Conventions and Incentives New Zealand’s (CINZ) two-day trade exhibition Meetings championing the country’s business events industry wrapped-up yesterday (June 1), with many international buyers keen to book New Zealand for future events.

“We have hosted a big contingent of international buyers and media at Meetings 2017,” said CINZ Chief Executive Sue Sullivan.

“They were interested in New Zealand’s growing potential for large events, as well as for bespoke incentive travel.

“Event organisers are always looking for something truly different, and we have shown them New Zealand is a stunning learning and networking environment. We can offer the whole package with great venues, exciting activities, unique culture, service, food and wine.

“Our exhibitors have had plenty of positive feedback and have collectively held over 6000 meetings with potential clients and will be leaving Meetings with strong business leads to follow up,” she says.

New Zealand’s Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Hon Paula Bennett, attended Meetings today and spoke to industry leaders about the value of business events to New Zealand.

“From a perspective of what we are trying to achieve economically for New Zealand, our conventions just make a huge difference,” she said.

“International delegates stay longer and spend more – at an average of six nights at $335 per night, when your overall tourist spend is around $183. So we value it, we recognise (this sector) for what it brings,” Bennett said.

Conference and incentive organisers have been impressed by the myriad of experiences on offer in regional New Zealand.

Australian organisers were given the opportunity to explore eight regions in the lead-up to Meetings, while over 35 international buyers and media are being hosted throughout the regions.

Australian professional conference Vanessa Baranovsky from Event Mafia in Sydney says Meetings is a seamlessly organised event, from the initial reach-out to the final goodbye.

“New Zealand’s top suppliers are all under one roof and everyone is super-friendly,” she said. “I would come every year, get what I need and take it back, with everything managed for me.

“I appreciate the fresh creative ideas too – the welcome function was cool and gave me lots of inspiration.”

Julia Whitney from Australia Conventions and Incentives in Sydney says this is her first year at Meetings and she is really impressed by the event itself, and the high quality of suppliers.

“It’s so well-executed, the layout makes it easy to navigate, and the service, food and beverage is stand-out,” she said.

Denise Broeren from Think Business Events in Sydney says all the exhibitors are passionate about where they’re from. “They’re genuine and excited, it’s so refreshing.”

Exhibitor Lee Watkins, who is Conference and Events Sales Manager for Tongariro Lodge, said Meetings is always the annual highlight for the industry.

“We always have our calendars blocked to be here,” Watkins said. “The audience is always high quality and quality business is brought to the table.

“Our day buyers are high quality too, with procurement managers from corporate companies as well event managers, which is great to see.”

Katie Nimon, from Nimon Luxury Passenger Transport says they have met a lot of new buyers. “Everyone is really open to new ideas and there’s a lot of interest in the regions, outside of the main centres,” she said.

Phil Hildred, Conventions Marketing Manager for Palmerston North city and Manawatu said the event has been highly successful. “We’ve met great quality buyers who are genuinely interested in our region, venues and activities,” he said.

CINZ MEETINGS 2018 will be on 30 and 31 May next year in Auckland.

James Wilkinson

Editor-In-Chief, Hotel Management