meetings show rotorua EDITED

By James Wilkinson at Meetings 2014 in Auckland

The organisers of Meetings 2014 in Auckland this week (Jun 17-19) are calling this year’s event a major success.

Conventions and Incentives New Zealand (CINZ) CEO, Sue Sullivan, said there had been a significant number of key meetings and some good business has been done.

“Overall it is has been a really successful couple of days,” she said. “The exhibitors have had very positive feedback and have collectively conducted over 6000 meetings with potential clients and will be leaving Meetings, and with lots of business leads to follow up.

“We had a large contingent of international buyers and media at Meetings this year and they were very interested in the possibilities that New Zealand offers. North Americans, for example, were excited to learn first-hand about our incentive travel potential.

“Our international buyers have experienced some great hospitality and are leaving with a much better understanding of just how much this country has to offer as a destination, both for business events and incentive travel.

“Meetings has also given us the chance to offer some professional development to our own conference and incentive organisers.

“The Masterclass we ran with Jonah Nader was very well received and is part of CINZ’s ongoing commitment to providing industry education,” she said.

Sullivan said Tourism New Zealand’s increased commitment to Meetings “had enabled more overseas buyers to attend the event and helped make the exhibition a very effective tool for the New Zealand industry to reach international business events decision-makers”.

“We’re hoping the interest that we’ve seen expressed over the past couple of days will now translate into more conferences, business events and bookings for incentive travel coming New Zealand’s way,” she said.

Sullivan said there were several firsts at Meetings in 2014, “reflecting the interest in the industry’s potential as it moves in to an exciting phase of growth”.

A first was ‘The Luxury Collection’, a new section of the exhibition devoted to luxury lodges, hotels, venues and more.

Sofitel New Zealand Marketing Manager, Reno Verikakis, said the Luxury Collection exhibitors’ collaboration was a “great success”.

“We work together across the country to promote New Zealand as a boutique destination for incentive travel, and it makes sense for us to be showcased together,” he said.

“The quality of buyers visiting our stand was very high. We had a lot of walk-ins too, with day buyers keen to book business which reflects the confidence we are experiencing in the market.”

The new MasterClasses were a top initiative from CINZ, said one of New Zealand’s leading PCOs, Jan Tonkin.

“Adding an educational component to Meetings for me was a real drawcard,” she said. “Being able to do make the most of our time at Meetings and achieve so much in one day was invaluable. It added even more to the experience.”

Meetings 2015 will be held again at Auckland’s ASB Showgrounds on June 10 and 11 next year.

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James Wilkinson

Editor-In-Chief, Hotel Management