Strike up the brand

Adelaide seizes the opportunity to showcase its finest to international incentive planners, and rebuild relationships in a fiercely competitive industry

Adelaide is coming into its own as an incentive destination, with interest strongly building from the region and recently presenting a solid showcase as Tourism Australia’s host city for the return of its signature incentives showcase, Dreamtime.

Armed with the philosophy of “show, not tell”, Adelaide demonstrated its ability to design and execute high-level experiences in front of 80 international incentive planners at Dreamtime, including about 30 from one of its key target markets, China.

Aerial view of Adelaide City

“Our corporate incentives is blossoming and it’s a real growth area for us. We also have significant government funding that we didn’t have before, to dedicate time and resources towards building this market,” said Tony Saulter, general manager strategy & public affairs, Business Events Adelaide.

Positioned as a boutique city, Adelaide was building momentum for incentive business with several wins for 2021 before they were cancelled by the pandemic. But the story they now tell proudly consists of new luxury hotels and experiences.

This includes the opening of Sofitel Adelaide near the Riverbank precinct; Adelaide Oval Hotel located at the iconic cricket ground; and Eos by SkyCity Adelaide, bringing a new level of luxury accommodation. An upcoming Marriott hotel will also mark the debut of the international chain in the city.

The ultra-luxurious Southern Ocean Lodge on Kangaroo Island has also reopened after being destroyed by bushfires in 2020, welcoming guests back to the exclusive and sustainable retreat.

Beyond hotels, new venues and attractions are enhancing Adelaide’s incentive offering. The A$20 million (US$13.4 million) Event Centre at Morphettville will host major concerts and exhibitions. Glamping experiences have launched at Monarto Safari Park, one of Australia’s largest open-range zoos.

Adelaide’s world-class wine regions like the Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale and Adelaide Hills continue to expand, with several boutique wineries and cellar doors opening recently, as if Adelaide did not already have enough fine wine experiences on offer.

However, it is not just about the assets. Adelaide also made the most of Dreamtime to showcase its ability to weave next-level wow factors into the incentive experience.

A highlight for delegates was breakfast on the Adelaide Oval, arriving through the players’ tunnel to cheer squads and fireworks, while a choir sang from the roof – all these added to the emotional factor.

The rise in Adelaide’s incentive offering is supported by a growing Business Events Adelaide team that has expanded – from just nine staff two years ago to 16 currently. This includes a dedicated director of Asia who is based in-market visiting key clients across the region regularly. There are also plans to employ additional Chinese-speaking staff to assist with securing more business from the Chinese market.

Rundle Mall in Adelaide CBD

“Greater China is showing a great deal of interest and we’re also seeing a lot of activity out of Singapore,” said Saulter.

“Apart from that, India will be a growing focus over the next 12 months because it has shown to be an emerging market on the back of our Indian student population overtaking the number of Chinese students, which is increasing our visibility in India,” he said.

Saulter added that Adelaide has maintained strong relationships with direct-selling companies, particularly in Greater China. The appetite for new destinations also puts the South Australian city in a prime position for business.

“Incentive planners tell us they have already done Europe and Dubai, so they’re looking farther afield.

“They are looking for unique Australian experiences that involve a range of activities – whether it involves something wildlife related, our beach culture or the wine and seafood. I hope that we’ve been able to show our flexibility for experiences that in some cases, money cannot buy, like closing off a city street for a party as we did at Dreamtime,” Saulter added.

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