilion, we hold a deep commitment to sustainability and strive to minimise our impact on the environment,” von Bibra said. “We consciously adopt eco-friendly practices, such as waste reduction, energy efficiency, and responsible sourcing, wherever feasible.” Overall, what helps Victoria Pavilion stand out is its ability to offer an all-encompassing package for a memorable end-of-year party. In offering something for everyone, delegates can appreciate everything from the classic charm, versatile layout, accessible location, superb cuisine, and combined, these work to create an unforgettable experience. “By choosing Victoria Pavilion, businesses and organisations can curate a celebration that resonates long after the event concludes, leaving a lasting impression on all who attend,” von Bibra said. As the year-end approaches, it’s the perfect time to embrace the holiday spirit and plan the ideal endof-year gathering. Victoria Pavilion at Melbourne Showgrounds will be an inviting option that allows event organisers to plan and deliver a celebration that will be remembered for years to come. n

For bookings and inquiries, contact the Melbourne Showgrounds team at +61 3 9281 7444, email us at info@melbourneshowgrounds.com, or fill out the form on our website: www.melbourneshowgrounds.com/spaces/victoria-pavilion spicenews.com.au 13


The new frontiers of incentive travel A

ccording to the Inventive Travel Index in 2022, 91 per cent of decision makers agree that a dispersed workforce makes incentive travel even more important than before. While more people are now returning to the office, the trends that the last few years set off with incentive travel are going to continue: What resonates now is travel with thought, purpose, and sustainability in mind.

Making trips that count

In the past, incentive travel was often about ticking off destinations on a checklist. “Organisers would build a list and eliminate by asking themselves ‘where have we been and where haven’t we been?’” ES Concierge & Co director, Mandi Ford, said. “Now, though, there really needs to be a story. There’s got to be a reason why a destination is selected and how that resonates with the company’s values and the values of what they’re doing.” This aligns with the Incentive Travel Index findings. Two thirds (66%) of respondents said that 14 Spice Summer 2023

At a time where retention means everything, incentive travel is gaining a renewed focus. Matthew Sainsbury looks at what the dominant trends are, and what is behind a trip to remember.

inventive travel will have an even more important role in building engagement and company culture. Furthermore, 67 per cent of respondents said that the importance of incentive travel is increasing, as the need to retain talent becomes more critical. More than half (59 per cent) of Australians are planning on changing employers this year. With the right incentive travel, organisations can better connect employees to their work and make a stronger case for keeping the best of them. “It is about really looking at and making sure that they get the best out of that trip,” Ford said. “Success is in making sure they really connect with the destination, and they’re given an opportunity to experience as much of that destination as possible.”

The value of authenticity

For SITE ANZ secretary and 212F general manager, Belinda Ramanauskas, the leading trend in delivering a stand-out incentive experience is authenticity. People are not necessarily after luxury; rather, they crave genuine connections and unique experiences.


“There really needs to be a story. There’s got to be a reason why a destination is selected and how that resonates with the company’s values and the values of what they’re doing.” Mandi Ford

“Incorporating CSR experiences and tailoring incentives to individual preferences are becoming common practices in this pursuit of authenticity,” Ramanauskas said, echoing the Incentive Index Report, which found that 44% of respondents found CSR outcomes to be critical to a successful program. Additionally, sustainability is now a crucial consideration. Companies are increasingly mindful of their environmental impact, striving for net-zero carbon emissions. Ramanauskas pointed to 212F’s successful KoruGreen initiative as an example of this. This sustainability focus of that initiative aligns with the values of both employees and consumers. This, too, has a critical role in retention – in tying the incentive travel to CSR outcomes, employees are going to be more inclined to see their organisation as a responsible and preferred employer. Incentive programs are no longer just a perk; they are a strategic tool for attracting and retaining top talent.

The importance of personalisation

The more an incentive travel experience can be personalised to the individual, the better the response to it will be, Ford said. “Empowering people and giving them that choice enhances the experience.” Personalisation ensures that employees feel valued as individuals, not just as part of a group.

Ford highlighted a contrasting experience for a group that took an incentives trip two Uluru twice. The first time, they weren’t given options, and everyone on the trip was given the same activities to do. The second time around, with ES Concierge, they were given options, and the connection that those on the trip felt to the experience was entirely different, she said. “Empowering people and giving them that choice really enhances the experience,” Ford said. “With our trip, everyone left Uluru a different person. It was magical. And that was really due to the camaraderie of people being able to communicate and connect with their peers in their own way.” Furthermore, creating opportunities for personal connections is vital. “It’s always about making people feel inclusive,” Ford said. Inclusivity extends to partners, acknowledging their vital support in the success of their significant others. Another side to that is to allow partners to also come on the trip. There’s an ongoing debate around thus, but in Ford’s mind the recognition of the role of the partner in the success of the employee is an important part of the personalisation. “Then you often hear the conversation during the trip that the partner will say ‘you need to make sure you work really hard so that you, you get to go again,’” Ford laughed. → spicenews.com.au 15


Five steps for delivering compelling incentive experiences 1. Purposeful Destination Selection: Choose a destination with a compelling story that resonates with the company’s values and the purpose of the incentive trip. Avoid selecting destinations solely based on tradition or familiarity. 2. Meaningful Experiences:

Ensure that the trip is meaningful by offering activities that allow participants to connect with the destination. Offer a variety of activities to cater to different preferences, whether they are physically active or prefer more passive experiences. 3. Consider Budget and Cost: Be mindful of the financial aspect, ensuring that the incentive trip offers a reasonable return on investment (ROI). Consider the impact of increased costs, such as airfares, on the overall budget and select destinations accordingly. 4. Alignment with Organisational Goals: Align the incentive trip with the organisation’s goals and budget constraints. Ensure that the chosen destination and activities reflect the company’s values and objectives. 5. Inclusivity and Personalisation: Foster inclusivity by offering activities that encourage participants to interact and connect with their peers. Personalise the experience to allow attendees to choose activities that align with their preferences, enhancing their overall satisfaction and engagement.

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“Incorporating CSR experiences and tailoring incentives to individual preferences are becoming common practices in this pursuit of authenticity.” Belinda Ramanauskas

Combining education, entertainment and experiences

A well-crafted incentive program can seamlessly integrate education, entertainment, and unforgettable experiences, Ramanauskas said, pointing to a major trip that recently delivered some particularly spectacular results. “Our New Zealand team recently orchestrated an executive study tour incentive trip to New York that left an indelible mark,” she said. “This program provided delegates with exclusive behindthe-scenes access to leading retail, tech, media, and financial corporations, positioning them at the epicenter of global innovation in the ‘Big Apple.’ Visits to giants like Apple, Google, and Microsoft offered invaluable insights into multi-national companies, enhancing applied learnings across the group. The program fostered collaboration and education across multiple industries, with a focus on identifying innovative customer experiences and pioneering business approaches.

“But delegates also had the opportunity to visit iconic New York landmarks, including Ground Zero, the Statue of Liberty, the United Nations, and Wall Street. They even experienced the excitement of the 4th of July celebrations and attended a Yankees baseball game. And one truly exceptional aspect was the “BBQ in the Bronx” event. Collaborating with the New York Police Department, we created our own signature event of a Kiwi/Aussie-style BBQ where our delegates cooked up a storm for over 150 locals in the heart of the Bronx. In addition to the experience, it resulted in $5,000 in donations to five different local charities, provided food for the underprivileged, and distributed 15 BBQs to community centers.” While there are economic concerns and budgets are being watched, incentive travel is one area where organisations are, if anything, willing to increase spending. At a time where engaging and rewarding the workforce is more critical then ever, the right, personalised incentive is the ideal vehicle to deliver that outcome. n


KOREA Beyond Meetings

For a blend of cultural experiences and convenience, Korea offers a prime destination


xperience Korea’s vibrant culture by choosing it as your next event destination. As one of the top-tier convention destinations, Korea offers luxurious MICE infrastructure, a safe and sustainable meeting location, a variety of unique sights and experiences provided by Korea’s MICE cities, and much more.

