fortnightly bite-sized news and ideas for the corporate event planner
23 August 2019
If you happen to visit Geelong and hear ‘We are Geelong’ emanating from a nearby speaker, it’s likely got more to do with the fact that the city is getting a $170 convention and exhibition centre than it has with The Cats winning any games. The exciting plans were launched as part of the Geelong City Deal economic boost, which is aimed at bolstering the city’s tourism industry. Upon completion, the centre, which will command the site of the car park at Deakin University’s waterfront campus, will offer room for 1000 delegates, have 3000 sqm of pillar-less exhibition space, banquet facilities, meeting rooms and a business centre. A four-star, 200-room hotel located next to the precinct is also slated to open. No word yet as to when it will be launched. Wonder if the ribbon will be cut before The Cats' next grand final triumph?
• Come early 2021, IHG will open a flagship regional Holiday Inn in Wagga Wagga on iconic heritage site ‘The Mill.’ Holiday Inn & Suites Wagga Wagga will be the largest hotel in the city, offering 148 rooms, an indoor restaurant and bar, a Mediterranean-themed piazza and a first-class conference centre capable of hosting events for more than 300 people.
• Emporium Hotel South Bank has officially opened its much-anticipated Piano Bar. The new space, which can cater for up to 100 for private functions, features a grand piano, which will be played daily from 4 pm, a curved bar, a custom-made chandelier and laser cut steel bi-fold doors.
• Following their opening in December, dual hotels Novotel Melbourne Central and ibis Melbourne Central have launched a range of events and conferencing packages. Collectively, the hotels offer three spaces that can cater for 160 delegates, and their food and beverage packages are catered by the Pretty Boy Italian Steakhouse, with banqueting options including shared plates and an a la carte menu.
• Things are getting a little bit fancy across the ditch, with more than 4000 luxury hotel rooms projected to open in Auckland over the next five years. Some of the opulent offerings will include the 195-room Park Hyatt Auckland, the 300-room The Ritz Carlton and the 244-room InterContinental Auckland.
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
Headlands Austinmer Beach - The Cliff-hanger Conferencing Package
Gather your team and conference on the cliff’s edge this winter at the multi-award-winning Headlands Austinmer Beach! Located on the picturesque south coast of NSW just one-hour’s drive south of Sydney, Headlands is certain to impress your delegates.
For a strictly limited time, receive:
* Overnight luxury apartment style accommodation
* Full day delegate package for the price of a half day including:
- Morning tea
- Working lunch
- Afternoon tea
* FREE breakfast, FREE AV, FREE Wi-Fi and FREE secure parking.
ONLY $183pp twin share.*
*Book before April 30, 2019, for events to be held between June 1, 2019 and August 31, 2019. T&Cs apply.
To book, phone: 02 99225520 or email
TCEB supports small event buyers from Oz
If you're an organiser of small events with an affinity for The Land of Smiles, your day just got a whole lot better. Buyers from Australia who organise events with upwards of 80 guests can now apply for financial support to complete a site visit in Thailand.
The Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) has shifted its policy to accommodate for smaller buyers, having previously reserved the support for large-scale conventions. Those interested will be able to find out more and apply for site inspections at the TCEB sponsored roadshows on April 2 in Sydney and April 4 in Melbourne.
Find out more here:
…And for the large event buyers, there’s Byron
All is not forgotten in big event land. Two new conference packages based on bringing indigenous Australiana to life have been launched by The Byron at Byron, both of which are suitable for large-scale conferences. The Spirit of Byron Package includes a traditional smoking ceremony, digeridoo entertainment, an indigenous rainforest tour and a native menu featuring coal grilled kangaroo rump with native pepper berry.
The Best of Byron Package aims to quintessentially showcase the region, and features an al fresco dining experience beneath the stars with a menu from executive chef Minh Le. Organisers can also select from a range of local experiences, such as fire twirling, tarot card reading, acoustic busking and chakra healing.
