New Zealand’s largest business events industry gathering, MEETINGS 2021 held in Auckland last month, has been hailed an outstanding success, securing a pipeline of work from domestic and Australian buyers.
Business Events Industry Aotearoa (BEIA) ran the 25th-anniversary MEETINGS in a year of continued COVID-19 disruption, hosting buyers from around New Zealand and Australia.
The two-day event in June connected 150 exhibitors from 18 regions with 45 Australian, 100 New Zealand hosted buyers, and 300 local day buyers. Close to 800 people met during two days on the show floor.
A BEIA survey of buyers post-MEETINGS showed $74 million worth of business was provisionally secured during the two days.
BEIA Chief Executive, Lisa Hopkins says this economic injection also reflects the strength of the domestic market, with buyers looking at local destinations and more business opportunities staying on shore.
“New exhibitors, new regions, along with three new international convention centres in Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland provided buyers with an impressive selection of products and services.”
Fifty buyers and media from every Australian state, except Victoria, which was in lockdown at the time, visited New Zealand for MEETINGS on 2 and 3 June. They also participated in regional familiarisation tours across the North and South Islands before and after the event.
“The demand to meet in New Zealand shows the future of travel, particularly relating to vaccines and travel passports, is just as critical to business events as it is to other visitor economy sectors,” Ms Hopkins says.
Comments received from Australian and domestic buyers all praised New Zealand as a safe and welcoming destination, and the BEIA team for professionally and safely delivering the event under challenging circumstances.
Wayne Taylor of Taylored Images, a leading Australian conference management specialist says MEETINGS 2021 was “an outstanding success”.
“The diversification of New Zealand is remarkable. The availability of regular daily flights of around three hours from Australia’s East Coast makes it a fantastic option and ideal for conference groups.
“New Zealand can work within any budget due to its diversity, and can represent excellent value for money. It offers remarkable food and wine with world-class hotels and conference meeting facilities supported by a never-ending array of activities on offer for the ‘down’ time,” he says.
Barbara Johnson, Event Manager for Australian property investment company, Lifecorp based in Brisbane says making the commitment to attend MEETINGS 2021 was worth everything that had to happen to get there this year.
“I expect there were many curve balls for the MEETINGS 2021 team to contend with. From my perspective though everything was so smooth, professional, informative, fun and overall, a first-class event. I made some wonderful connections,” Ms Johnson says.
“The success of MEETINGS is a direct reflection of the industry’s desire to collaborate and partner with BEIA, ensuring every buyer left feeling welcomed and appreciated. It was a true team effort,” Ms Hopkins says.