fortnightly bite-sized news and ideas for the corporate event planner
6 July 2020
History has been made with the signing of the first Sofitel Hotel & Services Residences in the buzzing metropolis of Seoul. Slated to open in 2021 in a commercial tower, the hotel will feature 563 rooms and suites, an all-day dining restaurant and bar as well as meetings and events space. It will be located adjacent to Jamsil Subway Station, and appeal to business travellers due to its close proximity to the Coex Convention and Exhibition Center. On the signing, senior vice president of development, residential and extended stays at Accor, Jeff Tisdall, said: “This is the first Sofitel Serviced Residences to be announced globally and it will form the basis of a very special collection of luxury serviced residences. This signing marks our continued expansion into serviced apartments and extended stay solutions.”
• In its third year of operation, the ICC Sydney attracted 1.4 million delegates and generated AUD $896 million in direct expenditure for the state.
• Sofitel Brisbane Central has confirmed upgrades to its conference floor which are in the plans for 2020. The changes will include the conversion of four boardrooms into two multi-function event spaces; a ballroom wall and ceiling refresh to complement the room’s technology upgrades; updated service equipment and new soft furnishings across the conference floor.
• Five years on from its opening, Novotel Geelong has revealed a locally-inspired upgrade. All 109 guest rooms in the four-star hotel have been refurbished with a new paint scheme, carpet, curtains, chaise lounges, feature walls, smart TVs and furnishings.
• In the fiscal year 2018-19, the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) hosted 1000 events, attracting a record 8.5 million visitors. The venue is currently in the middle of a five-year, US $128 million advancement project to maintain its world-class infrastructure and services.
• A new-build Accor hotel has opened in The Fiddler hotel precinct – a major dining and entertainment hub in Sydney’s Hills District. Mercure Sydney Rouse Hill offers 78 modern guest rooms, a fitness centre and conferencing and events spaces.
Exhibitor registrations open for MEETINGS 2020
Yep, it’s already time to think about next year’s MEETINGS. Exhibitor registrations for the event – which will take place between April 21 and 23, 2020 in Auckland - opened this week.
Exhibitors have already indicated strong interest, and the team from CINZ have shared that six pre and post show famil programs will take place across the country in Northland, Rotorua, Wellington, Christchurch, Queenstown and the Waikato region.
This year’s MEETINGS generated a record $62 million of business signed by exhibitors on the show floor.
To register, click
AIME sets sights high for 2020
Leading meetings and conventions event AIME has set its mission for the 2020 show – set to take place between February 17 and 19, 2020 in Melbourne – with a particular focus on diversity.
Organisers hope to increase hosted buyers by 50 per cent and exhibitors by 30 per cent, and, seven months out from the event, have already booked out 65 per cent of the show floor and 50 per cent of the Hosted Buyer program.
To register for AIME, click
Byron at Byron’s spring offer
Spring is one step closer to springing with the Byron at Byron’s new conferencing offer. Executives who book an event at the resort before November 31 will enjoy a complimentary two-night escape package that can be used as a delegate reward or incentive.
The package for two is valued at $1250 and as well as two nights’ accommodation, includes daily breakfast and dinner in the award-winning, one-hat Byron at Byron restaurant.
Terms and conditions apply. To find out more about the venue, click
Wine blending
Forget wine tasting – wine blending is where it’s at. This interactive and hands-on activity allows groups to mix different grape varieties and vineyard parcels to achieve their ideal taste and texture.
We recently took part in a wine blending workshop at City Winery Brisbane as part of the Sofitel Brisbane Central famil. Resident winemaker Dave Cush talked the group through the fermentation process, oversaw the mixing and provided feedback, until everyone had perfected their own unique blend.
The best bit? We all took home a bottle of our creation. Nothing to whine about here.
This week we’re casting our minds back to October, when contributor Stu Katzen shared a belief-defying horror story. During a ‘you won’t believe this’ anecdote swap, one of Stu’s associates told him of a time he worked for a client with a lion on their logo. This client had the genius idea to include a real lion on stage at their event, encased in a clear Perspex box.
Upon receiving this box, organisers noted that it looked much smaller than expected, and was glued, not bolted, together. It didn’t take long for the sleeping lion to wake up, attempt to move, become irate, break free of the box and run around the ballroom, terrifying those in attendance. A lion handler was eventually called and the situation remedied, but, seriously… how scary.
The upshot of this? As Stu said, when things go awry at your event, “take a breath and count yourself lucky that there isn’t a lion in the room.”
 special deal 
Written in The Star
There’s no news that warms up our winter more than a discount on fancy accommodation. The Star Grand Hotel and The Darling Hotel Sydney have come through with the goods, offering 35 per cent off stays in suites and other rooms this chilly season.
The offer also includes Moet and Chandon on arrival, as well as breakfast for every night of your stay. Offer valid for bookings before August 31, 2019.
Find out more here.
how to...
Measure up.
Recognising valuable professional development opportunities and putting yourself forward is imperative, write Jessica Christy and Ashleigh Cooper.
Click here to learn more.
 hot speaker 
A true hero
Attendees at this year’s Get Global were captivated by the inspirational story of Curtis McGrath OAM. Kiwi-born Curtis joined the Australian Army at the age of 18 and was two months into a tour of Taliban-rife areas in Afghanistan when tragedy struck. After stepping on a homemade landmine, Curtis lost both of his legs. But rather than giving up, the incident strengthened his resolve and he went on to become a gold medal winning Paralympian. Find out more about Curtis’ story here, and if you decide to book him, be sure to stock up on tissues.
 entertain me 
Colour us amused
People have enjoyed having their picture sketched since at least 5000 years ago. It’s one of those indulgent luxuries – a bit like having your fortune read – that isn’t going anywhere. Its perennial entertainment-factor was evident at the recent Sofitel Brisbane Central famil, where each delegate had their picture sketched by Brisbane-based illustrator Kaili Saba. Everyone responded with widened eyes and lowered jaws, followed by exclamations of delight. Might be worth employing the services of a similar artist at your next event.
how to....
Book the right speakers.
Avoid the morning after walk of shame with these tips from Lynne Schinella.
Click here to learn more.
    Gardening-themed tables.
    Burlap table runners.
 learn about 
 quick fix 
• Staying hydrated while on the job? Are you sure? If you could be doing better, buy one of those drink bottles that displays what you should have drunk by what time. They can be bought from Woolies.
• Clearing your emails may seem like an insurmountable task, but it doesn’t have to be. Make processing folders such as ‘action’ or ‘waiting’ and then work through the former, prioritising the most important tasks.
• While on the topic of email clearing, you can set up a rule on Outlook to redirect ‘FYI’ emails – AKA ones that don’t require any action – into another folder. Thank us later.
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on everything relating to business events
October 7-10, 2019
ICC Sydney
CINZ conference
October 29-31, 2019
PCO Association Conference
December 7-9, 2019
ICC Sydney