NAME: Stacey Cottle

BUSINESS NAME: Novotel Sydney International Airport

POSITION: Associate director of sales

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

We have been working closely with our AV partner to ensure that we are staying across industry updates in terms of hybrid events and influential technology that is forecasted to change the way planners and businesses present and deliver meeting material. The team has also worked really hard in the kitchen to develop new catering concepts that meet current and changing food standards and don’t compromise quality.

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

People need people! It has been challenging for our clients to find ways to continue operating business with virtual connections and we have noticed that no matter how successful or smooth these online events run, they can never compete with the atmosphere and feeling of connecting with your peers in-person.

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

Connection and relationships. Continuing to develop and maintain a rapport with our clients has changed dramatically, and whilst we have been inventive in the way we continue to support and stay in touch with everyone, nothing beats the connection you make over a hot coffee and a chat.

How do you think events will change in the future?

I think many businesses will be looking at ways that they can reduce travel needs for the near future and this will involve utilising more local venues with a hybrid approach to connecting to attendees. We have already seen the demand in Audio Visual requirements increase to ensure seamless casting and I think organisers will be focusing on the technical availability of the venue as a priority before looking at other aspects such as catering and facilities which otherwise would have been the main decision factors.

Why are events important?

Live events with other people are fun! It is shown that brainstorming in groups with like-minded peers allows businesses to achieve more successful goals. Bringing people together in one space for a common interest creates an energetic and valuable environment, allows networking opportunities and educational platforms.