fortnightly bite-sized news and ideas for the corporate event planner
5 July 2020
One of the key announcements at this week’s AIME was the appointment of AEG Ogden as the operator of Te Pae convention centre in Christchurch, a move that will aim to put the South Island city on the world map. On the appointment, director of convention centres for AEG Ogden Geoff Donaghy said “We are very privileged as we understand the important role a convention centre plays in a community, not just economically but socially. It goes without saying how wonderfully resilient the Christchurch community is, rebuilding their rightful place, not just in the New Zealand economy but in the Asia Pacific and global economies.” The announcement coincides with news that Cairns Convention Centre GM, Ross Steele, will be heading across the ditch to take up the GM role. On his new role, Ross said “I’m absolutely delighted to be moving to Christchurch. It’s the gateway to everything that’s pure about New Zealand, and I can’t wait to get there in the middle of its regeneration and give it the success that it deserves.” The news comes almost eight years after the tragic earthquake that rocked Christchurch to its very core. Te Pae is taking bookings from October 2020.
• Following the announcement of Ross Steele as the GM of Te Pae in Christchurch, Janet Hamilton has been promoted to manage the Cairns Convention Centre. Janet will depart the Darwin Convention Centre, which she helmed for five-and-a-half years.
• From October 2019 onwards, Alexandria Park at the Brisbane Showgrounds will be open to host external events. The park will feature two acres of additional green and event space, including an existing 1300m2 undercover events pavilion known as Building 8.
• A score of new event spaces have been announced in Cairns & The Great Barrier Reef region, including a rooftop bar overlooking the Coral Sea and a pontoon on the outer reef. The spaces have been launched ahead of a $176 million expansion and upgrade of the Cairns Convention Centre, which is scheduled to commence in May, and a $55 million upgrade of the domestic terminal at Cairns Airport.
• David Pugh has been appointed to the role of executive chef at the BCEC. David is one of the country’s leading chefs, and has spent more than two decades at the forefront of Australian cuisine. His influence on the centre’s menus will be guided by his belief in seasonal Queensland produce.
• The features of a new world-class function and media centre at Melbourne & Olympic Parks have been revealed. The centre, which will open in 2022, will include a 2000 square metre pillar-less ballroom, a 800 square metre pre-function area, a 250-seat auditorium and a range of breakout rooms.
• DoubleTree by Hilton has revealed its expansive hotel pipeline, with 200 of its planned hotels located in the Asia Pacific. The hotel chain will open 14 properties in the region this year, including in Australia, China, Thailand and New Zealand, adding to its global portfolio of more than 560 properties.
Innovation on the Menu at Hyatt Regency Sydney
Leave a lasting impression on your guests with a new event concept at Hyatt Regency Sydney.
Putting guests in the driver’s seat, the dining experience sees every guest allocated a responsibility to select salads, sides, meat, breads, dessert and beverages on behalf of their table. Breaking down the perception that all event menus are standard – this innovative approach to dining puts the decision-making into the hands of guests in real time, allowing them to choose what they would like to eat and drink for the night.
Ideal for networking events between 100 – 300 people. To find out more phone 02 8099 1234 OR visit
Read more about the concept
Hits and misses at this week’s AIME 2019
The new design elements on the show floor at AIME in Melbourne this week was a definite hit with attendees at the reimagined show in 2019.
Local hosted buyers we spoke to were impressed with the new look and the exhibitor participants, and exhibitors were impressed with the majority of hosted buyers they spoke to.
But not everything was peace, love and mung beans. We’ll be talking to the organisers about the absence of coffee at the morning and afternoon tea breaks and how they could justify attendees at the second night networking event having just five tokens to use for food and drink.
Our maths has never been real good, but with a ticket for this event in the vicinity of $150, those tokens equate to being worth $30 each. Watch this space folks…
Planning meetings at our seaside favourites is a breeze
A dedicated Crowne Plaza® meetings director or manager will work with you from start to finish to make sure your meeting runs like clockwork. From cocktail making sessions at Coogee Beach, an energising sunrise yoga at Surfers Paradise, to a walk to The Skillion at Terrigal - enjoy unique meeting experiences like no other.
For an extra memorable meeting, start making plans today and book before December 2019.
Let’s Meet.
The Big Convention Centre
Election time is nearing and the promises are coming thick and fast, with some making more sense than others.
Talk this time is on a proposed new convention centre. It’s a big project!
