Confidence in conferencing grows on the Gold Coast

Confidence in conferencing grows on the Gold Coast

After months of limited event activity, the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre (GCCEC) is witnessing a surge in enquiry and bookings, including the confirmation of three international conferences this month.

The event industry took a sudden and enormous hit in February as COVID-19 forced mass gatherings to a standstill, leading government bodies and health experts to establish a roadmap to recovery.

For the sales team at the GCCEC, client conversations between February and August were largely around postponement, cancellation and force majeure.

But while fears around being physically close to others have not been ideal for the conferencing industry, venues have known the demand is still there and have developed and applied for approval of their COVID Safe plans.

GCCEC led the way for convention centre approvals, getting the go-head to operate under its Site-Specific Covid Safe Plan in June and has successfully run many events since, with guidelines and a checklist provided to incoming clients. 

Over the past several weeks, enquiry levels are again increasing, and client conversations are around capacities, processes and our ability to host hybrid events.

The centre will welcome three large conferences in October, while expectations are high that event frequency and size will continue to increase month-over-month. The centre is also hosting many day meetings, breakfasts and lunches, as well as school formals that will be live streamed to families.

The event sector's prospects are also boosted by a Federal Government scheme to help subsidise business events and the costs of participants

"There was a lot to absorb early on, however we have successfully navigated our way through the complexities of regulations and have been hosting events under the new COVID safe requirements," says GCCEC's director of sales and marketing, Michelle Mann.

"Client confidence and satisfaction has never been more relevant, and we have been working closely with all stakeholders to ensure a safe and memorable meeting space for all events, from government meetings to school formals to conferences.

Mann says everything from guest arrival to departure has been reimagined at GCCEC, with floorplans remodelled, menus and service redesigned, and cleaning and sanitisation protocols enhanced.

"The venue is full of signage, COVID messaging and sanitiser stations. It's not business as usual but the new normal is working well and giving event organisers and delegates the confidence to go ahead with events," Mann says.

This story was written in partnership with the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre (GCCEC).

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