July / Aug 2014 - page 1

Jill Wilkinson Fuller, Holiday Inn
Rotorua, had an impromptu jam
with Jason Kerrison, well-known
New Zealand singer/songwriter at
the annual MEETINGS gala dinner.
Other entertainment for the night
included aerial artists, a hip band,
an awards ceremony and a DJ to
round it all up. Full gala dinner story
on page 6, more MEETINGS photos
on page 52 & 53.
Gillian Officer, director of sales –
conventions and outcatering, at SKYCITY
Auckland Convention Centre says business
really started to pick up in May. ‘It was like
someone turned a light bulb on.’
Officer says delegate numbers are definitely
trending up. ‘For the last few years we may
have been expecting 400 and it’s dropped
down to 300 or 250. Now it’s going the other
way – we expect 400 and the actual number
is 500. So there is real buoyancy in terms of
delegate numbers, as well as enquiries.’
She says SKYCITY is working into the 2017
year, with positive bookings into that year.
‘I think the work the Auckland Convention
Bureau and Tourism New Zealand are doing
is really starting to pay off.’
Professional conference organiser (PCO)
James Chatterley, Event Dynamics, says
that with the ‘odd exception’ his clients are
having very good results in terms of delegate
numbers. ‘They are higher than they have
been for many years. We are busy with both
existing and new business, so the next three
to five years are looking particularly strong.’
Chatterley is sure he is not alone. ‘Everyone
I talk to in the sector is feeling positive.
Budgets are back.’
Christchurch based Tracey Thomas of
Conference Innovators says that delegates
are certainly coming back in some sectors.
‘I would say it is a general trend. Things are
ticking along.’
He says conferences seem to be ‘more
purposeful, efficient and productive’ now.
‘People are not just meeting for meeting’s
sake – they are really looking to get
something out of them. They are looking
for different ways to operate and they are
technology savvy.’
Turn around for
delegate numbers
After years of ‘delegate wash’, attendee numbers at conferences
are back on the increase, according to a number of sources in
the industry. It is just one of the indicators business events are
heading into positive territory for at least the next two years.
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