Delegates came from all over Australia, Asia and New Zealand to attend the PCOA17 conference and exhibition, which returned to the Gold Coast for its 10th anniversary – the city where it all started.

Held at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre in November, PCOA17 turned out to be their biggest conference yet, with numbers reaching 440 and the 60 exhibitor booths selling out by June.
With an official welcome message from Steve Ciobo MP, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment and the conference MEETING Beyond Tomorrow message given by PCOA president Barry Neame, the powerful opening produced by platinum sponsor – International Productions, included spectacular content displayed on a 27 metre long screen. An impressive visual backdrop for an event that focused on future opportunities and examined industry growth and development. The conference, addressed the challenges faced by this dynamic industry, and explored the trends and shifts that impact everyone.
Breaths were held and equilibriums rattled when Peter Davidson shared the events, insights and leadership challenges he and the crew faced when they were the first rescue helicopter to reach survivors in the ill-fated 1998 Sydney to Hobart yacht race.
Head2Heart Amanda Gore’s Managing Change: Choosing Opportunity over fear – a transformative way to change perceptions, had attendees so engaged they literally danced out of the workshop.
There was a shared thread was about disruption, design thinking and using technology, a subject brilliantly handled by a number of speakers including The Conference Company’s Jan Tonkin, Future Crunch, Corbin Ball.
Industry technology expert Corbin Ball, sponsored by Tourism New Zealand, spoke about the three main technology disruptors to expect in our industry. Technology, he said will likely change events more in the next five years than it has in the past fifteen. A talk that created plenty of conversation and debate.
The popular CINZ MEETINGS smoothie bike proved to be a winner at their 100% Pure New Zealand hub, a machine which required participants to pedal like mad to blend their pure fruit smoothie. The bike we heard helped power a surge in applications for their May 2018 event. “Applications will remain open until early April, and we recommend that everyone apply as soon as possible,” said Conventions and Incentives New Zealand (CINZ) Australia manager Sharon Auld.
Lucky winner, Julie Burton of Southern Cross Conference and Event Management took away a case of New Zealand’s celebrated Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc, as winner of the Kiwi prize draw.
There was no shortage of opportunities for attendees to network at the two social functions with meal breaks taken in the exhibition hall. The Association said the action-packed networking function co-hosted by Gold Coast Business Events at Sea World received nothing but rave reviews from those who attended. That includes micenet.
A special thank you went to the Martin and Griffith University student volunteers for their work at the conference – providing an opportunity for them to gain more experience in the events industry.
PCO Association’s Maxine Tod said, “If you can offer student volunteers this sort of opportunity please feel welcome to contact me on email maxine@pco.asn.au.”
The destination and venue for the 11th annual PCO Association conference & exhibition will be announced in early 2018.

Accenting the positive with Future Crunch
Talk about disruption – there we sat at the PCOA17 Conference expecting a nerdy dissertation on science and technology from Future Crunch co-founders, political economist Dr Angus Hervey, big data scientist Tané Hunt and musician and lead singer for 8Foot-Felix, Will Tait, when kaboom, mindsets were altered and perceptions popped.
Perhaps it was the colourful jackets they wore or the way they effortlessly held the stage or was it that wildly hirsute, Will Tait’s rendition of ‘Always look on the bright side of life,’ that did the trick.
In their captivating and engaging performance they firstly sought to remind us that we have the tools to circumvent our daily bombarded of negative news – war, terrorism, religious upheaval, political unrest and Trump.
“Incredible things are happening on our planet. Diseases are being eradicated, millions are being lifted out of poverty, billions of people are gaining access to the greatest information resource humanity has ever known.
“We can use open source code to print prosthetic limbs, we can cut and paste our DNA, and we’re taking bold new steps into space,” they enthused.
The Crunch were able to show that disruptive technologies are bringing about a global society that is more peaceful, transparent and abundant. Telling evidence-based stories that break through negative perceptions about the world as we know it.
Their idea is to engage organisations with intelligent thinking, optimism and positively driven purpose and this they did it in such an involving way
As Gartner Inc. vice president and distinguished analyst, Bill Swanton said, “They take a complicated subject and present it in a simple but fun, positive way.”
Similarly, Vantage Group HR manager, Prue Horne remarked, “Future Crunch were among the best speakers I’ve ever heard – hugely knowledgeable, credible, articulate and engaging. I could have listened to them all night. An absolute bargain for an hour of fascinating insights.”
A right royal connection
When it comes to accommodation choices, time and the proximity of the Sofitel Gold Coast Broadbeach to the convention centre and also the enticing blue waters of the Pacific Ocean is a bare five minutes. Located in the surrounds of Broadbeach’s vibrant dining and entertainment precinct, the luxury five-star hotel has just completed a $2m upgrade which included rooms, foyers and meeting facilities. Such is the attention to detail, the Sofitel’s new carpet was chosen to create a link between the hotel’s position and its seaside location.
With 296 accommodation rooms, 10 meeting rooms, three restaurants, and two outdoor function spaces, the choice of Sofitel would be hard to pass up.

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