fortnightly bite-sized news and ideas for the corporate event planner
24 September 2021
Forever on the quest for the best of the best (hello, Dr Suess), we’ve decided this week to highlight - and give a proverbial clap on the back to - an award-winning venue. Last week’s Australian Event Awards & Symposium on the Sunshine Coast saw Sydney Showground snatch the coveted award for Best Achievement in Venue Management. It’s hardly a surprise considering the team managed over 150 major events in the qualifying period, including incentive dinners for over 6500 guests, the meticulously prepared Invictus Games House (which saw the team serve up 52,000 specially-designed meals) and the recent X Games. On the win, general manager Peter Thorpe was the picture of joyous pride. “Sydney Showground is honoured to have received this award,” he said. “Our team continues to push boundaries, delivering innovative and big experiences to our clients... Events such as the Jeunesse Global dinners in May and more recently Invictus Games House are testaments to that.”
What can we say but bravo, Sydney Showground. Stay tuned for the December edition of micenet to read a case study about this incredible venue. To subscribe, click here.
• The Sunshine Coast’s Events Centre at Caloundra will close between December 2018 and April 2019 while it completes a $6 million redevelopment. The upgrades will comprise an updated theatre, covered deck area, function room, a covered entrance and more.
• New Zealand’s newest design-driven hotel, SO/Auckland, has rolled out the red carpet and welcomed its first guests in the heart of the city. SO/Auckland marks the seventh addition to the SO/ collection around the world, and features rooms with volcanic designs and a rooftop bar.
• Santai Retreat on the NSW North Coast has re-opened under the Oaks Hotels & Resorts brand. Oaks Santai Resort Casuarina offers a score of updated facilities, including 100 suites with a Balinese style, a palm-fringed lagoon pool and a fully-equipped meeting room that can host up to 60 delegates.
• Following a multi-million-dollar refurbishment, the grand hotel at the corner of Spencer and Little Collins Street has re-opened as The Savoy Hotel on Little Collins. Previously known as the Vibe Savoy Hotel Melbourne, the new-look property features 163 guest rooms in a classic palette, a sophisticated lobby, a 10-storey atrium replete with chandeliers and a boardroom featuring timber, leather and stone.
• Next month will mark the start of a major refurbishment for Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa, Denarau Island Fiji. The rejuvenation will centre on the resort’s popular Waitui Beach Club, with the addition of 24 beach cabanas, a welcoming arrivals area, a beach-side cocktail bar with sunset views and an undercover dining space with room for up to 40 guests.
• Melbourne & Olympic Parks has unveiled a slew of refurbished venues across its world-class events precinct. Both Rod Laver Arena and Margaret Court Arena have been refreshed to offer new event options, and stage three of the venue’s $1 billion redevelopment will commence shortly.
Globally-renowned workshop to open EVOLVE2019
MEA’s annual conference in Brisbane next year is set to hit the ground running with a creativity workshop on day one of proceedings. Presented by international presenter and experimenter Richard Foulkes, along with Game of Inches author and speaker Nigel Collin, ‘The Creativity Hot Seat Workshop’ will invite attendees to ask hard-hitting questions about creative thinking.
Participants will learn how to differentiate intangible ideas from tangible ones to solve problems and make money, how to ignite creative thinking in business, how to share and learn from the ideas of their peers and why carrots are important.
Wait, what? Anyway… we’re sure it’ll be insightful and our curiosity is sufficiently piqued (is it because they’re good for your eyesight, Nigel?).
To register for EVOLVE2019, click
Roll up, roll up
On Monday, the micenet team attended MEA NSW’s Christmas Party, and its Dark Circus theme touched upon every nostalgic bone in our bodies. The Marquee at The Star setting was dressed in dazzling circus get up for the occasion, complete with blazing signage, dimmed lighting, a face paint stand and carnival clowns.
To sate our re-ignited fondness (and procrastinate from what we’re supposed to be doing) we’ve trawled the web and feasted our eyeballs on the very best in vintage circus event décor. Enjoy some delights courtesy of Decorative Events
Mike Pence who? Sell TNQ a success despite U.S. Vice President visit
By Graeme Kemlo
Regardless of the presence of US Vice President Mike Pence and a huge security detail in and around Hilton Cairns (preferring a TNQ sleepover to PNG during APEC), the annual Sell TNQ managed to avoid the secret service kerfuffle as business events delegates and media from Australia and New Zealand went to Port Douglas.
Sell TNQ’s usual full-day speed dating session between buyers/media and sellers was held for the first time, and to delegate acclaim, aboard a 60 metre vessel Quicksilver 8, well beyond roadblocks, prying eyes, FBIs and earnest types speaking into their cufflinks.
Story continued
One for the foodies and beeries
Howard Smith Wharves has opened the first venue in its revitalisation project: a 1000 square metre, 500-seat wholesale and retail brewery. Felons’ Brewing Co. is run by a team of professional beer experts, and serves up freshly brewed drinks and seafood-focused food.
