MEETINGS NZ has come and gone. If you didn’t attend, here’s what you might have missed.
BY EDWINA STORIE
Meetings Nz Auckland
When a highly anticipated event rolls around it always seems coincidentally marked by a news story that breaks during the event. It quickly becomes the hot topic of conversations at networking drinks, meetings, gala dinners and in coffee lines. MEETINGS NZ in Auckland over June was marked by the controversial story of the further postponement of construction of a new convention centre, set to be funded by SkyCity, the venue of this year’s show.
“An appropriately sized convention centre for Auckland is vital for success over the years and something we strongly support,” Conventions and Incentives New Zealand (CINZ) CEO Alan Trotter said, later talking to national radio to promote the need for the centre.
While the fate of the pending convention was talk of the exhibition, many other products and businesses inspired interest. From Tourism New Zealand’s new marketing campaign made specifically for the MICE market, to mysterious plans for a new luxury hotel in Dunedin.
Along with the inspiring Breakfast Showcase, and the closing dinner at Euro when everyone had the chance to recline and reflect, the wonderful company of the team from the Auckland Convention Bureau was another highlight, always there to answer any questions, direct attendees, and provide a good laugh.
100% Pure Campaign launch
Tourism New Zealand used the event to launch the new ‘Beyond Convention’ campaign which proves that conferences in New Zealand go beyond expectations and the walls of the standard program. It aims to communicate the country provides professional events with trademark Kiwi hospitality, “that will exceed all expectations and go beyond the norm.”
The impressive video is full of spectacular aerial and landscape shots of New Zealand, and scenes of the locals interacting with attendees through surfing, traditional dance, rugby, and trekking.
Justin Watson of Tourism New Zealand explained the campaign was designed to build on the successful 100% Pure brand and become the missing element of its marketing that catered to business events.
It will be launched over the next three to six months throughout USA, China, South America and Australia and complements the Conference Assistant Fund that assists associations and organisations with events of more than 200 delegates.
Dynasty Hotel Group wins accolade
The Dynasty Hotel Group celebrated a win with the managing director Jeffrey Tang being awarded the Hotel Industry Achievement Award for his contribution to the New Zealand hotel sector. Having established the invitation-only Heritage Boutique Collection, Heritage Hotel and CityLife Hotel brands, Mr Tang has opened 15 properties since 1995.
The prestigious industry award is only given out when merited rather than on an annual basis. The awards judge and co-host Stephen Hamilton, director of Horwath HTL, said in two decades Jeffrey Tang has established a respected group of New Zealand hotels, built strong brands and been a constant innovator.
Dunedin’s mysterious new hotel
Dunedin’s half-naked footballers caused quite a stir at MEETINGS NZ and proved to attendees that the region’s pleasing aesthetics aren’t limited only to its environment. A new five-star, 28-storey waterfront property hopes to make the most of that view with a brand yet to be announced. A private investor has committed $100 million and aims for completion by 2015.
The plans have come under mixed reviews from the community. The project’s consent application was suspended while the Dunedin City Council sought more information on the visual, shading and wind effects to be created by the significant size of the building. The building to be established at 41 Wharf Street is expected to have 215 hotel bedrooms, 164 apartments, restaurants, bars and parking space.
AJ Hacket Bungy launches refurbished venue
AJ Hacket Bungy showed that it does more than throw people off bridges as it promoted its scarily exciting, newly refurbished bungy centre that sits atop the historic Kawarau Bridge. Hosting up to 850 people for events, it doesn’t stop at freefalling to impress, with nighttime jumps, silk dancers, and firework displays over the bridge all used to wow recent event attendees. The open space centre transforms at night into a dining area or dancefloor to keep energy high after taking the leap of faith.
For more information go online to www.bungy.co.nz.
Millbrook Resort refurbishes
Queenstown’s five-star Millbrook Resort recently announced further refurbishment of its accommodation and enhancement of its luxury day spa. As a continuation of its commitment to being a luxury destination, Millbrook’s Cottages began a refurbishment and upgrade of facilities in May this year. The Spa also introduced the products of Italian beauty company Comfort Zone as the exclusive spa treatments made from essential oils of rosewood, vanilla, rose, cedar, palmarosa and orange.
For more on Millbrook Resort visit www.millbrook.co.nz
Smooth as silk
There are some venues that just get it and others which don’t. The Spencer on Byron Hotel at Takapuna Beach has conference business down to an art.
A 10 minute drive across the Auckland Harbour Bridge will take you to Takapuna Beach, an affluent suburb built around its picturesque beach. International conference groups and New Zealanders alike come here to escape the bustle of the city.
Punctuating this is The Spencer on Byron Hotel which is a destination in itself, priding itself on having all a PCO could need within its doors. With the advantages of luxury accommodation, award-winning dining and a first-class conference centre, there is little need for PCOs to have to research and compare different dining and venue options. Its icing on the cake is that it boasts unsurpassed panoramic views of Rangitoto Island, Auckland Harbour and the Hauraki Gulf.
Having a beachside venue with all the luxuries of a city centre hotel is bliss when keeping guests together and focused. And, when it’s time to venture out, The Spencer is only a 500 metre walk to refreshing ocean air or retail therapy.
Down to business
The Spencer on Byron has seven versatile conference rooms that can cater for groups anywhere from five to 600 guests, while its ballroom seats up to 450 guests for dinner.
However, something that makes guests really feel like VIPs is hosting them for dinner in its extravagant penthouse on the 20th floor with spectacular views across to Rangitoto Island. A special 15 delegates can enjoy a breakfast here, or a boardroom of 30 can enjoy a suave cocktail party.
The team at Spencer work with the motto that no request is too much trouble.
Many functions have too much information to distribute in itineraries, but when event organisers book a meeting or event with The Spencer on Byron, their clients receive a custom section of the website to communicate with your guests at any time. The webpage can host all of your group’s requirements, from the schedule and directions to the hotel, to a booking registry to hire a car.
Despite it being a business trip, it’s nice for delegates to get to their hotel room and feel right at home. The Spencer’s rooms are spacious and quiet with views that could be worthy of a travel magazine. Two room styles allow a choice of a studio room with twin queen beds, or a one-bedroom apartment with separate lounge, a full kitchen and laundry facilities. The single bedroom apartments are great for conference clients who wish to meet with each other outside the business schedule and the formal confines of a boardroom, with the lounge becoming the perfect, private meeting space.
Corporate travellers will also appreciate the complimentary parking, the heated 25 metre lap pool, tennis court and outdoor spa.
Being in such a leisurely location, and having all the requirements of a successful conference on site, the Spencer on Byron Hotel at Takapuna Beach is a destination in itself, and a great excuse to do business outside the business centre.