Australia - Open for business
There’s nothing like the value of sharing experiences in person to improve your bottom line, so start planning your next event here this year.
One of the greatest disruptions to our working lives over the past year has been our inability to meet, socialise and interact face-to-face as we’d like.
This is especially true in the world of business events, where we’ve been forced to shift from meeting, connecting and exchanging ideas in person, to meeting in a virtual world, almost overnight.
Integral to the recovery will be for corporates to reconnect in person again by holding regular events where people can meet, interact and strategise in a way that simply cannot be replicated online.
The flow-on benefit of building corporate culture, personal connections and motivation through business events ultimately affects the bottom line through improved productivity, retention and planning to drive business growth.
The good news is that in 2021, the return to face-to-face, live and inspirational business events is happening.
Recent research undertaken by Tourism Australia, found 66 per cent of corporate event decision-makers surveyed are planning events in the next six to 12 months.
Moreover, 81 per cent suggest event budgets will be similar or higher than they were in 2019-20 as businesses move to regain the real operational and cultural benefits in-person events bring.
Australasian real estate leviathan Ray White’s in-house events team W Concepts held 29 major events in 2019 plus 120 smaller more intimate gatherings or training sessions for more than 8000 attendees.
After a year of isolation, the business recently held a smaller event in Byron Bay for the first time since the pandemic struck and intends to hold more similar gatherings in the coming months.
Director of events Christine Gray says the Byron experience was a reminder of just how valuable face-to-face meeting can be to an organisation.
“The mood was amazing, and our members travelled from Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne for a two-day retreat where the discussion was fervent and not just during the meeting but through the social events and breaks,” she says.
“There was a real sense of excitement that we could once again hold these discussions face-to-face.”
Gray says the constant feedback she receives on events is they present an excellent opportunity to “interact with others who are operating businesses at the same level, discuss challenges as well as pick up tips on how to grow the business and manage teams”.
“We are in the people game,” she says. “The network functions are priceless. Our members thrive on recognition and personal interaction.”
Nathan Lee who heads up field sales at Breville says the last event the appliance manufacturer held in 2019 energised the team, with everyone
involved returning to work on a high.
The five-day event at Crystalbrook Collection’s Riley resort in Cairns gave the business the opportunity to meld structured strategy sessions with a selection of social and networking events in a beautiful Australian setting.
“We also used the opportunity to showcase our new products to the team as well as organise team-building activities and social events,” Lee says.
Importantly, he says an event like this provides an opportunity for a team to work in a more relaxed, unstructured environment outside of the office. It’s a place where the ideas flow.
“An event provides us with a chance to motivate everyone, set the direction for the year ahead and importantly, it gets everyone together.
It helps us to align goals, directions, and strategies.”
For Baker & McKenzie’s senior manager, global meetings & events Asia Pacific, Samantha Ford, business events play a key role in building teams and strengthening relationships regardless of the industry.
“The in-person element makes a big difference to the relationship, whether that’s establishing a new connection or building on a long-term relationship,” Ford says.
“Simply put, face-to-face meetings and events can never truly be replaced by virtual conferences from a connection point of view.”
The legal firm’s last major event held in Sydney in 2019 brought together more than 700 attorneys and the firm’s professional business services team members.
Ford says the week-long event provided opportunities for all partners from the region to network, develop deeper client relationships and focus on business specific to the Asia Pacific region.
“We hosted a combination of management and committee meetings, practice and industry group meetings, plenary sessions and social programs along with a number of client meetings,” Ford says.
Furthermore, she says the dollar value for an event destination can be significant through direct and indirect spending “especially when overseas and interstate attendees fly in to Australia and stay for a few days on business, occupying hotels and restaurants and spending locally, not to mention the extensions of stay for personal time”.
“The social events which are often a component of an event are also sorely missed from a personal engagement perspective, along with the physical contact a handshake delivers.
“As an event manager, I personally miss the interaction with delegates and professionally miss being able to resolve issues quickly onsite which is much more difficult to do and also much more public in a virtual setting,” Ford concludes.
Australia has some of the world’s best destinations and facilities to hold business events. To help your business improve its bottom line, it’s time to reconnect, collaborate and plan your next event here this year.