The brewery also features a striking 47-metre-long sign across its roof which is visible from the air, and an expansive deck which extends across the Brisbane River.
On its opening, Howard Smith Wharves founder Adam Flaskas said “We are proud of being able to bring a brewery to the people of Brisbane right on their riverfront… This is just another step in bringing Howard Smith Wharves back to their former glory.”
Dessert canapés
We could include a bunch of synonyms for 'delicious' to justify dessert at events, or we could just say that most people like it and we’re yet to hear of a complaint over cake. Bite-sized dessert canapés have the dual benefit of not being too heavy on the stomach and letting delegates know when the night is winding up.
This platter from Hacienda Sydney should provide some inspiration. If you need some more, our editor’s favourite sweet is crème brûlée, our managing director likes lemon merengue pie, our digital editor favours cheesecake, our office manager enjoys a good sticky date pudding and our account manager is partial to some Italian nougat gelato. Donations are welcome.
Big name hotel brands are great for a lot of reasons. Quality assurance! Reward programs! Across the board facilities! The BE industry is in unanimous adulation of brands we know and trust.
HOWEVER, a recent epic fail encountered by one of our readers has uncovered an unthinkable (and highly obscure) big brand flaw. Our reader (Let’s call him Mr Anonymous) had booked and paid for a Melbourne-based band to feature at a 4pm gala dinner in Sydney. When the hour rolled around, he received a phone call from the band asking where he - and the rest of the event’s attendees - were. A figurative where-are-you-no-that’s-where-we-are tug of war followed, with both parties eventually discovering that one lot was in Melbourne and the other lot was at the same hotel chain in Sydney. With some quick thinking, Mr Anonymous found another band to fill in, but let this be a reminder to quadruple check the address of your event.
 special deal 
Good as gold
This deal out of Mercure Gold Coast Resort is so good we had to awkwardly email the venue three times to make sure we understood it correctly. Organisers who make a booking at the hotel before December 31, 2018, will score each of their delegates an all-inclusive deal with a customised Mindful Meetings package, complimentary venue hire, one night’s accommodation with a full buffet breakfast, complimentary parking and WiFi, all for a meagre $130 per person. The venue boasts eight indoor conference rooms with sweeping views of the Gold Coast hinterland, as well as a score of outdoor spaces, such as the 900-pax The Green, 250-pax Oasis Poolside and 140-pax deck. Find out more here.
how to...
Pick the right technical partner.
Three leaders in the field share five things to look for when selecting a technical partner.
Click here to learn more.
 hot speaker 
Will you accept this MC?
The sun has set on another year of Bachelor hysteria, but it’s not all doom and dead roses. The franchise’s lovable host, Osher Günsberg, is now available to MC events. Prior to toying with hearts around the country, Osher hosted Australian Idol, worked the midnight-to-dawn shift on B105 radio and headed up Channel V request show By Demand. He has also published a memoir, Back, After the Break, which details his battles with mental health. To discover more about Osher, click here. If you ask really nicely, he may even channel his subdued rose ceremony voice.
 entertain me 
Picture perfect
Remember the caricature you had drawn up at an event that time? There’s a good chance it was the work of Brett Bower, a professional cartoonist, animator and illustrator whose work spans four decades and includes design stints with Scooby Doo and Mambo. Brett provides an array of services for events, including sand art, MCing and animated presentations, and takes bookings directly from venues and clients (meaning you can circumvent agent commissions). Find out more about Brett here.
how to....
Feel better about your own event mishaps.
Sometimes you just need a little perspective. Here, you can breathe a sigh of comparative relief that a real life lion hasn't run rampant at your cocktail event. (Yep, it's happened.)
Click here to learn more.
    Events on boats (especially now the weather's warming up.)
    Having to wait for AGES for food and drink at events.
 learn about 
 quick fix 
• Heading to the same city for next year’s event? You may want to think again. Those in the know have told us that holding your event in the same location year after year creates the perception that the conference program has remained the same. In the words of The Cars, shake it up.
• We feel a little embarrassed even typing this… but in case it wasn’t abundantly obvious, fish is not vegetarian. We’ve heard of one too many venues making this unfortunate faux pas recently.
• Want attendees to hang around till the end of your event? Hold a competition, and don’t announce the prize winner until late in proceedings. Our managing editor Brad Foster knows the magnetism of a trusty competition draw, and was lucky enough to snag a two-night stay at Emirates One & Only Wolgan Valley with a return helicopter ride at a Sydney event last week. (He’s sure glad he didn’t pack it in early that night.)
• Let this week’s torrential downpour in Sydney be a reminder of the importance of weather-proof backup event spaces. Rooftop bars are incredible venues until Mother Nature decides she has other plans. Make sure another room at the venue is available just in case.
Visit our Daily News and Opinion for daily updates
on everything relating to business events
PCOA Conference
December 9 - 11, 2018
The Business of Events
February 7 – 8, 2019
Sheraton on the Park, Sydney
February 18 - 20, 2019