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February 5, 2021
In this issue
“We’re back down in the hole” says Melbourne’s BE and hospitality supremo Bruce Keebaugh
EVENT to manage Yarra Valley Lodge
W Melbourne opens its doors
Business Events Perth responds to WA lockdown
Your weekly grin and tonic

“We’re back down in the hole” says Melbourne’s BE and hospitality supremo Bruce Keebaugh
By Joyce DiMascio
Bruce Keebaugh doesn’t mince words – and nor should he. He’s given Melbourne some of its most luxe hospitality, business events and weddings through The Big Group’s exquisite portfolio of venues and event services – but we caught him on a bad day.
Had we spoken to him the day before, his disposition would have been more upbeat and optimistic, he says.
It’s the morning after Victorian premier Dan Andrews’ media conference at which he announced a 26-year-old Melbourne quarantine hotel staffer had tested positive to Covid-19 - re-triggering a plethora of safety, tracking, testing and quarantine measures across the country.
While Melbourne is not a declared hotspot, the implications for day-to-day hospitality operations right now, and the restart of business events down the track, are frustrating.
And yes, the see-saw of madness created by the pandemic and the risk-averse responses from our governments continue to pound business events and most of all – business confidence.
Reflecting on the ups and downs, the highs and lows, the optimism and despair – Keebaugh said regretfully - “We’re back down the rat hole.”
Continue reading here. 
EVENT to manage Yarra Valley Lodge
This week Yarra Valley Lodge became the latest hotel to join Event Hospitality and Entertainment Limited’s (EVENT) portfolio. Located at the gateway to the Yarra Valley region, the hotel is set to benefit from the Australian-owned EVENT’s distribution network and Priority Guest Rewards loyalty program.
Yarra Valley Lodge boasts 102 country lodge style guestrooms which open directly onto gardened terraces or a private balconies. Surrounded by nature, the estate features a variety of walking tracks and is located near the Heritage Golf and Country Club championship courses. It also boasts onsite dining facility Bella Restaurant and The Lodge Bar.
Grant Fleet has been appointed as general manager.
W Melbourne opens its doors
Restrictions may be placed on gatherings in Victoria due to recent Covid cases, but W Melbourne has opened its doors for when things return to normal. The 294 room and 29 suite hotel sits at 408 Flinders Lane, and aims to bring to life Melbourne’s laneway culture and emerging music scene.
For MICE groups, the hotel offers 830 sqm of event space, including The Great Room which spans 426 sqm and features no pillars and an artwork on the ceiling by Melbourne artist Ash Keating. The Great Room also boasts a 4m x 5m LED wall for elevated visuals.
Another unique feature is Curious, a cocoon-inspired cocktail bar with a laneway entrance, and WET, a gold roof adorned pool which has a poolside bar and DJ booth.
Business Events Perth responds to WA lockdown
On Sunday, the Perth, Peel and South West regions of Western Australia (WA) commenced a five-day lockdown in response to a confirmed community transmission case of Covid-19 involving a security guard working at a Perth CBD quarantine hotel.
As of Thursday, February 4, no new cases have been detected in the WA community, with close to 30,000 tests conducted since premier Mark McGowan’s emergency announcement on Sunday.
Business Events Perth has responded to the ongoing situation, saying it fully supports the measures that have been implemented by the government.
CEO of Business Events Perth Gareth Martin commented: “Depending on the duration of the lockdown, there will be disruption to business events, which we hope will be short lived.
“Business Events Perth will continue to support our members and clients, and we are already proactively working together to encourage the postponement of events, rather than cancellations.
“This support continues across local state-based events as well as national and international business events.”
Your weekly grin and tonic
After the week we’ve all had, this grin and tonic video by Darren Isenberg is much needed.
The humorous compilation features a twist on the old saying ‘death by PowerPoint.’ Darren has put together a bunch of slides that are either amazingly bad, amazingly sad, or amazingly funny and clever.
Grab a beverage of choice and have a giggle through the slides here. 
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