Convenient Transportation and Travel Infrastructure

With 19 regional convention centres specialising in MICE, along with 8 international airports, 7 domestic airports, and 5 cruise terminals, Korea provides the best and convenient transportation options, with Incheon International Airport connecting to 58 countries and 189 cities around the world. Additionally, Korea leads the way in information and communications technology with swift connectivity, having commercialised the world’s first 5G network, making it a convenient destination for all participants.

Unique Venues

The Korea Tourism Organization has selected 52 Unique Venues across the country with unique charm and regional characteristics. The venues have been selected through close review to provide unforgettable experiences and lasting memories. Unique Venues represent the unique concept of the MICE event host city and allow guests to enjoy the one-ofa-kind charms that can only be experienced in that region. The Korea Tourism Organization is pursuing various projects to lead Korea’s MICE industry, and since 2017, have been intensively fostering the Korea Unique Venue program.

Traditional Attractions, Trendy Culture & Team Building Activities

Korea boasts not only modern complex facilities but also venues themed around culture and art, leisure sports, history, and tradition. For team-building activities during the event, Korea offers a wealth of captivating and memorable experiences, many related to Hallyu (the Korean Wave), such as beginner K-Pop dance classes and authentic Korean cooking classes. Further experiences include Taekwondo martial arts classes, temple stays with tea ceremonies and meditation, and trying on the traditional Korean garment (hanbok).

Highly Customisable Support Programs

Korea Tourism Organization’s MICE Bureau extends generous and comprehensive support to associations and corporate groups to successfully host international meetings and business events in Korea. You can enjoy a wide range of benefits, including complimentary banquets for delegates, cultural programs and tours, performances, Korean souvenirs of up to $50 value, and more. In some cases, the Korea Tourism Organization can offer additional support for corporate meetings & incentive tours to promote the development of the Korean MICE industry.

Korea, Widen Your Reach

To find out more about MICE in Korea, visit https://koreaconvention.org:8090/eng/engmain.kc or contact us at sydney@visitkorea.org.au spicenews.com.au 17

Tips & Tricks


As we look forward to the new year, industry experts across the events space share their thoughts on what to expect, and what will distinguish the most memorable events.

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Tips & Tricks Exploring New Venues

Sydney never ceases to surprise us with its evolving landscape. In 2024, we’re excited about the fresh wave of venues that are emerging. From repurposed industrial spaces to futuristic architectural marvels, these venues inspire our creativity and allow us to offer our clients unique event backdrops.

Entertainment Evolution

After-dinner shows have become more choreographed, featuring flash mobs and surprise elements that captivate and delight our guests. These unexpected moments add an extra layer of excitement to every event we design.

Robots and AI Integration

Event Styling Tracy Wood – Director, Funktionality


s the Director of an event management company with over two decades of experience, I’ve witnessed the ever-changing landscape of event styling firsthand. Our base in the vibrant Inner West of Sydney has allowed us to stay at the forefront of industry trends. Here are some of the latest developments in event styling trends:

celebrations and Indigenous ceremonies and performances, these events are a testament to the cultural richness of our community. Fire cooking, and using cultural or traditional fire cooking techniques, is a part of this. We’re going to see more and more of the “hanging grill”. We are calling it “Back to Basics”.

Sustainability as a Guiding Principle

Floral Extravaganza

“Sustainability” isn’t just a buzzword; it’s a guiding principle in event styling. We’ve made it a mission to embrace eco-friendly practices by sourcing locally, reducing waste, and repurposing decor. Sustainability not only aligns with our values but also resonates with our clients who want their events to be both visually stunning and environmentally responsible.

Cultural and Heritage Celebrations

One of the most enriching trends we’ve seen is the celebration of diverse cultures and traditions. In the Inner West, with its rich multicultural tapestry, there is particular demand for events that showcase the beauty of different backgrounds. From vibrant Indian weddings, to elegant Chinese New Year

We can’t help but consider the possibilities of artificial intelligence in event styling. From the bar to the dance floor, AI innovations offer a glimpse into a world that engages and captivates our guests through technology.

Timeless Themes with a Twist

While we explore new horizons, we also cherish timeless themes. These classics add a touch of nostalgia and playfulness to our events, creating a fun and everlasting memory for the guests. The journey of event styling in 2024 is a thrilling one. Customisation and creativity are the focus, and our Inner West roots have inspired us to embrace sustainability, cultural celebrations, and the fusion of technology and tradition. n

Dry Florals have always held a special place in our hearts, and this year, they’ve taken centre stage in event styling. Elaborate floral installations, suspended gardens, and cascading blooms create breathtaking environments which can be reused and repurposed. These natural wonders not only add beauty but also a sense of wonder to events.

Immersive Experiences That Captivate

Our clients are seeking more than just events; they want immersive experiences that engage all the senses. From interactive art installations to virtual reality adventures, we’ve embraced the trend of creating moments that transport our guests to different worlds. These experiences leave lasting impressions and make our events truly unforgettable. spicenews.com.au 19

Tips & Tricks


Henri Turra – Managing Director – Radish Events


ive of the key trends that we are observing in catering in 2023, moving into 2024, include: Responsible business practices. This is probably the most significant change we’ve seen over the years. More and more clients consider “sustainability” an important driver when making their decision about which vendor to work with. It’s great to see that companies are starting to take ownership over their impact, and using their ESG efforts to set new targets for themselves. This trickles down the supply chain, and we are happy to have been asked by some clients to provide stats on carbon emissions, waste management, relevant certifications (such as BCorp) and a modern slavery statement. It’s not yet as common as we would like, but it’s definitely increasing. However, beware of greenwashing. As words like “sustainability” become all the buzz, it’s easy to fall for claims that aren’t backed up by data or serious certifications - so be sure to ask your caterer (or supplier) how they’re measuring their impact. Local sourcing. We see increasing support for local economies, collaborations with local artisans/small businesses, and requests for local ingredients, be it statebased (NSW in our case), or even hyper local, such as the same council, city or neighbourhood. We fully support this idea and have been working with local produce and businesses for a number of years. However, in our experience there needs to be a balance between locality and other aspects, such as sustainability credentials and overall quality. The most local option is not necessarily the best option. For instance, it would be preferable to source from a farm with more sustainable farming practices but a few more miles to cover, than one that is closer but with poor standards of animal welfare. Staff engagement. As work from home (WFH), or at the very least flexible working arrangements becomes the norm, we see companies looking for creative ways to engage their staff on those days

20 Spice Summer 2023

when everyone is at the office. One popular option has been themed lunches and/or happy hours, which are relatively simple and cost effective. We’ve seen everything from branded muffins, to DIY tacos and hotdog stations, to full styled buffets and antipasti grazing tables with spritz. Some companies take photos of the table once it’s ready and post on the team’s slack channel, so everyone gets excited for it… and so no one misses it the next time if they were working from home that day! Interactive menu formats. We’ve also seen an increase in interactive menus recently, aka food stations, to make the events more casual, approachable and fun. Our most popular options at the moment are the taco bar, seafood paella, and pasta station. Food stations add quite a bit of theatre, and they are a more immersive experience than relying solely on canapés for instance. Native ingredients. One way the food industry can contribute to a more sustainable future is by reducing the loss of biodiversity. In other words, using lesser-known ingredients, especially ones that are native to the land we are in. Ingredients like mountain pepperberry, davidson plum, bush tomato and lemon myrtle have gained popularity in the last few years, and they are so delicious and can bring novelty to your event’s menu. n

Tips & Tricks

Corporate Gifting Oksana Koriakova, Founder & CEO, Impero Group


eflect for a moment on the most memorable gift you’ve ever received. Perhaps it was a stunning watch from your father, or a heartfelt token from your best friend. Do you still have that gift? What makes it so special? Is it the emotional connection, the memories it evokes, or the thoughtfulness of the giver? Now, consider whether that gift was branded with a logo. Chances are, it wasn’t. This is because logos don’t create emotions or lasting memories - personal connections and thoughtful gestures do.

