BY BRAD FOSTER

Brisbane Marketing has embarked on a strategy to give PCOs and meeting planners greater insight into the city, with Brad Foster attending one of the famil programs.

Brisbane’s growth as a world-class business events destination is being showcased through a new Brisbane Convention Bureau famil campaign designed to introduce interstate meeting planners to Brisbane’s best business events products and suppliers.
The Grow Famil Campaign is a series of two-day familiarisation experiences devised to connect meeting planners and professional conference organisers to Brisbane’s new and vibrant meeting places and hidden gems.
On the two-day experience I attended a dozen or so meeting and event planners from New South Wales and Victoria were taken through some of the leading venues in and around the city, with plenty of surprises to first-timers and those who hadn’t been to Brisbane in some time.
A real surprise package and one of our early stops after touching down and checking into the Sofitel Brisbane Centre was Hillstone St Lucia (pictured above), which is just 10 minutes from the Brisbane CBD. This is one venue that appears to work well for groups that don’t want to do everything in the heart of the city.
The property offers a range of meetings facilities with a maximum capacity of 800. Located overlooking the St Lucia Golf Links, it offers exceptional views that belies its close proximity to the city.
Following a healthy morning tea in the clubhouse restaurant – again with fantastic views over the golf course – we took to the putting green with the resident golf pro for a “putt off” which Hillstone staff say can be utilised for small groups before, during or after meetings programs.
Heading back into town we undertook site inspections of the Stamford Plaza beside the Brisbane River (252 accommodation rooms and meeting facilities for up to 320), the four-and-a-half star Novotel Brisbane, the Brisbane Marriott (five-star luxury nestled between the city and Fortitude Valley), and the Hilton Brisbane, located above the bustling Queen Street Mall.
Afternoon tea was held in our accommodation for the night, the Sofitel Brisbane Central, with the executive chef giving participants a real taste of how creative the food and beverage team can be.
Pre-dinner drinks were held at the Stokehouse which is located in River Quay, a newly developed area at South Bank. Perched right on the river and just a short stroll to the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, this venue appears to be one of the city’s hotspots, with the majority of tables and drinking room taken on the night we attended.
It was then off to the Rydges South Bank which sits next to the convention centre for a fantastic dinner.

Day 2

Up early in the morning, our group took off for another relative unknown property to out-of-towners for breakfast. Just two kilometres from Brisbane’s CBD, Victoria Park is a real surprise package with eight function rooms including a large marquee overlooking the golf course. This property appears in pristine condition and would be well-suited to small to medium-sized groups (it is particularly popular for weddings).
A presentation at the Royal International Convention Centre followed, which will add another dimension to the Brisbane conference market when it opens next month (March).
Morning tea at the Royal on the Park (see thumb’s up this edition) was a treat, as was a transfer by bicycle along the Brisbane River to the Gallery of Modern Art and Queensland Art Gallery.
Lunch at the purpose-built Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre was followed by a site inspection of the multi-million dollar works currently being done on the historic Brisbane City Hall.
Brisbane Marketing Convention Bureau business development manager, Eva Sorben, encourages anyone who hasn’t been to Brisbane recently to register for a Grow famil.
“Brisbane has rapidly grown in status as a destination of choice for business events and the growth and emergence of unique, world-class venues and event services on offer in Australia’s new world city are definitely worth a look,” she said.
“As a guest of Brisbane Marketing you will have the opportunity to unearth an exceptional range of venues, accommodation and event services to help you start planning your next meetings and events.”
Grow famil registrations include a two-day hosted familiarisation experience of a selection of Brisbane’s business event products and suppliers, as well as return economy-class airfares to Brisbane from your nearest capital city in Australia. Participants also receive accommodation for one night and all meals and transfers.

Grow famils runs until May 2013. To register your interest visit
www.meetinbrisbane.com.au/brisbanefamil

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