Gareth Martin

Brisk days ahead for the CEO of Business Events Perth, who leads his team through a multi-pronged strategy to rebuild events demand.

Seeing is believing, so will fam trips for the buyer community be one of the top activities on Business Events Perth’s agenda as it rebuilds travel demand?
Fam trips are certainly a priority for the Business Events Perth team. Earlier in (August), we had the pleasure of hosting a group of Australia’s top PCOs. The group explored new hotels, event venues, restaurants and incentive activities to update their product knowledge of our extraordinary state.

Following that, we welcomed a group of key clients from the Asia-Pacific region for a fam trip (to see) Fremantle, the Swan Valley, Rottnest and our vibrant city centre which is practically brand new.

Since the beginning of July 2022, we have hosted 12 client site inspections and three fam trips. Our business development team has more site inspections and fam trips on the agenda.

Our strategy in showcasing Western Australia (WA) through these activations is to ensure our member partners get face-to-face meetings with business event organisers so that they can profile their venue or service in person, allowing a mutually beneficial showcase of WA’s capabilities in hosting events.

The bulk of destination marketing messages in the past year has been about new and refreshed experiences awaiting post-lockdown visitors. How is Business Events Perth breaking through similar tunes to reach target planners?
Over the past 18 months, we’ve diversified our marketing and communications efforts and channels in a big way, in order to effectively convey our message on the international stage.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words and in this case, a thousand stories. WA is set to become the nation’s premier destination for authentic Aboriginal cultural experiences, and we aim to highlight opportunities for business event visitors to connect with signature Indigenous Cultural experiences across the state. We recently commissioned an artwork through Nani Creative, a local, Aboriginal-led creative studio based in WA, highlighting the importance of Indigenous Cultural experiences. This work features native flora and fauna spanning this vast state, from the red sands of our North to the deep colours of our abundant South-west and in between.

You will see this displayed throughout our marketing, activated to recognise our 50th year as an organisation and at tradeshows. We want international visitors to connect with the world’s oldest living culture, dating back 60,000 years.

This activation is part of our efforts to support the delivery of the Jina: Western Australian Aboriginal Tourism Action Plan 2021-2025, which was developed by the WA government to strategically enhance the state’s Aboriginal tourism experiences and encourage engagement and employment for Aboriginal people in the tourism sector.

We’re (also) leveraging some trailblazing mediums such as virtual reality, to showcase our iconic experiences and environs. A big part of destination marketing in the current climate relies on engaging non-locals in an immersive way and giving them a glimpse of what we have on offer from the comfort of their home. In addition, and in an Australian first, we have produced an extensive library of 3D venue tours to allow clients to explore a vast array of WA venues while travel was restricted.

We’ve reimagined our Business Events Planners Guide to be completely virtual, increasing its accessibility to global stakeholders, and expanding its scope to better represent WA’s business events offering through a series of strategic industry partnerships.

We also introduced a first-of-its-kind funding incentive, Keynote Speaker Funding, created to strategically generate leads for Western Australia in the long-term, while supporting the continuance of business events.

Are there programmes to play up the intellectual side of the state to attract congresses?
Each year, Business Events Perth runs the Aspire Awards Program (2022 edition is now open) to support WA researchers, academics and professionals by sponsoring them to attend an international business event (that will benefit) their professional development. This is a very important programme to recognise and foster the career of those who are doing amazing things for the WA community. The awards also highlight the talent and innovation that can be found in WA and in turn attract business events to our state.

To support the development of (the state’s eight key economic) sectors, and through increased Reconnect WA funding from the WA government, we have aligned our business development strategy to reflect these priorities by bidding for conferences aligned to the areas of growth. This has already generated strong success with several key national and international conferences secured for the state (across multiple) sectors, (including) the World Indigenous Tourism Summit – all occurring in the next six months.

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