July 4, 2022 | By Bronwen Largier | Image: The Barrel Room at Hotel Next Melbourne
Melbourne’s business events bureau has beefed up its digital offering to help conference groups get the most out of the city when they meet in Melbourne.
The interactive guide highlights new business events product in Melbourne, including immersive digital exhibition space THE LUME at Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC), new event venue CENTREPIECE at Melbourne Park, home of tennis grand slam the Australian Open, Australia’s first manmade surf park, URBNSURF out near Melbourne Airport. The tool also spotlights new hotels including W Melbourne, Hilton Little Queen Street, and Hyatt Centric Melbourne, and new restaurants like Chancery Lane and Society.
“Melbourne’s eguide is the ‘must have’ planning tool that will encourage both planners and delegates alike to rethink their next visit to Melbourne,” says Melbourne Convention Bureau (MCB) chief executive Julia Swanson.
“The key to an extraordinary event is more than just getting the right venue and accommodation, it’s the connection between the event, the host city, and its exciting offerings.
“From the inspirational articles and interviews with industry experts and packaged up accessible information, readers can learn about what’s new in our thriving city,” she says.
Perhaps the most forward-thinking part of the guide is the interactive map it contains, which allows planners and delegates to see where experiences, venues and hotels are located across the city centre, to build their own customised itinerary and understand the route between products and experiences.
To mark the launch of the guide, MCB hosted micenet in Melbourne last week to experience some of the featured offerings in-person.
There were several standouts from a packed day around Melbourne which also showcased what an easy city it is to get around – we were able to walk and ride Melbourne’s free tram zone for our full itinerary, which in turn also gave us a sense of place that bus trips tend to do away with.
The Hellenic Museum Melbourne in the former Royal Mint building is a real hidden gem that is just emerging for the business events market, thanks to a recent partnership between the cultural institution and Showtime Event Group. The museum at Spencer Street end of the city honours Melbourne’s claim to fame as the city with the largest Greek population outside of Greece and platforms some incredible history. The venue’s visitor engagement coordinator Evelyn Darzanos greeted us with a 2,500 year-old coin in her pocket – the Greeks invented coinage – and gave us a tour of the downstairs exhibitions space, which, with her expert commentary, provided a crash course in around 8,000 years of Greek history and a view of how an ancient civilisation’s decline coincided with the rise of Christianity and the shape of the world we know today. Upstairs, we also had the chance to handle some of the museum’s ancient artefacts.
The museum has several event spaces serviced by Showtime Event Group, including the award-winning M-Pavilion and courtyard, which offers the largest publicly available gated courtyard in the city and is an unexpected large space amongst the city buildings, and can accommodate 400-500 attendees indoors and outdoors or 100 within the pavilion itself, which has a roof that opens like a flower for the warmer months. Upstairs, there’s private dining space for 28 in the high ceilinged yet cosy room called the Henson Gallery, featuring a permanent exhibition by the room’s namesake, Australian photographer Bill Henson.
In one of several atmospheric private dining spaces in Scott Pickett’s recently opened restaurant Chancery Lane, seafood tasters and entrees were on point, face-sized steaks were cooked to perfection and closing cheese selections could not be faulted.
And in the evening, a private cocktail tasting session accompanied by matched entrees in the Barrel Room of La Madonna at Next Hotel Melbourne, which opened in early 2021, was followed by a delicious dinner with a strong seafood lean in the restaurant’s dining space.
In between, a visit to Melbourne’s new Movenpick Hotel – hello chocolate hour! – revealed some impressive suites and a stop-in at the opulent underground Plaza Ballroom established – for this first-time visitor – why the venue continues to be a regal favourite for Melbourne events.
In its first edition, Melbourne’s eguide shows its promise, with more experiences and products to be added to the interactive map and future editions, which could be as frequent as quarterly, set to showcase different products in Melbourne as well as the various regions of Victoria beyond the city.