Australia/NZ Supplement March/April 2022 - Page 15

Gold Coast

Flexibility the key to filling the calendar on the Gold Coast

CMW put some questions to Michelle Mann , director of sales and marketing , Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre ( GCCEC )
How has the pandemic affected your business / events market over the past 12 months ?
The domestic market has softened and we saw many interstate conferences postponed due to state border uncertainties and quarantine rules . Some businesses ran hybrid and virtual conferences to keep membership professional development points current and moved face to face conference bookings to the following year . We have found that most clients have been willing to hold bookings and postpone rather than cancel .
All international business has been postponed for 12 – 18 months . Again , most clients have been willing to hold their booking and postpone rather than cancel . we have seen some conferences postpone within the first three months of 2022 . However , others are forging ahead , albeit it with potentially reduced numbers . We continue to work with clients to find solutions .
What will be the main challenges in 2022 ?
Unfortunately , we are all still challenged by forces out of our control . Some conferences are unable to go ahead due to delegate inability to travel ( e . g . some borders are still closed ). Uncertainty is an ongoing challenge and of course , ongoing staff shortages . We are also faced with the challenge of finding space for events requesting to move dates . We have a very full calendar for 2022 already . On the other hand , on the Gold Coast , we are fortunate with our climate , open spaces and our ability to be flexible .
How has the GCCEC continued to adapt ? environment where people know we are looking after them .
What ’ s on the books for the rest of 2022 and beyond ?
We have the International Suicide Prevention Conference going ahead in May and International Eye Society Research later in the year that is seeing strong registrations and needing additional space . We have also managed to secure a number of conferences that are new to our venue .
What else is new at GCCEC ?
Last year , we successfully launched a suite of virtual tools to help planners visualise their event at the centre , including our GCCECXR app . We are currently producing a series of video case studies to help event planners and clients see behind the scenes and what their event could look like at GCCEC .
What is the outlook for 2022 ?
Mid last year ( 2021 ), I would have said positive – we had a strong calendar year of events ( both postponed and new ) and were seeing return of confidence to business events and face to face meetings . The Omicron flare up in the middle of December unsettled many organisers and
Initially , we focused on attracting locally-based conferences and events and have worked with the film industry , hiring our venue out . And we created a unique event experience for local events with live-streamed red carpet arrivals for formals and dinners that could be viewed online for those unable to come to the venue due to number restrictions .
What are your strategies for the new normal ?
Flexibility , open and honest conversations around attrition , contracting and providing an
Michelle Mann