A good position and quality facilities are just the start of ongoing success in the meetings space.
Twentieth Century Fox’s Britt Fletcher understands the pressures of organising conferences and meetings.
“It’s a tough call,” Ms Fletcher says.
“There are many venues to choose from these days, however if you are after that `wow factor’, that element that ensures management and staff are inspired and return to work rejuvenated, the choices become more limited.”
We all know that a holiday improves performance; what we now understand is that shared experiences with colleagues provide a multitude of benefits within the workplace, both individually and collectively.
“We find that venues which offer wellness and nature based stays can usually deliver a more holistic and therefore beneficial experience,” she says.
One venue that has been continually striving to meet these expectations is Byron Bay’s multi award-winning Byron at Byron Resort. Since opening in 2004 the 92 suite resort has hosted conferences of up to 200 people and special events such as hosting Oprah Winfrey’s guests.
If position counts, the resort is well placed, sitting within its very own 40 acre rainforest beside Lake Tallow with beach access. With a renowned spa boasting six treatment rooms and a swathe of celebrity clients, a commitment to serving fresh local produce and a six-star conference team, The Byron at Byron can hold its own among the best venues internationally.
But as the resort’s Lyn Parché explains, location is simply not enough.
“Having the perfect setting and service will attract conferences but it won’t keep them,” she says.
“What sets us apart is our effort to provide unique experiences, to create a setting that is at the same time conducive to creativity, healing and business.”
Ms Parché, together with hotelier husband John, have been at the helm of The Byron at Byron since the early design stages of the resort. Their conference team facilitates activities such as surfing, drumming, kayaking, cooking and art classes for meetings and conference groups.
Celebrated artist and motivational speaker Irena Kirpichnikova runs Byron Bay Art Studio and has worked with groups at The Byron at Byron including Caltex, Sanitarium and Mars Australia.
“Everyone who participated raved about Irena’s skills in facilitating a group of non-artists and was overwhelmed with their portraits,” enthused Simone Gardoni, PA to the general manager of sales and marketing at Sanitarium after the group participated in one of Irena’s programs.
“Twenty years ago the leisure and conference markets were very different,” Ms Parché said.
“Now as people have less time for life outside of work, the two different markets are merging.”