Understanding corporate gifting

In the world of corporate gifting, it’s crucial to distinguish the difference between a gift and a promotional gift. Promotional gifts are primarily used for advertising purposes. They’re designed to promote the giver, often bearing the company’s logo or branding. They serve as a constant reminder of the company, aiming to keep it at the forefront of the recipient’s mind. On the other hand, a gift is an item given without any expectation of payment or return. It’s a gesture of goodwill, an expression of gratitude, or a celebration of a special occasion. Gifts are given with the receiver in mind - they’re chosen to cater to the recipient’s tastes, interests, or needs.

The art of gifting

In our modern society where material needs are largely met, gift-giving has evolved beyond merely fulfilling an immediate need. It has become an expression of appreciation and a way of saying thank you. That’s why gifts must be meaningful and chosen with the receiver in mind. This presents a fantastic opportunity to be creative and thoughtful in our gifting choices. For instance, sending alcohol to non-drinkers is never a good idea. It shows a lack of understanding and consideration for the recipient’s preferences. Therefore, it’s important to take the time to know your customers and learn their likes and dislikes. 22 Spice Summer 2023

Trends in gifting for 2023-2024

One key trend in gifting for 2023 is personalisation. Making gifts more personal can involve adding the recipient’s name, choosing their favourite colour, or tailoring it to their interests or experiences. This adds a touch of thoughtfulness and consideration that generic gifts lack. If you still want people to remember your brand while gifting, consider subtle branding elements like custom-printed ribbon or tissue paper. This allows you to incorporate your brand without overshadowing the thoughtfulness of the gift. Getting your brand into your client’s hands is indeed an art - one that requires thoughtfulness, creativity, and understanding of our client’s preferences. With Christmas just around the corner now is the time to really start thinking to ensure that your clients/partners/staff and other gift recipients are appreciated. As Anne Frank wisely said, “No one has ever become poor by giving.” Embrace the spirit of giving, bring soul to the process and make those corporate gifts count! n

Tips & Tricks #1 BE STILL for 10 mins a day

How can you carve out 10mins of stillness in your day, so that your nervous system is calmed, which will help you to make more effective decisions. Perhaps start by sitting quietly with your coffee first thing in the morning, without your phone, because it could be the last time you get a moment to yourself all day.

#2 FIND JOY for one hour a week

I’m not talking about the incidental joy that I hope you get every single day. I’m talking about one hour of joy that you habitually schedule into your calendar. Maybe it’s walking in nature, mentoring a new staff member, studying a topic that you’re passionate about, or volunteering at your local animal shelter.


Heidi Dening – Speaker – Author – Educator


esilience is a crucial component of being able to work effectively in this industry because it enables individuals to swiftly adapt, remain calm under pressure, and creatively solve unexpected challenges. As event professionals you have already proven how resilient you can be but that doesn’t mean you aren’t at risk from becoming overwhelmed and exhausted due to the current issues around staff shortages, supply chain disruptions, and unrealistic expectations from everyone. By elevating your professional resilience, you can combat some of the impact of this fast-paced, everchanging business environment. To do this, I’d like you to think of your resilience as a bucket and the water in that bucket represents all your strengths and capabilities. When times are good, our resilience buckets remain strong, which helps us to remain productive, capable and confident at work. When times are wobbly though, our buckets become fragile, and little rusty holes start forming. As we know with little rusty holes, they soon become big gaping holes and all our strengths and capabilities start leaking out. We might feel lethargic, we can’t focus, we make poor decisions and silly mistakes. Sustaining a career in this industry so you can continue to create meaningful and innovative experiences for your clients, means that proactively keeping your bucket strong must be a priority, despite your full inboxes and long to do lists. This Strong Bucket Formula will give you the foundations for this.

#3 CHILL OUT for one day a month

Choose one day a month where you can sleep in, stay in your jim-jams, slouch on the couch, immerse yourself in a good book, or have a binge on Netflix. If your responsibilities don’t allow you to take a whole day once a month, please don’t let that stop you. Perfection is a fairytale. Start with a couple of hours and build on that.

#4 LIVE LIFE for a long weekend once a quarter

It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. You can have a staycation, take a picnic in the park with your friends, go to a gallery, see a show, or drink cocktails in a swanky wine bar.

Scan the QR code on this page for your copy of the Strong Bucket Formula. Use it as a computer screensave or as a phone wallpaper to remind you of the good habits that will help you to keep your bucket strong.

#5 ALWAYS CONNECT with what’s important in your life

That might be family, career progression, travel, fitness, art, spirituality. Or perhaps you need to connect more with people who inspire you, bring a smile to your face and some warmth to your heart. This Strong Bucket Formula is the foundation to performing better at work because it gives you the capability to be more creative, make better decisions and be seen as the talented event professional that you are. n

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Tips & Tricks


Monica Rosenfeld – Founder – Stories That Stir Movement


f you’re looking for ways to transform your events from ‘blah’ to ‘brilliant’, storytelling is a great way to do that. By weaving storytelling into your event, your delegates will leave feeling emotionally connected to the speakers, each other and most importantly the organisation hosting the event. Here are five ideas on how to use the power of storytelling in your event:

3. Include storytelling in presentations

1. Include storytelling as part of your marketing collateral

4. Encourage your delegates to connect on a deeper level

Storytelling is a powerful way to get people to attend your event because when we engage with a story it bypasses our head space where we do all our rational thinking (the enemy of marketers) and goes straight to our heart space, which is where we feel our emotions. For example, if you’re putting on an event around the topic of Safety at Work, instead of copy like “Çome to the Safety at Work Conference where you will learn the latest practices to ensure your business is compliant,” highlight a true story whereby someone was negatively impacted by not being safe at work. The call to action would be that “if you want to prevent this situation happening to your organisation, come to the Safety at Work Conference.”

2. Lead with storytelling

Set the tone for the event by getting whoever does the welcome address – such as the CEO, President of the Association or someone else - to share a personal story linked to the topic of the event. The audience will be engaged from the get-go, and will feel emotionally connected to the host and in turn, the organisation putting on the event. 24 Spice Summer 2023

Encourage speakers to use storytelling as part of their presentations. For employees of the organisation, members of the Association or Sponsors, storytelling doesn’t always come naturally. Invest in a storytelling coach, as the engagement you’ll get from the audience will be well worth it.

A great way to do this is to give a printed card to each delegate that says, Tell Me a Story About, and then have different options relating to the industry. Examples include, ‘Tell me a story about the biggest lesson you’ve learnt this year,’ ‘Tell me a story about what you’re celebrating right now,’ and ‘Tell me a story about how you came to work in this industry.’

5. Include a Stories that Stir segment within your conference agenda

I work with event professionals to create a storytelling segment within the conference. Six people from the community of the organisation each share a ten-minute personal story linked to the theme of the conference. I help them craft their stories and teach presentation skills, so that they feel confident in their delivery. A segment like this gets people feeling emotionally connected with the storytellers, each other, and the organisation. The magical impression that is formed then leaves a huge impression and will have people raving about your event. n


Find your event inspiration in Melbourne






Tips & Tricks


Bella Gregory – General Manager – Solution Entertainment & Laura Simpson – Entertainment Director – Solution Entertainment


hen it comes to event planning, entertainment isn’t just a checkbox. It’s a powerful tool for creating lasting impressions. Indeed, choosing the right type of entertainment can take your event from ordinary to extraordinary. Here are three ways to really help your entertainment turn heads.

Reinforce Brand Identity: For corporate events, custom entertainment can reinforce your brand identity. Incorporating your brand colours, messaging, or even your tagline into the performance helps establish a strong brand presence.