ACB seeks Australian-based business development professional
The Auckland Convention Bureau is looking for an Australian-based business development professional to help further position Auckland, New Zealand as a truly inspiring destination for business events.
In the lead up to exciting global events in 2021, the city is undergoing impressive development that is already transforming the events landscape, making it an exciting time to be a part of growing Auckland as a destination.
Apply now at
Site visits in your jammies
Imagine completing a hotel site inspection without stepping foot in the building. At home while in your jammies, even. Now you can stop imagining it because it exists.
There has been a groundswell of popularity around Virtual Reality (VR) site visits of late, the most recent addition coming from The Westin Sydney. Together with Encore Event Technologies, the hotel now allows guests to tour event spaces and even virtualise what their event will look like with theming, decorations, alternate floorplans, site lines and screen positions.
We soon won’t have to leave the house to do anything, will we?
We all love a bit of music at events, but, as is the case with the art form itself, timing is everything. We recently heard of a trade show where the amplified sounds of a full-blaring rock band greeted visitors in the registration area – which made asking questions of assistants, greeting old and new faces and generally navigating the space with a clear mind supremely difficult.
Next time you’re tasked with scheduling entertainment, we suggest prefacing each act with the following question: Would this be better enjoyed at the start of the day, or with a wine in hand at the post-show networking drinks?
 special deal 
Hawaii eight-eight-0
Hawaii – aka the island paradise of volcanoes, waves and sweet, sweet Mai Tais - has never sounded like a better destination for incentives with Hawaiian Airlines’ new group fares.
Starting from $880 return per person in economy, the deal includes a generous 2 x 32kg luggage allowance, and fliers are provided with meals, beverages and entertainment.
To get a quote for your group, contact Joyce Weir at
how to...
Create a conference agenda.
If you’re keen on learning something today, make it these nine tips for creating a conference agenda, courtesy of Megan Peters.
Click here to learn more.
 hot speaker 
For Pete’s Sake
Having reported from the front line of the world’s most dangerous countries before being incarcerated in an Egyptian prison for 400 days, if anyone has a story to tell, it’s journalist Professor Peter Greste. Fortunately those attending EVOLVE 2019 will hear all about Peter’s sham trial, solitary confinement and detention - as well as the lessons he’s subsequently learnt about resilience and having a clear sense of mission - when he headlines the conference this month. For those of you not attending, you can read the abridged/text form/not as good as the real thing version here.
 entertain me 
The road less travelled by
Event royalty Peter Jones AM has the unique ability to make a room full of event profs hang off his every word. So, when he effusively recommended poet Rupert McCall as entertainment for corporate gala dinners at a recent conference, we were straight onto Google looking him up. Rupert is the author of six anthologies of verse that have collectively sold more than 100,000 copies, and is oft described as ‘the poet of our generation’. Peter recommends employing his services to poetically delineate the history of a company or cause, and while the thought of poetry at an event admittedly conjures an image of yawning delegates, we think Rupert may be a little different. Find out more about him here.
how to....
Stop committing email faux pas.
Do you rattle off a rapid fire succession of emails at all hours of the day and while in every mood? Matt Crouch thinks you need to stop.
Click here to learn more.
    Purple lighting.
    Indoor pyros.
 learn about 
 quick fix 
• If you’re organising an event with speakers, make sure their speeches are accompanied by PowerPoint slides displaying their names, titles, organisations and even contact details. We recently attended a conference that didn’t include any of this information, and it made attributing quotes and having follow-up questions answered exceedingly difficult.
• Attending a networking event as a supplier or a buyer? Take your business cards with you! We’ve been surprised by the number of people we’ve met at functions who simply didn’t think to bring them along. Who knows what opportunities a business card exchange could open up? Also, a lot of events have lucky draw business card competitions, so, by forgetting them, you’re potentially missing out on prizes.
• Candle-lit dinners provide an intimate point of difference for night time events, but don’t forget to have enough candles on the table for everyone to see their food. Yes, someone in our team recently ate three courses in complete darkness and no, it is not an experience they wish to repeat.
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