New hotel development responds to record occupancies – yet are we building enough?

Brian Merzeo 6.7.15Australia’s tourism industry continues to be a ‘super sector’ for the nation’s economy, with strong growth in both international and domestic visitor numbers. The extreme levels of occupancy we are experiencing in Sydney and Melbourne CBD’s, translates to upwards of 100 nights per year above 95% occupancy. As we discussed at the PCOA 2016 conference in Brisbane, this may be welcome by the hoteliers to have a full house, yet this is a major concern for conference organizers.

The story behind our nation’s booming tourism sector and high occupancy levels has a few components. One of the main goals of the Tourism 2020 plan is to increase the value of the tourism economy to $116 billion per year.

International visitor arrivals have continued to grow at record pace, after accelerating over 2016. The 11% increase of international visitors to Australia is the highest growth rate in ageneration, and is growing at nearly three times the rate of global travel. With new airlines bringing international guests to our shores, record numbers of cruise ships in our ports, and 2017 being named the Year of Tourism with China, we foresee continued inbound passenger growth.

The second major component of accommodation guest nights is from Australians, which has also seen solid growth figures for six consecutive years. This has been boosted by the low Australian dollar, which makes it relatively more expensive to take holidays overseas, and therefore Australians are trending to holiday within our country at both leisure and urban destinations. Successful promotional campaigns on food, wine and coastal tourism have contributed to a 6% increase in domestic guests at Cairns and Hobart airports, and double digit visitor night growth for both Western Australia and Southern Australia.

This growth of traveller numbers, from overseas, as well as by Aussies, is growing at a faster rate than we are building new accommodation rooms. Occupancy levels have been increasing for many years, and over the past decade we have not been building enough hotels and serviced apartments to meet this level of guests. We are starting to see this issue across a few indicators. Travellers are increasingly looking beyond traditional options for their accommodation needs, which has lead to more than 8% growth in non-traditional accommodation (private rental homes and apartments). The best known brands here in Australia are Stayz and Airbnb, yet there are many more rental platforms operating overseas which we may see here before long. Consumers have accepted these different types of overnight rooms both in the city and more often, outside of CBD areas. Conferences overseas have embraced these options for delegates, and we’re starting to see more and more companies and events support them here in Australia.

While the accommodation sales managers are enjoying the nearly full occupancy levels and ability to charge higher rates, they are also building many more hotels to fulfil the demand. Deloitte is currently tracking 143 new accommodation properties across Australia at the moment, which will see new brands from global hotel chains entering our country for the first time. The majority of these new hotels will be located around major demand drivers such as conference centres, airports, and sporting facilities. These will be a much needed and welcome option for event organizers.

Despite this large number of new projects, demand, that is guests looking for accommodation, is growing at a faster rate than we are building rooms for them. This translates to continued high levels of occupancy, especially around major events and strong business travel seasons. While there will be some relief for large room availability with 30 new accommodation properties in Melbourne, Sydney will see continued high occupancy.

If you ask an economist how we as a nation can solve this room shortage, they may tell you to start paying more for rooms, which will then attract the interest of property developers, and encourage them to build accommodation, rather than commercial or residential projects, which often have a higher return on investment.

While this may not be the answer you wanted to hear, if we start paying a bit more for a bed, we’ll soon see more options, and greater room availability for events and conferences.

About the report
The Deloitte Tourism and Hotel Market Outlook uses the forecasting, modelling and analytical expertise to create ten key market forecasts, including RevPAR, room rate and occupancy.

About the author:- 
Bryon Merzo was a Featured Speaker at the PCOA conference 2016

For more information on the PCOA conference 2017 click here

This article was published in CIM Australia’s leading business events magazine issue 3 2017

New Zealand celebrates 10th PCOA with largest-ever team

The largest-ever team of New Zealand suppliers is heading to the Gold Coast for the Professional Conference Organisers (PCO) Association’s 10th anniversary event next month.

Conventions and Incentives New Zealand (CINZ) Australia Manager Sharon Auld says 19 New Zealand suppliers will be joining the 100% Pure New Zealand hub at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre from Sunday 26 to Tuesday 28 November 2017.

“New Zealand first exhibited under the 100% Pure New Zealand banner in Hobart in 2010. We had eight in our team then, seven years on, we have 19.

“New Zealand’s convention bureaux, hotels and Air New Zealand have been strong supporters over the years, and now we have activities and gala dinner venues joining us as well as some smaller regional areas,” she says.