1. Custom Creations: Unleash Creativity for Unforgettable Moments

Australia boasts a rich pool of talented artists and experts in a diverse range of instruments. While the saxophone has long been a favourite, why not opt for something unique, like a flute player or a hybrid cellist who can play keys, trumpet, and loop pedal? The possibilities are endless, and the result is an auditory experience that’s refreshing and memorable.

One sure-fire way to make your event stand out is by embracing custom creations. In a world where attendees are constantly seeking new and unprecedented experiences, carefully curated custom entertainment elevates your event and immerses your guests, setting your event apart. Why Custom Creations Matter: Tailored to Your Vision: Custom entertainment can be tailored to align perfectly with your event’s theme, objectives, and atmosphere. Whether it’s a custom song, unique costumes, or a one-of-a-kind performance, it ensures a seamless fit. Memorable Moments: Custom creations are inherently memorable. When attendees experience something exclusively designed for your event, it becomes a conversation starter and etches your event into their memory.

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2. Multi-Instrumentalists: Expanding the Musical Horizon

Why Multi-Instrumentalists Shine: Variety in Sound: Incorporating a broader range of instruments offers a fresh and distinctive sound, making your event’s music more engaging and diverse. A Unique Twist: Hybrid DJs, multi-instrumentalists, and unique instrument combinations add an unexpected twist to the entertainment, leaving a lasting impression on attendees. Tailored to Your Event: Different instruments can evoke specific moods or themes. For example, a flute player might be the perfect choice for a tranquil garden event, while a hybrid cellist could bring a modern edge to a corporate soirée.

Tips & Tricks 3. The Devil is in the Details: Elevate Your Event with Intricacy

The secret to creating truly memorable events lies in the details. Every aspect of your event, from the colour palette to the artists’ costumes, hair, and makeup, can be meticulously designed to create a cohesive and immersive experience. Consider how lighting, haze, audio, and special effects can elevate the ambiance and add that extra “wow” factor. Why Details Make a Difference: Immersive Atmosphere: Thoughtful details enhance the overall atmosphere, transporting attendees into a world carefully curated to match your event’s theme and vision. Visual Impact: Coordinating costumes and makeup with your event’s aesthetic or theme ensures a visually striking and harmonious presentation. Sensory Delights: Incorporating lighting, haze, audio enhancements, and special effects stimulates the senses. Just remember. It’s not only about selecting incredible talent. It’s also about building them into the guest journey. Entertainment can be more than the party at the end of the night. It’s the moments that take your breath away, that evoke emotions and that spark the curiosity and emotions of your guests. n

Business & Relaxation

better together


PLAN YOUR NEXT BUSINESS EVENT IN AUCKLAND EASY AS ACB Plan an event in Auckland with world-class facilities, spectacular landscapes and city sophistication.

Auckland Convention Bureau is your zero-cost partner for planning and delivering successful business events in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. Let’s plan your next event together.


Experiences CULTURE AND COMMUNITY GIVING Two popular options for unforgettable team building experiences are to either immerse people within a culture and help them on that learning journey, or give them the opportunity to give back to their own community. Examples might include an Indigenous art workshop that connects delegates with purpose, or an inspiring giveback opportunity where conference guests can take part in an experience that collects and donates essential care items to assist families in need. These are the kinds of events that the team at Hidden Door are finding in demand. With 15 years’ experience in crafting bespoke corporate events, from trade show events to culture club activities, Hidden Door are specialists at providing team building activities and experiential events that deliver on wow factor. The key, they have found, is to craft something unique to the team, whether that is a luxe corporate garden party, a multi-day adventure, or experiential rewards to engage and ignite staff.

Team building with purpose

Connections are more critical to the success of the business than ever. Finding the right experiences for that team’s preferences will help them come together.

BOOSTING COLLABORATION AND COMMUNICATION A strong internal culture comes from having teams that collaborate and communicate with one another better. When a team feels supported, cohesive and energised, they are feeling ‘The Buzz’. Organisers can contact Be Challenged to craft an tailored experience designed to ‘build The Buzz.’ This can mean anything from a chance for some pure fun, right through to those that foster collaboration, communication, and critical thinking. Be Challenged has delivered programs that inject energy and engagement at conferences, such as The Big Picture or Orchestrate, through to stand-alone programs inclusive of Bean Around the World, Synergyk and Beat The Box. Variety is key here, and for that reason Be Challenged has created a menu of 100 programs to meet the objectives of any organisation. Its consultants then work closely with their clients to further customise events to meet their needs. 28 Spice Summer 2023

Experiences STRETCH THE LEGS One great way to bond with your team Is by stretching your legs and taking in some scenery while enjoying some gentle exercise. One option is to embark on an exciting journey through Perth or Fremantle via Peddle Perth’s teambuilding activities, which are are designed to add excitement to a conference program. Through Peddle Perth’s guided team-building tours, you’ll uncover the hidden gems of two of Australia’s most visually exciting cities, delve into their rich history and culture, and soak in breathtaking city vistas. And of course, no team-building activity is complete without a refreshing beer or two, all while rolling on wheels. With so much time at events, conferences and meetings spent sitting down, the Peddle Perth experience not only gives you some different scenery to look at, but also a different way to see your people, while on a true team-building adventure.


The Hour of Power A one of a kind experience The global benchmark in social impact team-building events. Illuminating corporate team events and conferences! A team-building program with purpose SolarBuddy Live’s Hour of Power is a deeply rich and engaging program designed for companies to inspire teams while creating real impact!

Engage educate and inspire

BOOK YOUR TEAM EVENT TODAY events@solarbuddylive.com


solarbuddy live


HIT THE MINI-LINKS For teams that are looking for a way to get together and bond while having fun, the mini-golf experience of Holey Moley caters for teams of all sizes. What makes it particularly effective is that it’s highly competitive, but also hilarious. Team members of all skill levels can feel included and have a good time, and after the stresses of the office or work site, this indoor and low-physicality experience is inclusive and comfortable. Each Holey Moley location is fully catered, so teams can hit the miniature greens for an hour or so of intense entertainment before unwinding at the bar with pizzas, snacks, cocktails and other drinks. The value of entertainment in building teams is more important than ever, and Holey Moley is an opportunity to get the team together while meeting any budget.

BONDING OVER FLAVOUR For teams that want to spice things up a bit, Sydney has a dedicated hot sauce destination, which provides teams with an experience with a spicy twist. THAT Hot Sauce Shop offers a tasting adventure as a distinct team-building event. While on the experience, teams will get to sample a diverse range of hot sauces from local producers, and the powerful flavours promise to boost team dynamics and ignite creativity. Of course, not everyone likes the really hot spices, and the tasting experience can be tailored to match your teams’ preferences and comfort levels. Experiences can be personalised to meet the needs of a small team that has come together for a specific reason, or a large corporate gathering or celebration. Located in Manly, THAT Hot Sauce Shop is an experience that will appeal to anyone that likes the sound of a hot honey mango mojito.

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Flavour Sensations


The Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre is driving new dining experiences that are sourced ethically and fight back against food waste.

risbane Convention & Exhibition Centre (BCEC) is a place where excellence meets sustainability, and it starts with the power of local growers. It starts with a partnership with #eatqld, which enables BCEC to source the freshest ingredients directly from local growers, fishers, and producers. This not only ensures the quality and freshness of every dish, but also supports the local community. Meanwhile, Executive Chef, Matthew Arnold, leads a talented team of chefs in creating culinary masterpieces that delight the senses. His passion for the environment and sustainable practices is reflected in every dish that is on the menu. Across a diverse menu, delegates will be able to experience the unique flavours of Native Australian ingredients, the freshness of locally sourced produce, and the creativity of the experienced and progressive team of chefs at BCEC. Matthew Arnold and his team are also passionate about responsible and ethical dining on every level, and it goes



beyond from where BCEC sources ingredients. BCEC has EarthCheck Platinum accreditation, as a testament to its dedication to operating at the highest international environmental standards. Matthew and his team actively wage war on food waste, continually looking for new ways to introduce sustainable practices into the kitchens. This diligence has meant that the Centre’s kitchens have reduced waste by as much as 80%, while also building strong relationships with local charitable organisations that care for the city’s most vulnerable. If you’re looking to really set an impression, consider the five-course Native Australian Flavours Degustation Menu, offering clients and guests an invigorated and authentic taste of Australian cuisine. International visitors and locals alike appreciate the opportunity to experience local food cultures, and the BCEC is constantly striving to deliver new standards that appeal to every delegate.



