“Bangkok and Adelaide are poles apart,” says Simon Burgess, comparing his current life and position as GM at the Adelaide Convention Centre, to his old role as Sales Director for Dusit International in Thailand.
“Adelaide must be the most liveable city I’ve ever experienced. It’s not big like Melbourne or Sydney but it’s diverse and boutique and for families it’s great. It takes me just 15 minutes to get home to my family at the end of the day.”
Simon Burgess is enthusiastic about what the Adelaide Convention Centre has to offer and he has good reason to be. Following a $390 million investment and completion of a massive expansion programme in January 2018, Mr Burgess stepped up from his role of six years as the centre’s Marketing & Sales Director to its General Manager and is now running the newest convention centre in Australia and one of the most flexible in the world.
Large international association conferences are every convention centre sales manger’s dream; they’re big, sexy, make great headlines and bring in a lot of revenue, not just to the centre but to the wider region where they take place.
The Adelaide Convention Centre has also been designed to cater for the smallest business event as well as the largest.
“I don’t know anywhere else that has the flexibility this centre offers. Our main plenary hall, for example, has over 15 different configurations for seating and layout. The centre is made up of three separate buildings with their own identities and entrances – they can be used individually or brought together as one venue for very large events,” Mr Burgess says.
Whilst capturing a large international association conferences offers the glory and the accolades, studies suggest the future lies with more frequent but smaller-sized business events and, according to the Business Events Council of Australia, interstate business events delegates spend much more than overseas delegates in a city. Mr Burgess acknowledges corporate events are bread and butter business for convention centres and he and his team would like to attract more.
He sums up the versatility of the centre and what makes the region so special.
“Take a look out from our Panorama Ballroom.”
The space has floor to ceiling glass windows overlooking the recent billion-dollar riverbank and parklands development.
“We’re a clean, green, safe environment, and people are friendly and want to talk. The city is walkable, and we now have a riverbank precinct – we can manage any size of event.”