Saddle up for the horse’s birthday
In Australia, every horse has its birthday on August 1. The Australian Turf Club venues are celebrating by offering events booked and held before August 1, 2019, complimentary upgrades including gelato bars, canapes, lucky door prizes, giveaways and more!
As an added bonus, book your event in the new space at Royal Randwick, The Stalls, to receive four tickets to Australia’s richest race on turf, The Everest.
For more details, race to
We can't tell you
... But if you really want to know, click here.
Events on boats are popular for a reason. Done right, they provide a champagne-fuelled, sunset-framed, salt air-scented adventure for attendees. Done wrong, they turn into an adventure of the Poseidon variety. This was unfortunately the case for a micenet associate, who attended a rather embarrassing boat party on New Year’s Day.
As the harbour water lapped against the boat’s exterior, the sun scorched a fierce 40 degrees. More than 500 revellers crammed inside the vessel and spilled onto the deck, with ‘doof doof’ music emanating from the speakers. As the guests danced and mingled shoulder-to-shoulder, the boat began its dangerous Titanic-esque tilt. As it continued tilting, tilting, tilting, people began to feel the effects of their empty stomachs (the entire five-hour trip was sans food), the heat (the air conditioning was not working), dehydration (water was scarce and had to be paid for), and, for some silly party-goers, the overheating effects of MDMA. The party ended with organisers hauling everyone inside and hosing them down, creating a literal flood on the floor.
...And then Gene Hackman emerged from the woodwork with a heroic escape plan involving rope and an upturned Christmas tree. Not really, but we'd much rather stay at home with a movie than attend a mess like this.
 special deal 
Hamilton Island
Confirm your Hamilton Island business event before June 2019 to score a complimentary cocktail function with 30 minutes of beverages and canapés, 10 per cent off day delegate packages for the Hamilton Island Yacht Club and Resortside venues and a complimentary lemon, lime and bitters station. Offer valid for events with a minimum of 50 guests or with a total of 50 room nights. Further conditions apply. Find out more here.
how to...
Avoid writing dull copy.
According to Malcolm Auld, a lot of people transition straight from writing letters to Santa to marketing their businesses, at their peril.
Click here to learn more.
 hot speaker 
Now that Karl Stefanovic has said sayonara to The Today Show (well, more accurately, they said it to him), he’s presumably got a lot more free time. Come to think of it, aside from the odd appearance at Nine, what IS he doing now? We predict that this uncertain time between gigs will involve a lot more corporate speaking jobs for Karl. He may not necessarily be a ‘hot speaker’, but he could start popping up a lot more. Would you consider this ex morning TV presenter’s oddball mix of larrikinism and slightly offensive humour for your event?
 entertain me 
Turning the tables
Big name musicians are guaranteed to add excitement to events, but they often come at a hefty cost. If you’re after entertainment that’s engaging, memorable and doesn’t break the bank, try turning the tables and involving your guests. At this month’s The Business of Events conference, Peter Jones AM cited a few successful examples of reverse entertainment. Our favourite was the time his team organised a dinner and had all men walk down the right side of a hall and all women walk down the left side, where more than 300 racks of band costumes awaited. The men and women picked costumes at random before being matched with their corresponding band members (i.e. Ringo and Paul from the men’s side had to meet up with John and George from the women’s). The newly-formed groups were then tasked with performing for the audience, providing a show for the entire night. You may have to increase your beverage budget to make this kind of thing work, but we reckon it’s worth it.
how to....
Lose your ego.
In order to succeed at the Sisyphean task of public speaking, we must first get over ourselves, writes Lynne Schinella.
Click here to learn more.
    Interactive dining experiences.
    Sit-down three-course meals.
 learn about 
 quick fix 
• If you’re running an event with speakers, try and limit the agenda to no more than two speakers in a row before scheduling a break. Anything more and peoples’ minds will invariably wander to food, their need to go to the toilet, their kids’ undone homework, Donald Trump’s latest tweet or what to cook for dinner.
• Still on conference agendas, we recommend putting your heavy content first. Audiences are more likely to absorb management reports and results presentations early on, and will appreciate having a laugh in the afternoon.
• A recurring criticism we’ve heard recently is that events with music that is far too loud render networking nearly impossible. People want to hear each other talk, so make sure you do your research regarding the acoustics of your event space and tailor entertainment accordingly.
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