A group of PCOs enjoyed “great memories” and “informative fun” recently as part of a sales group famil hosted at three Crowne Plaza NSW properties. The three-part famil tour was themed by Blueberry Events and commenced with a `Mad Hatter’ theme at Crowne Plaza Coogee Beach, followed by a ‘Hollywood VIP’ theme at Crowne Plaza Terrigal and concluding with an indulgent food and wine experience at Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley. The Brisbane, Melbourne and Hobart-based famil participants included Elisa Mariani (Liberty Events), Laura McDougall (MCI Australia), Hamish Hill (ASN Events), Lisa Roberts (Ultimate Conferences), Leesa McDermott (Conference Design), and Katina Franzidis (Taylored Images). The clients were hosted by InterContinental Hotel Group’s Jenny Quinn (business development manager, IHG NSW/ACT) and Phil Beeson (key account manager, Asia-Pacific) throughout the three-day famil tour and at each hotel by the respective Crowne Meetings Directors, David Valentine (Crowne Plaza Coogee Beach), Stephanie Davidson (Crowne Plaza Terrigal) and Allison Rosemond (Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley).


The Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre’s Helen Mantellato was recently honoured with an Order of Merit in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the Olympic movement over the past 20 years. The director of sales – exhibitions at the SCEC joins a small and distinguished group of Australians who have been awarded the Order by the New South Wales Olympic Council. The distinction acknowledges Ms Mantellato’s work in helping the Olympic movement stage a range of fundraising dinners at the centre since 1993, the year that Sydney won its bid for the 2000 Olympic Games.


Tune Hotels recently announced the pre-opening sale of its first Australian property in Melbourne and confirmed the city will serve as its operational headquarters for the Australia and New Zealand region. The announcement was made by Mark Lankester, the Group CEO of Tune Hotels in the presence of the Premier of Victoria, Dr Denis Napthine. Also present was co-founder of the Tune Group and AirAsia CEO, Tony Fernandes. Tune Hotel Melbourne at 609 Swanston Street, Carlton is conveniently located next to the University of Melbourne, just two streets away from popular Lygon Street and minutes to Melbourne’s central business district. The 225-room property will open for customers on November 1, 2013.


For the first time in Adelaide the Stamford Plaza and Stamford Grand Hotels treated delegates to a ‘catered for tram ride’ between each of the hotels as a feature of a recent MICE roadshow event. Director of sales Kim Blain said: “We wanted an event unique to Adelaide and to showcase the two Stamford properties, as well as create a wow factor. No other city could do this. It was truly door to door service with the tram stops immediately outside both properties.” More than 70 delegates were given the grand treatment beginning with creative canapés featuring local seafood served in the Moseley room of the Stamford Grand Hotel, overlooking the famous Glenelg Beach and jetty. Delegates were wowed as they walked the red carpet to board a tram outside the hotel. The hospitality continued during the 20 minute ride with a roving magician, personalised drink service and hotel chefs who boarded at Morphettville Racecourse serving everyone with platters of canapés. Next and final stop was the Stamford Plaza Hotel where delegates made their way up to the Crystal Room, to be seated for a four course showcase menu.


The International College of Management, Sydney (ICMS) recently announced that its founder Darryl Courtney-O’Connor has been appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for his services within the tourism and hospitality industry. Mr Courtney-O’Connor founded ICMS in 1996 which has since become an internationally recognised business college offering bachelor and master degrees which both include applied industry training. Darryl is also the chairman of the Touraust Corporation, founding the Constellation Hotel Group with 12 country motels in 1986 which grew to more than 60 hotels across Australia and New Zealand by 2011. Commenting on the award, Mr Courtney-O’Connor said: “I’m very delighted to receive this prestigious honour. It really was a very big surprise and I’m humbled that my work with the Touraust Corporation and ICMS has been recognised on such a large scale.”


Hamilton Island has welcomed the launch of direct Virgin Australia services from Melbourne. Hamilton Island expects this increased flight capacity to lead to Melbourne overtaking Brisbane as the island’s second largest market. Hamilton Island’s general manager sales, Phillipa Harrison said: “Hamilton Island relies heavily on our airline partners, so we are thrilled that Virgin Australia has chosen to expand its offering and will be servicing Hamilton Island and the surrounding Whitsunday region direct from Melbourne. The timing also couldn’t be better, with the flights commencing on August 15 just ahead of the start of the 30th celebration of Audi Hamilton Island Race Week on August 17.”


Five incredible courses were created by five of Melbourne’s best for the annual Starlight Five Chefs Dinner at Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) recently. The MCEC was proud to host and sponsor this major Starlight Children’s Foundation fundraiser for the second year and help the charity raise more than $400,000 on the night. Featured chefs included Mark Best (Pei Modern and Marque), Pierrick Boyer (Le Petit Gateau), Guy Grossi (Grossi Florentino), Dan Hunter (Royal Mail Hotel), Karen Martini (mr. wolf) and MCEC’s executive chef Tony Panetta who provided the night’s canapés.


The Adelaide Convention Bureau and the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) have forged a relationship that is delivering results well before the world-class $200 million health and medical research institute officially opens its doors later this year. Just announced is the successful bid by the Adelaide Convention Bureau in conjunction with SA Cancer Service’s Professor Dorothy Keefe and the convention centre to host the 2016 International Symposium on Supportive Care in Cancer – an event worth $5.7m for South Australia. Some 1500 of the world’s top supportive care researchers and practitioners, along with patients and advocates are expected to attend the four-day symposium providing an excellent opportunity to create networks and connections between the international and local cancer health and research community.


The ACT Government has announced both the renewal of the Canberra Convention Bureau’s three year ongoing base funding and an additional $400,000 over two years to encourage more business visitors to Canberra. Bureau CEO, Robyn Hendry, commended the ACT Government on the announcement. She said it “will enable the bureau to continue its valuable contribution to the growth of the Canberra economy by encouraging organisations to choose Canberra as their conference destination.” At the time of going to press the bureau anticipated reaching its growth target of $41.5 million in confirmed business secured during 2012-13. This is on track with the five year strategic plan of 25 per cent growth to $45.6 million by 2015. “On the back of a successful centenary year the additional funding will enable us to maintain momentum into the future.”


After a three year contracted involvement, the Perth Convention Bureau (PCB) has retired its partnership with CMS Events’ Perth Event Show. PCB chief executive, Paul Beeson, said the Perth Event Show was developed some five years ago at a time when the PCB was considering changing its charter to support local, state-based events. “This change did not eventuate,” he said.