Impact Publications : MiceBTN_61
Page 52 • MICEBTN - NovEMBEr 2015 cess. We have two primary methods of offering incentives. The first is from a collective funding base of Brisbane Mar- keting with support from Brisbane Con- vention and Exhibition Centre, city hotels and airlines. We also tap funding support from Tourism and Events Queensland for major international meetings and events where competition is extremely tough. We could always use more funding, but we do exceptionally well with what we have and the return on investment is very good. Are there any promotional programs that focus on Brisbane F&B, attractions on offer to delegates including partner programs? One particular program is very suc- cessful. It’s called the South Bank Con- cierge and comprises deals and offers by 58 services, restaurants, retail shops and tour operators utilising the South Bank shopping precinct. Another well-re- ceived package is our Brisbane Greeters program. This service offers free city walking tours. Our Brisbane Welcomes The World is a volunteers program that originated out of the G-20 meeting. We employ a full-time conference promo- tions manager whose role is to match suitable programs to delegates when we win a major group or conference. She works with the conference organiser to develop programs suited to the delegate mix and conference topic. We also offer conference organisers the opportunity to use our marketing templates and other tools to engage delegates before they come to Brisbane to maximise attend- ance and enhance their whole experience. Sydney and Melbourne tend to dominate the meetings business in Australia with strong government support and infra- structure development. How is Brisbane performing in the meetings business, par- ticularly in the all-important associations and incentives circuit? We are now positioning Brisbane as Australia’s ‘New World City’. Using the G-20 reputation we gained for excel- lence, we are also promoting our reputa- tion for research and technology. When conference organisers bring a meet- ing to Brisbane it is also an oppor- tunity for the association or society to grow local membership. One of our key selling points when talking to prospective clients is an organisers’ site inspection. This enables them to see first hand how easy it is for del- egates to get around and to access major services and attractions. In the last three-to-five years, Brisbane has undergone much positive change especially in our major precincts and our culinary choices. Infrastructure development has been exceptional with new facilities, transport and accommodation options. Next year we will have some 14,000 three to five star category hotel rooms in the city’s inventory. This will increase to nearly 17,000 by 2018. New hotel builds include Australia’s first Next Hotel, W Hotel along with a Rydges and two more Ibis properties. And the much publicised Queens’ Wharf, regarded by many as the jewel in the crown, will transform Brisbane city’s waterfront into a new accommodation, dining, entertainment gaming and retail precinct. When we look at what our competitors offer business tourism, Brisbane offers a compelling proposi- tion. China is expected to be a major contrib- utor to Australia’s tourism numbers in coming years. What is Brisbane doing to capture its share of that source market? Big things are expected. China and Asia overall are already a major gener- ator in terms of tourism numbers. Up to June 2015 we saw an increase of 26 per cent (165,000) in tourist numbers from China. The business tourism sector is not as robust as the tourism sector from China, but we are seeing growth, particularly in the incentives market. Where or what is Brisbane’s biggest com- petition? Our competition comes from al- most everywhere there is a convention bureau. We play to our strengths but we have the utmost respect for rivals both in Australia and internationally. A lot depends on which association or sector we are targeting in the bidding process, but with several new convention centre builds in recent years both in Australasia and Asia, competition is very keen. There is growing evidence that Millen- nials are not so eager to attend shows; they say that a lot of what they used to get from attending shows and events in terms of market intelligence they now get on line or through social media and that travel is becoming a hassle. is that a concern? No. I have not seen much evidence of age impacting on meetings and business events attendance. AACB re- search shows that face-to-face meet- ings is the preferred method across all age groups. We do monitor social media trends and they are having an impact on how various generations communicate, but I still believe the future is very positive for travel and face-to face meetings. There is now greater emphasis on secu- rity in running conventions and events. Has this affected the economics of conference bids? Recent global events have brought security into focus for conferences, meetings and business events. Having hosted a G-20, we are very aware of security issues and the need to create safe environments for delegates. Bris- bane is a very safe and secure desti- nation and I feel very confident in our ability to deliver safe events in the present environment without adding to costs for conference organisers other than normal services. From previous page. INTErvIEW Howard Smith Whar ves ... Promotional programs a success ...