AN AUTHENTIC CHARITY EXPERIENCE According to a 2021 University of Sydney study, conventional team-building activities often leave employees feeling disillusioned, deeming them meaningless or time-wasting. In contrast, employees yearn for purposeful, voluntary programs that connect to work or societal causes. They desire opportunities to bond with colleagues while nurturing collaboration & communication. This is what SolarBuddy Live aims to provide, with an approach that involves delivering immersive, collaborative hands-on programs that has tangible real-world outcomes. The central offering is SolarBuddy Live’s “Hour of Power” program, which not only addresses the need for meaningful team-building exercises, but also addresses the adverse effects of extreme energy poverty by positively impacting the lives of children by gifting them their very own solar device. Participants build a light and write a personal letter, both that are gifted to a child, and they leave the experience knowing they have contributed something meaningful to enhance that child’s life.

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With customisable, scalable, and carefully curated experiences that are designed to cater to the unique demands of venues, stores, councils, and events, Cirkus Skool represents an opportunity for a truly different team-building experience. Each of the team-building programs on offer involves learning circus tricks within a safe workshop-style environment, and the tricks learned can be tailored based on confidence and the comfort levels of everyone in the group. These are designed to unleash creativity and get people thinking outside of the box, while having some real fun with co-workers in the process. These courses support teams by building trust, improving communication, and boosting morale. Groups have fun while also learning valuable things about themselves and their teammates.

Events Uncovered 2023

Thank you for an event to remember! The Industry came together at the Sydney Masonic Centre on 10 August to hear from some of the leading experts on a broad range of topics, and celebrate our strength and resilience as a sector.

CONNECT. LEARN. PLAY. 34 Spice Summer 2023

Events Uncovered 2023

Image credit: Oneill Photographics

“Over the years, we’ve learned the importance of pivoting, staying agile, and continuing to adapt. People have changed the way they engage with events and events have changed the way they are delivered.”


aking place at the Sydney Masonic Centre (SMC), right in the heart of the city, Events Uncovered 2023 welcomed a broad range of events professionals to discover and discuss the latest innovations, products and services across industry sectors. Attendees explored the exhibition before heading into the Grand Lodge to learn from some of the industry’s leading experts on future trends, and a suite topics of critical importance, including mental health and wellbeing, sustainability, future trends, and much more.

For events pros, by events pros

Events are back and they’re here to stay (touch wood). In a post-COVID world we’re seeing events flourish again in new and creative ways and our brief was to bring the industry together and highlight the latest trends, innovations and offerings. It’s no small feat creating an event where the guests themselves are experts at creating incredible events! But with a well-crafted program with industry leading speakers, a carefully curated exhibition, jaw dropping entertainment and a day full of surprises we think we nailed it. → spicenews.com.au 35

Events Uncovered 2023

CONNECT. LEARN. PLAY. Delivering the experience

Designing an experience for leading event professionals is not for the faint hearted. But that didn’t stop our team. Over the years, we’ve learned the importance of pivoting, staying agile, and continuing to adapt. People have changed the way they engage with events and events have changed the way they are delivered. Online and hybrid style

events are far more common than they were pre2020 and this means as event professionals we need to keep our finger on the pulse of both new innovations and technology and user and attendee behavior. We were thrilled to see so many people together in the room at Events Uncovered 2023, and the level of engagement in deep diving through the current trends through the Spice Knowledge Sessions and exploring the exhibition space was great to see.

We’ll be back

It seemed that everyone that attended loved this Image credit: Oneill Photographics

year’s event! We were overwhelmed by how positive the feedback was, and validated when attendees told us that what they valued from Events Uncovered 2023 was the ability to connect with fellow industry peers and learn from insightful speakers at the Spice Knowledge Sessions. That was what we were aiming to achieve, after all. Thanks to the success of the event, we have been able to reaffirm the message that events are indeed better together. n

SAVE THE DATE Tuesday, 23 July 2024 MCA, Sydney Book your stand for 2024 now by contacting hello@eventsuncovered.com.au 36 Spice Summer 2023

Where Exceptional Conferences & Events Belong

conferenceandevents@vr tp.com.au

events.themeparks .com


Summer Venues


Summer Venues

Australians love a good summer soiree. Whether it’s on a boat on our iconic bays and oceans, indulging in our iconic architecture, or basking in the warmth of our sun, there are world-class venues to make any event memorable.

Village Roadshow Theme Parks

Village Roadshow Theme Parks can cater to the largest of summer events, where delegates can enjoy both leading conference facilities and captivating entertainment. For example, within Sea World Resort, the state-of-the-art conference centre and fully equipped function rooms can accommodate up to 1,000 delegates. Additionally, organisers can take advantage of six versatile function rooms, 402 hotel rooms, and a multitude of unique venues for social functions before, during and after the main event. In total, there are four world-class theme parks available, each offering unique attractions, rides, and entertainment. Organisers can choose to take over any theme park for an exclusive private event or make the most of multiple locations all in a single day. Whether the event is for grand celebrations or team-building activities, organisers can select from a wide array of function venues across six properties, guaranteeing an unforgettable experience for all. 38 Spice Summer 2023

Summer Venues Parliament House, Sydney

Located in the heart of Sydney, this heritage-listed building is rich in history and full of hidden surprises. Originally built in 1816 as Australia’s first hospital, this remarkable building has evolved through careful expansion and restorative work to accommodate the two democratically elected Houses of New South Wales Parliament. For event organisers, there are nine unique event spaces, including a stunning conference room that features floor-to-ceiling garden views and state-of-the-art conference facilities. Across the building, Parliament House is an ideal historic location for a wide range of events and hosts anything from conferencing for up to 160 delegates, lunch and dinners for 300 and stand-up cocktail events for up to 700.

SeaLink Marine and Tourism

For those looking to host an event on the water, The Jackson is a luxurious $15 million vessel that graces Sydney Harbour. Named after the shimmering waters of Port Jackson and designed for Sydney’s conditions, this luxury vessel brings both elegance and luxury, with all three decks able to accommodate up to 650 guests in a cocktail-style setting. This makes the yacht suitable for everything from corporate events, product launches, gala dinners, and weddings. Each level of the boat features a dedicated bar, bathrooms, 5-metre curved LED screens, and integrated sound systems. Stylish decor and furnishings adorn both indoor and outdoor spaces. The vessel is complemented by The Jackson Flyer, a sister luxury tender vessel that offers seamless transportation on and off the Harbour. Another option is Starship Sydney, a premium glass vessel that offers versatile spaces, state-of-the-art facilities, and stunning tinted glass windows, providing an impressive setting for events accommodating up to 350 banquet-style or 950 cocktail-style guests across the entire vessel.

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Summer Venues

Café del Mar

Café del Mar Sydney is part of a global brand with popular venues around the world. Famous for spectacular sunset views, premium dining, and the globally loved Café del Mar chill house music brand. It offers a food and drink selection paying homage to life in the Mediterranean, allowing delegates to indulge in sensational tapas, sharing platters, and mains, complemented by a comprehensive drinks menu and decadent desserts.

