Demand for in-person meetings highlighted at business events showcase

Face-to-face meetings are as important as ever...

New Zealand’s only showcase for the business events industry this year, BE Reconnected brought together over 420 event organisers and suppliers from around the country in Auckland today.

Organised by Business Events Industry Aotearoa (BEIA), the event showed business events are not only safe, but also a vital component for widespread economic recovery.

BEIA Chief Executive, Lisa Hopkins says the attendance at BE Reconnected highlighted the pent-up demand to gather in person with colleagues at meetings and incentives — and she remains optimistic about the future of business events.

“More than 290 buyers walked through the show floor connecting with 120 suppliers, which will go towards supporting domestic recovery. We are thrilled with the enthusiasm this event created, and how much was accomplished in one day.

“Over the next three years, New Zealand will open three international convention centres, with a combined floor space of 10 rugby fields, creating over 1,000 new jobs directly while also supporting other industries such as accommodation, hospitality, food producers and suppliers, and airlines.

Tourism New Zealand Business Events Global Manager, Lisa Gardiner presented results of a recent industry survey which showed COVID-19 has increased the value New Zealanders put on face-to-face meetings.

The survey of 125 New Zealand-based organisations found that 97% are planning to hold a business event in 2021.

“The appetite for meeting is coupled with an increasingly positive attitude towards business events: 92% consider in-person conferences and offsite meetings important for their organisation, up from 79% of respondents in Tourism New Zealand’s May 2020 survey; and more than half (56%) said they appreciate the importance of face to face meetings more now than pre-Covid-19, up from 39% in May.”

The day included three keynote speakers, Sir John Kirwan, Cam Calkoen and Lisa O’Neill and ably supported throughout the day by master MC Greg Ward. The event also included a series of regional updates from 14 different regional convention bureaux from around New Zealand, plus briefings from Tourism New Zealand Business Events.

Jessica Ireland from The Incentive Lab in Melbourne, who is currently based in New Zealand says Be Reconnected gave her the chance to make key connections with different regions under one roof. “Once borders open there is a really good opportunity for New Zealand to capture corporate incentive travel from Australia, which would have in the past gone to Asian destinations,” she says.

ChristchurchNZ Convention Bureau Manager, Claire Hector-Taylor says the day helped establish valuable groundwork on some constructive strategic planning for 2021.

“BE Reconnected gave us a unique opportunity to present our city and region to a highly-engaged audience, demonstrating the strengths of Christchurch and Canterbury as a business events destination, and highlighting our knowledge economy and sector expertise, as well as the new venues and activities on offer in the city,” she says.