Meet in style
BY BRAD FOSTER
Queensland’s Whitsundays region remains an aspirational destination that continues to enliven and entice the business event sector.
And, what many planners should also recognise is that with the high Australian dollar and some groups choosing to head overseas for the meetings and incentive travel reward programs, the Whitsundays remains a cost-competitive destination right on the doorstep of the major markets of Sydney and Melbourne.
Further, those who have organised meetings and incentives internationally know that there are many hidden costs associated with doing so. You can’t go to a destination like Thailand, for example, without utilising the services of a reputable destination management company. Not so in the Whitsundays, with venue operators and product suppliers more than willing to assist planners with logistics and experiences “beyond the ballroom”.
Also experienced in assisting the groups market is Tourism Whitsundays, with business events manager, Tamara Pidcock, ready, willing and able to assist groups with any and all enquiries about conferencing and incentive travel rewards in the region.
Tamara and the team can suggest venues and product suppliers depending on your group size and budget, and assist in advice on the best and most cost-effective times of year to travel. Like many destinations in Australia, for example, travelling out of school holiday times and travelling mid-week can save significant money.
Tourism Whitsundays also organises and hosts educationals to the destination in conjunction with partners and business event bodies. In 2012 for example, and working with Tourism Australia, Tourism Whitsundays hosted a group of UK-based incentive travel organisers with the group experiencing some of the best offerings available in the region.
The program included:
- a Chef’s Table at Hayman including a tour of the kitchen, cellar and chocolate room;
- a seaplane flight over the Great Barrier Reef including Heart Reef followed by an exhilarating landing at Whitehaven Beach;
- a relaxed, Moroccan-style lunch at Lover’s Cove on Daydream Island followed by a lesson on the local marine life where participants had the chance to pat some stingrays; and
- breakfast with ‘Elvis’ the koala in the Beach House at qualia on Hamilton Island.
“We experienced all this in just two days and the group agreed that the Whitsundays is something you need to experience to believe,” she said following.
“[The Whitsundays] is [therefore] an ideal incentive destination as the core of any successful incentive program is that it must be motivating and enticing.
“If you’re looking for some inspiration for your next incentive or conference group visit our website for some suggestions or contact us for some bespoke options.”
out and about
The beauty of the Whitsundays is that groups can immerse themselves on an island hideaway such as Hamilton Island, Hayman, or Daydream Island, or utilise venues on the mainland around Airlie Beach and then, if they wish, take day-trips to the reef for some extra-curricular experiences.
Each style provides a different experience for meeting and incentive travel planners.
Whichever way you want to go, Queensland’s Whitsundays really should be on your radar for an upcoming conference or incentive event.