The exposure factor

Upcoming Queen’s Wharf Brisbane integrated resort, which will
sit slong the Brisbane River (pictured), is expected to serve as a
conversation starter to elevate Brisbane’s visibility

Supporting tourism infrastructure and branding intelligence may be the driving forces to finally put Brisbane’s overlooked incentive products on the map, Rebecca Elliott reports

It’s the capital city of arguably Australia’s most popular state for hosting incentive programmes, yet Brisbane, just an hour’s drive north of the Gold Coast, rarely appears on the itinerary.


But that’s all about to change, according to the Brisbane Marketing’s general manager of conventions and business events, Rob Nelson, who admitted that the agency, as the city’s conventions bureau, had long had a more associations-focused strategy.

“We want to explore our capabilities in the incentives space and are doing work now to look at what that market potential might be,” he remarked.

Hosting the G20 Leaders’ Summit in 2014 was a pivotal point for Brisbane, said Nelson. In addition to providing unprecedented exposure for the city, he said it also enhanced its reputation for hosting world-class business events, which led to greater confidence in the sector and improvements in infrastructure.

On the hotel front, 900 rooms have been added to the city’s inventory in the last two years with the likes of TRYP, Hotel Jen, Four Points by Sheraton and NEXT Hotels among the new entrants. They will be joined by new Mantra, Holiday Inn Express, Pullman, ibis, Emporium, W and Westin offerings over the next few years.

Yet these projects pale in comparison to the AU$3 billion (US$2.2 billion) development of integrated resort, Queen’s Wharf Brisbane by the Destination Brisbane Consortium.

Announcing the development at AIME in February, Consortium partner The Star Entertainment Group’s Queensland managing director, Geoff Hogg, said the project would restore and reactivate nine heritage buildings in the precinct and upon completion in 2022, would feature 3,100 hotel rooms and apartments, 50 bars and restaurants, a pedestrian bridge to South Bank, a mixture of retail offerings and, “12 football fields of public realm space that will accommodate up to 60,000 people”.

“Situated along the Brisbane River, it will transform a (largely underutilised) heritage area of the city into a world-class and iconic multi-use precinct,” he said.

Increased air access to Brisbane will also assist Nelson’s cause, with Qantas, Etihad, Air Canada, China Eastern all upgrading or introducing new routes to the city.

As well, Brisbane Airport is constructing a new parallel runway which will double the airport’s capacity to handle flights coming from Singapore and Hong Kong.

The bureau is currently working with Business Events Australia on a new market segmentation project and marketing assets to shape their brand, which could tackle the lack of awareness and visibility where Brisbane’s offerings are concerned.

Nelson said: “We look at itineraries of other destinations and we think you can do all that in Brisbane, but perhaps we’re not telling the story well enough through the right distribution channels.

“You can do the Australian bucket list in Brisbane – feed the dolphins in Moreton Island, go to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, do all the Australian things under beautiful sky. We need to get that message across, particularly for the Asian market.”

And with the supporting infrastructure now in place, “we’ve got the capacity now”, Nelson expressed.

Moreton Island makes an interesting post-show tour destination;
G20 Leaders Summit 2014 delivered unprecedented exposure for Brisbane

{Taking Numbers}

Making waves at events

Brand new to the business events product offering in Brisbane is Pop Up Radio Australia, an online station that provides live radio streams and podcasts on event-related content to conference participants at the venue, in regional locations or anywhere in the world.

The brainchild of Anthony Frangi, who’s been facilitating conferences for over 25 years, Pop Up Radio was launched in October 2015 at the Business Innovation & Improvement in Government Conference in Brisbane.

“Podcasting and streaming is very much a way of life today,” said Frangi, “We wanted to build a business that not only captures a permanent record of the extraordinary people who present at events, but also to celebrate the highly successful conference market.”

To date, Pop Up Radio has secured more than 12 events within the health, planning, community, government, university and innovation sectors.

As its name suggests, the Pop Up Radio station is set up at the conference venue and inclusions are customised to the needs of the event such as on-air branding, sponsorship opportunities, panel discussions and more.

Mat Finch, general manager, Ibis Styles Brisbane Elizabeth Street

Mat Finch, general manager, Ibis Styles Brisbane Elizabeth Street

Discover homegrown produce

A visit to the weekly Jan Powers Farmers Markets make for a feel good, grassroots experience right in the heart of the city. With a social and community slant, the markets are a great place to explore exotic products sourced from local growers and producers. It is a big, bustling, open-air food market that sells all the most interesting food and plants, kitchen goods and wine, breads, meat, fish and fowl under the sun.

Immerse in contemporary art

Housing over 16,000 works, the combined Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) is the centrepiece of Brisbane’s South Bank cultural precinct. GOMA is home to a unique interactive Children’s Art Centre and the Australian Cinémathèque, the only dedicated cinema facility in an Australian art museum.

Get a taste of street food where it meets urban vibes

Brisbane’s urban food scene comes alive in a disused container wharf a stone’s throw from the city each Friday and Saturday night. Wander through the Eat Street Markets bazaar and sample everything from aromatic international cuisine to boutique beers.


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