NAME: Mary-Jane Devine

BUSINESS NAME: Crystalbrook Collection

POSITION: Account director, conference & incentive

What are you working on right now in anticipation of a return of events?

Business event requests and bookings are flowing back in (slowly, but they’re coming!) Recognising that travel anxiety is at an all-time high for many Australians right now, Crystalbrook Collection has launched a program called Mindfully Safe. This means we’ve upped the ante on hygiene, as you’d expect, but also we place an equal emphasis on travel-safe wellbeing for the mind. Crystalbrook has partnered with The Indigo Project to provide all meeting attendees with (free-of-charge) feel-good, zen-inspiring, meditative goodness for a clear mind and productive meetings.

Crystalbrook events are sustainable, mindful and meaningful. Each Crystalbrook hotel has a Covid-safe event operational plan with reimagined breakfast, banquet, food and beverage offerings, social distancing between all guests in meeting and event setup arrangements (our large event spaces definitely helped this!), virtual meeting facilitation, automatic sanitisers accessible in all event spaces and zones and deep cleaning of all high-touch areas.

What’s open?

Little Albion, a Crystalbrook Collection Boutique Hotel – Sydney –  open

Riley, a Crystalbrook Collection Resort – Cairns – reopened on July 1

Byron at Byron, a Crystalbrook Collection Resort – Byron Bay – reopens September 1 with a multi-million dollar refresh to boot

Bailey, a Crystalbrook Collection Hotel – Cairns – reopens September 1

Flynn, a Crystalbrook Collection Hotel – Cairns – opening 2021

Kingsley, a Crystalbrook Collection Hotel – Newcastle – opening 2021

What’s one lesson you have learnt during the COVID-19 lockdown period?

Face-to-face connections should never be taken for granted! There are just some moments that can’t be replaced with Zoom…

Another thing – just how remarkable this industry is. To see our industry rally around each other, lending support and checking in with each other has been amazing and heartwarming.

What do you value more now than you may have pre-COVID-19?

Freedom of travel (both domestic and international!), our teachers’ remote learning services and having a manicure!

How do you think events will change in the future?

Australia, Australia, Australia! Our beautiful country will be (and I believe will continue to be) the focus –it’s got everything we need! Regional Australia in particular will be a popular consideration for business events. There’s a golden opportunity to rediscover the beauty in our backyard and to ‘give back’ to our tourism communities.

Corporate culture, team morale and mental wellbeing will be a hot topic as businesses start looking towards the future. Companies will need to incentivise, thank and reward their teams now more than ever – in a responsible, meaningful and mindful manner.

There will be smaller waves of events, more targeted incentives, shorter-leads, a CSR focus and a back-to-basics approach.  Clients, hotels and suppliers will all collaborate and work much closer in partnership to redesign the programmes with delegate safety paramount.

 Why are events important?

Now, more than ever, we recognise the importance of face-to-face meetings for teams to reconnect.

The combined value of the business events industry to our economy has been increasingly evident during Covid-19. The length and breadth of our industry has demonstrated how many companies are reliant on business events and highlighted the significant support we need from corporate Australia to keep meeting meaningfully and responsibly.