BY BRYAN HOLLIDAY
bryanh@icmsaust.com.au

Bryan Holliday believes it’s everybody’s responsibility to generate more business for the Australian events sector.

Once upon a time Tourism Australia and its predecessors seemed to be an organisation that simply channelled federal government funds to its advertising agencies and arranged for its staff to attend various trade shows around the world.
The brief was to present Australia as a desirable holiday destination and they adopted a one-size-fits-all approach.
The bidding for major world meetings was left to the state-funded convention bureaux and the national government was hardly ever involved.
Fast forward 20 years and the landscape is completely different. With the establishment of Business Events Australia the national body is now becoming far more customised in its approach to the various market segments that it tries to influence. There’s a genuine attempt to recognise that not all incentive and corporate clients are attracted to the same experiences that Australia has to offer. Equally importantly, those from certain countries need a program that may be completely different to those from another country.

When it comes to offering their assistance in trying to win international congresses and then helping to attract as many delegates as possible the landscape becomes even more complicated. Contrary to popular belief, not all professional associations are the same. Some are extremely well funded and demand high-end sophisticated services from the event planners they engage. Others are more conscious of every dollar and their delegates have very limited buying power with the result that few sponsors and exhibitors are willing to invest in the event.
While clearly any funding body can’t spread its resources too thinly, at least there is recognition that to be effective in the world of business events, there’s no easy approach that will satisfy all stakeholders but a customised strategy will achieve far better sustainable outcomes.

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