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Banter and key messages flow as AIME takes off

February 21, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Flippant Melbourne vs Sydney banter livened the air at AIME in Melbourne yesterday. As well, major players outlined key messages and released an industry report into the future of business meetings, commissioned by Melbourne Convention Bureau.

Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said the Victorian capital was Australia’s business capital.

“We don’t promise high and deliver low, we promise high and deliver high,” he said.

As for Sydney – “a small declining industrial city to our north” Doyle quipped – it has iconic structures but Melbourne is a more layered city, which you come to know by wandering around.

AIME Buyer’s Breakfast

Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre chief executive, Peter King, said the industry was in great shape and getting stronger, with face-to-face meetings in increasing demand.

King said 2.5 million visitors passed through MCEC last year of which 850,000 were delegates. There were 980 events held but MCEC had reached the point where it badly needed extra space, which was why it was adding a new building to offer more multi-purpose spaces.

The new space, on stream to open in mid 2018, would directly connect with the existing Convention and Exhibition Centres, growing MCEC’s total size to more than 70,000 square metres, King said.

“We will remain the largest meeting and convention space in Australia”.

Federation Square

Tourism Australia executive general manager events, Penny Lion, said Australian events contributed approximately AUD 55 million to the Australian economy in 2016, with a 100% satisfaction rate.

Melbourne Convention Bureau chief executive Karen Bolinger spoke of new research showing that face-to-face meetings were valued more than ever, particularly by Generation Z, the tech-savvy generation usually said to have been born from the mid-1990s to early 2000s.

86% of younger demographics valued face-to-face meetings, despite their social media expertise, she said. An overwhelming proportion (92%) expected technology to be integrated throughout events, not just an add-on.

80% agreed with the proposition: “I am time poor so this had better be worth my time”. They wanted to collaborate, not to sit and listen, Bolinger said.

Other demographic sectors in the report:

  • Generation Y: 22-36 year olds (those born from 1980-1994)
  • Generation X: 37-51 year olds (those born from 1965-1979)
  • Baby Boomers: 52-70 year olds (those born from 1946-1964)
  • Builders: 71+ (those born before 1946)

Out and about in Melbourne

Extract from report:

“As the younger generation of attendees begin to come through, they are increasingly ‘technologically savvy’, bringing with them the expectation for technology to be integrated throughout the event. Industry experts suggest there is an emphasis for the future delegate on social responsibility; this is supported by survey respondents, with three in four (76%) respondents believing that attendees of the future will want events to be more socially responsible.

“As our younger generation starts attending more and more of these, they will definitely want to see environmental sustainability. They will definitely want to have involved in the format of the event, wellness programs and networking programs, it won’t all be about learning there will be some kind of fun as well.

“As attendees become increasingly time poor, it is likely they will attend less events. In saying this, when a decision has been made to invest their time into attending an event, their expectations on return for investment are significantly higher. Almost nine in ten (89%) respondents believe that attendees in the future will expect more learnings/acquired knowledge from events.”

Written by Peter Needham

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