Business events mighty important
Crane Conference just one to give local economy a lift
More info at www.waikatonz. com/business-events/
With state-of-the-art venues and worldleading experiences, the Waikato has what it takes to attract business events. Claudelands Events Centre in Hamilton, Novotel Tainui Hamilton, and Mystery Creek Events Centre are star venues in the region, while experiences like testing your nerve with high-speed thrills at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park, sipping specially brewed Southfarthing ale at Hobbiton Movie Set and heading for underground adventures at Waitomo are what puts the Waikato on the map for delegates attending conferences and meetings, as well as for incentive travel which is often provided by businesses to top performing staff. The latest figures released by the Business Events Data Programme show the Waikato, highly sought after in pre-covid pandemic times, is now returning to a position of strong demand from meeting and conference organisers as the sector recovers. Business events held in the Waikato during the first quarter of this year delivered just short of $2 million to the regional economy with 36 events attracting 3600 delegates, giving the Waikato an 11 per cent market share and placing the region second in the country behind Auckland. Hamilton & Waikato Tourism events manager Aimee Tyson says while significantly down on the 196 events held in the region in Q1 2021 due to Covid restrictions, the first quarter 2022 figures are encouraging. “Hosting major events and business events is crucial in helping to lead the economic and social recovery of the Waikato region,” she says. “Business events provide direct economic benefits for those involved in planning and producing them, while downstream suppliers also benefit as do hospitality providers — accommodation and food and beverage — retailers and tourism operators. Business events delegates also generally have a higher daily spend with the latest figures revealing delegates spent $198 each per day during the first quarter period. Ms Tyson says business events deliver value to the region in other ways too, including by facilitating knowledge creation and exchange, and they play an important role in attracting trade, external investment and talent to the Waikato, as well as being a conduit to later leisure travel for conference delegates and their families. Business events include what the sector refers to as MICE — meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions. A significant event coming up is the annual Crane Conference (July 27-29) when everyone involved in the crane industry will meet to reconnect and hear the latest at Hamilton’s multi-purpose Claudelands Events Centre. A special programme for partners of delegates includes tours of Ruakuri Cave and Waitomo Glowworm Cave, and a visit to Vilagrad Winery, assisting to spread the economic value of the conference further into the Waikato community. Ms Tyson and her events team, together with key players in the Waikato sector, work to a strategic plan to keep the region top of mind amongst qualified events and incentive buyers around New Zealand and from international markets, in particular Australia. This past week, they flew the Waikato flag at the Meetings 2022 trade show in Christchurch, teaming with seven of the region’s leading business events organisations — Claudelands, Hobbiton, Hampton Downs, Discover Waitomo, Mystery Creek Events Centre, Novotel Hamilton Tainui Hotel and Jet Park Hamilton Airport Hotel. The annual trade show is attended by a who’s who of New Zealand and Australian buyers, says Ms Tyson. H3‘s business development and sales manager — business events, Melissa Williams, attended to highlight the incentives and spaces Hamilton City has to offer, including Claudelands. “In recent weeks at Claudelands we have hosted the 800-plus delegate Water New Zealand Conference (May 25-26), followed by the Hospice Waikato and Montana Food and Events Bucket List Banquet in Globox Arena (May 27) — and this week more than 800 delegates have been here for the three-day New Zealand Veterinary Association Conference.” Novotel Tainui Hamilton’s sales manager Abby Camp endorses Ms Williams’ comments that Meetings was a highly valuable face-to-face event. “We were able to have quality discussions with planners and buyers — and we are very excited to have come home with some solid bookings in place.” The Meetings trade show in Christchurch came hot on the heels of last month’s series of business networking events in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane where the Waikato was promoted to professional conference organisers, as well as corporate and event planners.