Peppers Noosa

For those looking for a coastal experience, Peppers Noosa Resort & Villas offers a pillar-less main event space that caters for 350 guests, and can be broken down into three smaller rooms featuring high ceilings and large external doors, which can either block off natural light completely or allow the sunshine and warmth of the Noosa National Park in. Complementing the ballroom is an large, 87-seat Theatrette and Executive Boardroom. To assist organisers, the technical team offer a complete event staging solution, including hybrid digital event services and set design, creating immersive experiences for delegates for anything from presentations to workshops. Meanwhile, the stunning coastal location provides countless opportunities for team-building activities such as beachside games, coastal hikes, and water sports, setting the stage for an unforgettable conference that brings business and recreation together in an iconically Australian way.

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Café del Mar Sydney’s sophisticated interior creates an atmosphere of relaxed comfort and is effortlessly stylish, and features a private dining room for those who want to host an event away from the main restaurant floor. Luxurious elements and raw accents combine to bring the space to life. The venue is further split into an expansive contemporary dining room and lounge bar area, complete with plush sofas, while waterfront entertainment comes to life on the sun deck. With table seating, additional lounge space and shaded banquettes, this iconic destination is at home in the world’s greatest harbour city.

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Golden opportunities The Gold Coast is fast becoming a premier business events destination where business and pleasure harmoniously intertwine in a sun-soaked setting, writes Lana Bogunovich. The Langham, Gold Coast

Gold Coast, Queensland

Taking luxury to new heights, this absolute beachfront property offers 169 hotel rooms and 170 apartment-style accommodations from which delegates can soak up views of the Pacific Ocean or Hinterland. To impress the most discerning clients, host them in the impeccably appointed Chairman’s Suite. Located on the 20th floor, it can host up to five guests with two large bedroom and bathrooms and two separate lounge areas, as well as a study, dining area and butler’s pantry. For small to medium-sized events, The Langham, Gold Coast has 11 versatile function spaces, including up to five meeting rooms on its Mezzanine level, while the 618-square-metre grand Diamond Ballroom can host up to 400 pax banquet. With its 7.5-metre ceilings, textured walls and state-of-art AV provided in-house by tech experts Dreamweavers, this spectacular venue brings the glamour to prestigious events.

JW Marriott Gold Coast Resort & Spa

K “The opportunities for creating engaging and memorable events stretch from coast to hinterland and promise a unique and productive experience.”

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nown for its sun-kissed beaches, thriving culinary scene and adventurous spirit, the Gold Coast is a hive of captivating experiences superbly suited to business and incentive events. This coastal Queensland gem boasts world-class venues and unique experiences for conferences, meetings, incentives and all types of corporate gatherings. Whether it’s a theme park takeover or a one-of-a-kind regional dining experience, the opportunities for creating engaging and memorable events stretch from coast to hinterland and promise a unique and productive experience for planners and attendees alike.

Setting the Gold standard

Combining world-class amenities with stunning coastal vistas, the Gold Coast’s upscale hotels redefine the standard for corporate events. These opulent venues offer the perfect setting for meetings, conferences, and other types of corporate gatherings, promising an experience of unparalleled elegance.

With its bright and breezy interiors, lush gardens and saltwater lagoon with cascading waterfall, JW Marriott Gold Coast Resort & Spa oozes tropical holiday vibes at every turn. Situated in Surfers Paradise, this luxurious 5-star resort features 238 spaciously appointed guest rooms and suites with sprawling ocean or hinterland views. The resort’s new spa, Spa by JW, is a top highlight, providing a sanctuary complete with six treatment rooms, saunas, steam experience showers, and relaxation pods. Group bookings and full spa buyouts are available with a range of experiences and packages available, including high tea, making it ideal for incentives and corporate retreats. For meetings and events, the dedicated conference floor on level two offers 2,000 square metres of event space, with 11 flexible spaces available for all event requirements. The largest of these is the JW Grand Ballroom, providing 680 square metres of pillarless space for up to 1,000 cocktail. It is geared for vehicle access, large-scale exhibitions, gala dinners and product launches and can be divided into separate spaces. →


An oasis on the

Gold Coast Bringing a relaxed ambience to your event can put delegates in the right frame of mind.


W Marriott Gold Coast Resort & Spa is a place that truly embodies the values and unique spirit of the Gold Coast experience. It’s a chance to go beneath the surface, discover and reconnect. Worlds away from your daily routine, you can choose the rhythm for you and your delegates to connect with what is important in life. JW Marriott Gold Coast Resort & Spa’s design is inspired by the natural beauty and relaxed ambience of coastal Queensland. The expansive resort is both a serene and energised oasis in the centre of the Gold Coast. It’s a sanctuary for natural, relaxed luxury and exceptional dining that becomes the canvas for a journey of discovery, and ultimately renewal of the self. JW sets the stage with 2,000 square metres of meetings and events space, a haven for large conferences and corporate gatherings. Featuring 11 scalable spaces, JW Marriott Gold Coast Resort & Spa has perfected the art of events and meetings. For us, meetings, seminars, conventions and incentives are more than just business; they are personal. We value partnership and understand that respect and customer service is to be nothing less than extraordinary and genuine. Accommodating a total of 238 rooms and suites, starting from a generous 42 sqm in

size, the hotel boasts panoramic views of the hinterland and ocean, and is located a short walk to the beach. Utilising local produce, the culinary offerings celebrate seasonal product offerings and are created using sustainable and ethically sourced ingredients, regional products with an ocean/paddock to plate concept. Furthermore, paired with local farmers and producers, the culinary team are enabled to create ‘menus with a purpose’. Collaborating with Currumbin Wildlife Hospital, JW delegates and guests are invited to assist in the rehabilitation of the Koala conservation by volunteering time for tree planting or exclusive behind the scenes tours, raising much needed funds for the program. The hotel’s Mindful meeting program offers delegates mindfulness and well-being activations throughout their stay, including lavender scented amenities, poolside yoga oxygenating the brain, mood boosting foods, fundraising with mindful acts of kindness or to simply indulge in a Spa by JW experiential treatment tailored to their individual needs. In each case, the focus is on delivering distinctive benefits: Calm, Indulge, Invigorate and Renew. We are passionate about delivering excellence and ensuring your event is purposeful and imaginative.

Book and confirm your 2024 event before 20 December 2023 to receive a Sensory Spa Experience at Spa by JW valued at $690. Terms and conditions apply.

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Destination Dorsett Gold Coast

Australia’s first Dorsett hotel has put a fresh and vibrant spin on business events and corporate accommodations, combining the best of modern inner-city style with idyllic beachside vibes. There are 313 contemporary, light-filled accommodations designed with the corporate traveller in mind, which feature large a flat-screen TV with Google Chromecast, complimentary high-speed WiFi, work desk and spacious bathroom with walk-in rain shower. The hotel’s Level 19 Executive Lounge gives corporate guests the VIP treatment with a private space to take in the panoramic views over breakfast, snacks, and sunset drinks and canapés, making it a great spot for informal meetings and down time. The new-build hotel is situated within the leisure, entertainment and events precinct at The Star Gold Coast, offering a one-ofa-kind experience for business events with world-class bars and restaurants, gaming, spa, event spaces, and direct access connecting to Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre (GCCEC) via an undercover footbridge.

The Langham, Gold Coast’s Diamond Ballroom gala set-up JW Marriott Gold Coast Resort & Spa King Oceanview guestroom

The Star Gold Coast

The Star Gold Coast recently unveiled the region’s newest luxury event venue; Level 18 at The Darling. A part of property’s portfolio of premium event spaces, Level 18 boasts coastal views in expansive light-filled spaces that can cater to functions of all sizes. Both the Miami rooms and Penthouse are complimented by wrap-around balconies overlooking panoramic views of the iconic Gold Coast skyline. With a central Broadbeach position, quality finishes, onsite catering and a dedicated events team, this exceptional venue provides a private, exclusive oasis for VIP events. For large-scale events, planners can also take advantage of The Event Centre – a state-of-the-art theatre and conference facility which can host up to 2,300 delegates – and for fun and frivolous alfresco functions, there’s the rooftop poolside venues, Isoletto Pool Club and Isoletto Privé.