Newcomers to the 100% Pure New Zealand hub this year are Skyline Queenstown, Real Journeys, the Christchurch Centre, and the Napier Conference Centre – located on the East Coast of the North Island. The Langham Auckland will also be participating under their new name Cordis Auckland as they re-brand in November.

Tourism New Zealand is sponsoring featured speaker Corbin Ball, who is an internationally recognised expert on technology. For the fifth year, he has been named one of the 25 most influential people in the meetings industry. His articles have appeared in hundreds of national and international publications and he is the only person to have received both Meeting Professionals International’s (MPI) International Supplier of the Year and MPI’s International Chapter Leader of the Year award.

Joining CINZ at the 100% Pure New Zealand hub for the 10th PCO Association event are:
• Air New Zealand
• Auckland Convention Bureau
• Auckland Museum – Tamaki Paenga Hira
• ChristchurchNZ Convention Bureau
• Christchurch Centre
• Cordis Auckland
• Destination Rotorua Business Events
• Dunedin Convention Bureau
• Heritage & CityLife Hotels
• Hobbiton™ Movie Set
• Napier Conference Centre
• New Zealand International Convention Centre (NZICC)
• Queenstown Convention Bureau
• Real Journeys
• SKYCITY Auckland Convention Centre
• Skyline Queenstown
• Tourism New Zealand
• Venues Wellington

For further information please contact:
Anabel Darby

Join us for the 10th Annual PCOA Conference and Exhibition, to be held at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre, between 26 – 28 November 2017

Event Content of Tomorrow

International Productions looks at the content and technology that are shaping events beyond tomorrow

In toInternational Productionsday’s digitally saturated society – the events industry is constantly evolving as new trends in technology continue to explode onto the scene.

Technology that was once considered far-off is now here and with each innovation and new product that becomes available, it’s essential event professionals experiment to improve their content communication and enhance the attendee experience.

So, what does the future hold? Event content in the future will be all about merging the offline and online; combining live and virtual experiences to engage event attendees in multiple ways.

Event technology is currently inherent in every element of the experience pre- to post-event, and event managers need to consider how new technology can be used to offer content that is engaging.

As innovation continues to skyrocket, technology remains essential to creating a seamless and personalised onsite experience for delegates, as attendees continue to consume content both in the short and long term.

So, what makes event content engaging?

Short, sharp, well scripted content that is relevant.

Two elements are enabling more content relevance than ever; customisation and personalisation. To deliver the best customised content, take a step back when planning your event, identify what it is you wish to communicate and devise a bespoke content format purpose-built for your event. A personalised approach ensures a highly-tailored script and specially-designed visuals that will achieve cut through with your audience while also encompassing key messages and wider event themes.

What technology is guiding the future of event content?

Virtual reality (VR) and 360-degree video are dominating tech talk around the world.

VR allows the user to be in control and immerse themselves in a virtual environment. VR technology however, is still quite limited in its content offering for events and with much room to develop is likely to grow as an effective tool to engage and transform your event experience.
360-degree video is increasingly being used to break the fourth wall of events. Sharing 360-degree visuals online and on social media platforms extends the event experience to those who can’t attend – increasing brand awareness, while also creating valuable post-event content for delegates to relive after the event.

You screen, I screen, we all screen for big screens!

Screens have always shaped interaction with content at events, and this will only intensify in the future. With major in-roads recently made into the technical capability of LED screens, we’ve seen the image quality increase significantly with the pixel pitch decreasing from 10mm to under 2mm.

LED screens can transform a room and truly shape the guest experience; the flexibility to build screens of different shapes and sizes to suit your venue and work with your theme and brand – really does create an immersive effect. With event managers continually setting AV challenges to find new ways to use LED to present content at events, the options are proving somewhat limitless.

For now, projection continues to be the primary screen used to deliver content at events, predominantly due to the high price point of LED screens, but I predict as demand increases for LED screens, economies of scale will take effect to help make LED technology more accessible in the future.

Meanwhile, holograms personify content by bestowing interactive and human qualities to three-dimensional visual technology – for not only the wow factor, but to increase audience engagement. Like LED screens, holograms continue to go from strength to strength and as adoption of the technology across the events industry in Australia and around the world increases, we will see the price become more accessible for the mass market.

The future of content is bright, I’m personally so excited to see how event content will communicate with delegates in the future and explore how we can further customise and personalise content so no two events feel the same. As event managers continue to embrace new technology, and bespoke content – we have a prosperous future of events and conferences ahead!

International Productions is the PCOA Conference PLATINUM SPONSOR
Join us for the 10th Annual PCOA Conference and Exhibition, Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre, 26 – 28 November 2017