There will be plenty of challenges for the business events sector in 2013, but as Accor’s Jenifer Dwyer Slee explains, activity will definitely be on the rise.
Q: What is Accor excited about in the business event sector for the coming 12 months?
A: There is no doubt that economic and political instability have made the business events sector more challenging in 2013. It is crucial for our industry to continue highlighting that we are an essential part of boosting productivity and efficiencies within organisations. A good conference can turn around a company’s sales force, create new marketing strategies, reduce blockages within the system… in other words, this is probably the best time for companies to hold a business event.
We have invested heavily in terms of our people and our product expansion.
Q: Are there any new property openings that readers should be aware of?
A: 2013 will be the “Year of Pullman” in the business events sector. Last year the brand grew from two to 11 hotels, and the major city hotels underwent significant upgrades to raise the meeting space to Pullman’s five-star standards. The new ballrooms at Pullman Sydney Hyde Park (formerly Sydney Marriott), Pullman Brisbane King George Square (formerly Sebel) and Pullman Melbourne Albert Park (formerly Sebel) have all been unveiled, while all rooms and public areas in these three hotels have been given a massive makeover.
The Sydney and Brisbane projects have been completed, while Melbourne’s lobby, business facilities and rooms will be completed in August. The Pullmans are amongst the largest conference hotels in the three cities, providing customers additional options. The Pullman at Palm Cove in North Queensland has new event facilities, highlighting that Pullman is not only making its mark in cities, but also resort areas. We are also seeing expansion of facilities at some other key properties, such as the newly re-branded Novotel Sydney Central, which is part of the exciting Haymarket redevelopment. The hotel has vast conference facilities and with its proximity to the CBD and Darling Harbour it represents one of the best value business events options in the city. The new Water@Pier One has to be one of Sydney’s most attractive and stylish harbourside venues.
Q: What are meeting planners looking for and how does Accor meet their expectations?
A: Naturally, the key factor in any business event is professionalism. It doesn’t matter whether it is a boardroom meeting for 12 or a major meeting for 1200 – delivery is crucial. That’s where Accor has an advantage. No other group has its own in-house training academy – Academie Accor – and no one places as much emphasis on its people development as Accor.
We also have clearly defined brand meeting offers so that our customers know exactly what to expect whether it be the Pullman Co-meeting concept or Meeting@Novotel. But we also have innovation, such as Mercure’s pioneering carbon-neutral meeting offer, where the hotel offsets the carbon emitted as a result of the conference. And then we have local offers to give conference delegates a true taste of the destination.
Q: Why should planners consider Accor for their future meetings and events?
A: What Accor offers is the combination of a strong national business events team and expert professionalism on the ground. For instance at a corporate level we have a Business Events Advisory Board that provides a bridge between the industry and the sector’s largest supplier of in-hotel facilities which allows an incredible flow of information. Size also helps. It really doesn’t matter whether an event organiser is considering using a Pullman or a Mercure, all our conference offerings are backed by the country’s largest and leading hotel group.