Level 19 Executive Lounge

Take over a theme park

Bring your event to life with the magic and excitement of Village Roadshow Theme Parks with a complete takeover of one of their world-class theme parks. With spectacular attractions, an award-winning resort and premier conference and exhibition centre, the options for corporate events are endless. Delegates will love having exclusive access to adrenalin-pumping rides and attractions, while private areas and themed dining options can be tailored to suit any event. Each theme park has its own distinctive charm and attractions, presenting an exciting canvas for unforgettable experiences – and, you can take over any one or combine multiple locations all in one day. Bursting with a stellar cast of screen legends and amazing venues, Warner Bros. Movie World will make your guests the stars of the night as they walk the red carpet surrounded by lights, fans and paparazzi. From thrilling roller coasters and character meet-and-greets, to unique themes like Hollywood Glitz & Glam, Western Showdown, and Super Heroes, your only limit is your imagination. At Sea World, throw a spectacular Atlantean party in the new Atlantis precinct or a Festival of Fun in the Plaza. At the recent This is Gold Coast 2023 event, Destination Gold 44 Spice Summer 2023

Level 18 at The Darling function space

Destination Coast threw an epic event in this new precinct, complete with food festival style catering and remarkable entertainment that included an incredible laser and pyrotechnics show from Skylighter Fireworks; drummers, fire twirlers and roaming characters from Izit Entertainment; and DJ, saxophonist, and mirror laser violinist from Velvet Rope Entertainment.

This is Gold Coast 2023 at Atlantis, Sea World

Think pink

Elevate your private event to a theatrical spectacle that will have your guests tickled pink at the iconic and eclectic Pink Flamingo Spiegelclub in Broadbeach. This cabaret and dinner theatre venue is renowned for its captivating cabaret performances, featuring talented artists who deliver an array of entertainment, from aerial acrobatics to burlesque shows. Whether you’re after an exclusive space or whole venue buyout, the retro-chic décor, glittering bar tops and plush pink furniture will allow you to create a one-of-a-kind event that oozes glitz and glamour at every level. There are two spaces which can be hired exclusively, each one with its own bar – The Nest (23 pax) and The Birdcage (80 pax) – while full venue hire gives you 808 square meters of space for up to 600 standing or 186 seated. The venue’s culinary offerings are equally impressive as are the innovative cocktails, all of which can be tailored to your event with a dedicated events team on hand to ensure every detail is just as it should be. →

“Delegates will love having exclusive access to adrenalin-pumping rides and attractions, while private areas and themed dining options can be tailored to suit any event.”

At The Langham, Gold Coast, discover a collection of tastefully appointed venues designed to host memorable celebrations of varying sizes, from intimate gatherings to large business conferences. 38 Old Burleigh Road, Surfers Paradise QLD T (61) 7 5638 8888 langhamhotels.com/goldcoast


Pink Flamingo Spiegelclub


YOT Club’s YOT 75

“There's few things better than sipping champagne aboard a luxury superyacht at sunset.” Set sail

There’s few things better than sipping champagne aboard a luxury superyacht at sunset. YOT Club’s dreamy superyachts are so much than your usual party boat, offering sophisticated floating venues for stylish events. Have your event set sail across the tranquil waters of Gold Coast Broadwater on YOT Blue (58 pax), an 80-foot stunner with three entertaining areas and retractable sunroof, or on YOT 75 (68 pax), which offers two spacious levels, each with its own full-service bar. Kick off or end the night on land at YOT Deck – a summer pop-up venue situated in Mainbeach offering delectable Australian cuisine and multiple spaces set against sprawling marina views.

Events with artistic flair

Artistic excellence meets exceptional hospitality at Home of the Arts, simply known as HOTA. Situated on the banks of Nerang River in the heart of Surfers Paradise, HOTA is the largest regional arts and entertainment centre in Australia. In addition to showcasing the best of the region’s dynamic arts and culture scene, this dynamic venue also offers numerous indoor and outdoor spaces for hosting memorable events. Spread across four levels and surrounded by beautifully landscaped parklands, you’ll find: The Plenary – Theatre 1, which seats up to 1,128 across two levels; two Cinemas (218 and 148 pax); the light-filled Panorama Room with terrace (100 pax); the airy and highly versatile Lakeside Room and Lakeside Terrace (500 and 100 pax); the HOTA Outdoor Stage ideal for large outdoor events and HOTA Lawn Bar for alfresco cocktail events for up to 150 guests. You also won’t want to miss the opportunity to treat your delegates to an exquisite dinner at HOTA’s hatted restaurant, Palette. → 46 Spice Summer 2023

Kiff & Culture’s Fire to Fork experience


A Paradise & A Playground


QT Gold Coast has recently been renovated, and the transformation delivers true luxury and an ideal space to impress

T Gold Coast, the epitome of five-star luxury, has undergone a transformative upgrade, blending designer elegance with the relaxed vibe of coastal living. This reimagined resort is more than just a place to stay; it’s an immersive experience that captivates your senses from the moment you step inside. The resort’s design is a harmonious collision of designer luxe and coastal cool, creating an atmosphere of playful sophistication. Each of the 293 guest rooms and suites, along with the exclusive qtQT Cabins, have been meticulously redesigned to provide an urban oasis for modern travellers. Whether you’re on a solo adventure, planning a group getaway, or organising an innovative event, these accommodations offer a curated experience that goes beyond the ordinary. The resort’s design ethos is deeply rooted in the local culture, reflecting the vibrant energy and laid-back charm of the Gold Coast. The interiors are a visual feast, with bold patterns, vibrant colours, and eclectic furnishings that echo the coastal surroundings. The resort’s commitment to sustainability extends beyond its operations. It also encourages guests to embrace eco-friendly practices during their stay. From recycling programs to sustainable dining options, QT Gold Coast is leading the way in green hospitality. The staff at QT Gold Coast are dedicated to providing exceptional service. They go above and beyond to ensure every guest has a memorable stay. Whether you need recommendations for local attractions or assistance with event planning, they’re always ready to help.

QT Gold Coast isn’t just about luxurious accommodations; it’s also a premier destination for conferences and events. The resort now boasts 12 state-of-the-art event spaces, each equipped with cutting-edge technology to meet the needs of today’s tech-savvy clientele. From intimate gatherings to grand ballroom events hosting up to 650 guests, QT Gold Coast has redefined what it means to host an event. But the transformation doesn’t stop there. The resort now features a stunning rooftop cocktail venue, offering breathtaking views of the Gold Coast skyline. It’s the perfect place to unwind after a day of meetings or exploring the city. The poolside precinct is another highlight, providing a tranquil space to relax and soak up the sun. Food and drink are integral parts of any getaway, and QT Gold Coast doesn’t disappoint. The resort is home to award-winning restaurants that serve up a variety of culinary delights. Whether you’re in the mood for local cuisine or international dishes, these dining establishments promise an unforgettable gastronomic experience. In line with its commitment to sustainability, QT Gold Coast has implemented eco-friendly practices throughout its operations. From energy-efficient lighting to watersaving fixtures, every aspect of the resort has been designed with sustainability in mind. In short, QT Gold Coast is more than just a hotel. It’s a meticulous designer playground that offers an escape from the ordinary. Whether you’re here for work or play, you can expect your stay to be extraordinary.

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Destination Savour a taste of the Coast

The Gold Coast’s culinary ethos is a blend of fresh local ingredients, international flavours and sustainability, making it a haven for foodloving business events. When it comes to creating mouth-watering experiences in some of the region’s most breathtaking settings, Kiff & Culture are your go-to experts. Specialising in immersive experiences on the Gold Coast, Kiff & Culture create customised events, incentives, tours and itineraries that offer an authentic regional experience through connecting with local flavours, purveyors and artisans, and landscapes. From vineyard tours to gourmet dining and multi-day epicurean adventures, Kiff & Culture have a range of experiences which can be tailored to your event’s specific needs. A favourite experience is the Long Lunch in the Orchards, which can cater for groups of up to 60 pax. Hosted within a secluded section of the beautiful orchard at Tropical Fruit World, guests are treated to a stunning chef-crafted banquet of local produce and regionally crafted beverages whilst immersed in a beautiful alfresco setting. Fire to Fork is another signature outdoor dining experience, where food is cooked over an open fire, bringing a theatrical element to your team lunch. There are several partner venues which can host this event, including wineries, distilleries and a hinterland country estate, with capacity for up to 800 guests, depending on the venue. The experience can also be enhanced with a range of beverage packages, entertainment and other add-ons to help bring your vision to life. n

Burleigh Head National Park view towards Gold Coast city skyline. Image credit: Lana Bogunovich


Make time for mindfulness with a guided walk in the picturesque Burleigh Head National Park. Jellurgal Aboriginal Cultural Centre offers guided tours along a scenic beachside rainforest walkway during which you can learn about First Nations culture, traditions and history.

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Ninety minutes to paradise Forget planes, trains and high priced city hotels, and carpool your way south to the picturesque and sleepy seaside Illawarra region of New South Wales for your next corporate retreat, Brad Foster writes.


ore and more Sydneysiders are calling the New South Wales Illawarra region their home and for good reason. Housing is cheaper (just), beaches are uncrowded (almost), and the coffee is just right (most definitely). The main regional city of Wollongong is around 90 minutes from Sydney and has plenty of hotels for the conference market and holidaymakers. But for any Sydney-based corporate meeting planner that was looking to take a small to medium sized group away for a two- or three-day conference retreat, another suggestion would be to turn left before you even get to Wollongong and check out the villages that are scattered along the coast. These are the towns of Scarborough, Coledale, Austinmer and Thirroul. All have something distinctive and original to give delegates a change of pace. Additionally, if you turn off the Pacific Highway at Lawrence Hargrave Drive on your way from Sydney you will also pass through the pretty little village of Stanwell Tops where you might see a hang glider or two. This area has everything from clifftop mansions to quaint workers cottages, cool cafes, pubs where live music is still a thing, and plenty of restaurants.

Headlands Hotel Austinmer

Austinmer is home to the aptly named Headlands Hotel, a boutique self-contained apartment complex with around 50 accommodation rooms of different sizes and configurations. The rooms are accented by coastal touches – soft light furnishings and large balconies with many offering views over the beaches literally a stone’s throw away. Leave your balcony door open and you can hear the waves crashing just below as you drift off to sleep. Headlands is best suited to group sizes of up to 60 guests. Not surprisingly, the majority of meetings that are held here are from Sydney and Wollongong. The top floor Ocean View Room can seat up to 200 people and has a superb balcony with views to die for. It can be configured into either north or south spaces to suit smaller groups or separate sessions. Headlands also has the Sundowner Lounge space for smaller group sizes or to allow larger gatherings further break-out space. Conference packages are also extremely competitive and include free parking for guests. Dining is available within Headlands in the a la carte restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner. → spicenews.com.au 49


FAST FACTS • The Illawarra’s largest city is Wollongong with a population of 240,000 • Headlands Hotel is located in Austinmer approximately 90 minutes from Sydney

An aerial view overlooking the Kiama Blowhole in Kiama. Image courtesy of DNSW

Breaks can be had poolside or in the outdoor terraced area with nothing but uninterrupted ocean views to savour along with the flavoursome food. Friday evenings and over the weekends, wood fired pizzas and dumplings can be enjoyed form the on-site 1968 Airstream Sovereign food truck that appears to be permanently parked near the north deck area of the property. For those wishing to get off-site for one night of their stay, the nearby Scarborough Hotel is a must visit. Built in 1886, The Scarborough is perched on the Illawarra escarpment’s cliff edge just south of the stunning Sea Cliff Bridge and only 10 minutes from Headlands Hotel. There is a large, grassed area at the rear that is the perfect space for a lunch that will help your delegates totally unwind after a half day of conference sessions. And if your group prefers a little more action than relaxation, visit the Illawarra Fly Treetop Adventures for some hair-raising zip-lining through the tropical rainforest. It’s also close by, and an excellent way to get the adrenalin pumping.

Above: An ocean view room at Headlands Hotel, Austinmer

• Destination Wollongong can assist with accommodation and itinerary ideas (www.visitwollongong.com.au)

Kiama is known for the tourist-pulling Kiama Blowhole, a natural rock formation that causes the waves to send jets of water high into the sky when the tides are high. Water rushes through a cave and up through a hole causing such a spray that on a good day can cover an unwary tourist standing behind the safety barriers. A little further south is the seaside village of Gerringong, again full of a mix of historic homes and modern houses that take full advantage of their seaside position. Gerringong has an Airbnb property called The Pause which was the darling of interior design magazines a few years ago thanks to its Bahamas and Singaporean-inspired styling. A stay at this five-bedroom retreat doesn’t come cheap but it would definitely be one that you’d be sharing on your socials if you were lucky enough to extend your Illawarra visit. Near to Gerringong, the tiny town of Berry is yet another place to visit. It has larger accommodation options than most towns in its vicinity that are still under two hours from the Sydney CBD. Importantly, remember wherever you do end up in the Illawarra to pack your swimwear. Beach culture is big here. Then again, with surf shops all down the coast, maybe it’s time to treat yourself to a new pair. n

Exploring the Illawarra

So how long have you got? If you have the time or don’t feel like going home just yet, head south from Austinmer, skirt around Wollongong and take in a pub lunch in the historic township of Kiama. 50 Spice Summer 2023

Illawarra Fly Treetop Adventures. Image courtesy of DNSW



Drowning in communication, but starved for connection


he digital era has given us more control than ever over how and where we work, shop, and interact. No longer are we tied to the physical world or even having to be present to complete tasks or transactions as technology supports us to seamlessly run our lives. Digital communication tools keep us connected to friends, family, work colleagues, clients and suppliers. According to research this year from Meltwater and We Are Social, Australian Internet users are spending an average of five hours and 51 minutes online each day as we keep in touch across social media platforms, emails, text messages. Before you’ve even finished your morning coffee, you find out Aunt Mary is taking her dog to the vet, your work colleague is on vacation in Vietnam, there has been a change of leadership at Qantas, your boss is working remotely today, a supplier has a new range of sustainable products, the trains are disrupted, there is an event at your child’s school tomorrow, you have two virtual meetings today, your purchase order for a piece of equipment requested has been approved and there is a new starter joining your team. You’re drowning in a wave of notifications, and you haven’t even spoken to anyone yet… Sound familiar? While productive, this lifestyle is not creating real human connections. The family WhatsApp chat lets you know that Aunt Mary’s dog is okay, but you’ve not actually had an in-person catch up since Christmas. Our digital networks are growing but how many of those followers do we know well enough to reach out to work on a project together, recommend for a role at your company, or invite to lunch just to catch up?

Modern life sees us inundated with everincreasing amounts of information. Digital communication and technology have overhauled our lives, but social isolation is a growing epidemic. Cliftons Event Solutions CEO, Vanessa Green, explores how our need for human connection is not being met and how the events sector can help to address this need. Despite our increased channels of digital connection, social isolation is on the rise, with recent data from the HILDA survey (one of Australia’s leading sources of information on economic and personal wellbeing) showing a decline in frequency of social contact of 11 per cent from 2001 to 2020. It’s not surprising then that IACC survey data revealed that networking is now one of the most important meeting event objectives. Event attendees are increasingly reporting opportunities to network and meet people as a priority when attending conferences and events. There is no replacement for human connection and conversation. When we are physically together, we generate more creative ideas, learn faster, retain more information, and communicate more effectively, creating deeper bonds. For a holistic approach to wellbeing, let’s encourage bringing human connection back into our everyday lives. As meeting industry professionals, this is our opportunity to drive change for ourselves, our colleagues, and our clients. n spicenews.com.au 51


23 JULY 2024 eventsuncovered.com.au

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