Home' micenet eMag : micenet April 2018 Contents G
ood event planners are risk
takers. And the people who
hire them and invest in the
culture of an event should be
congratulated for doing things differently.
I attended three stand-out events during
February and March that were each created
for completely different purposes. These
1. The 25th anniversary of the Sounds of
Silence dinner at Uluru
2. The InterContinental Hotels Group Annual
AIME Dinner in Melbourne
3. You’ve gotta be joking - Tourism New
Zealand Showcase (Adelaide and
So let me tell you what they were about
and why I liked them so much...
EVENT: 25th anniversary of
the Sounds of Silence dinner
@: In the dunes with views to Uluru
PAX: Around 100
Every night around 300 visitors to Ayers
Rock Resort take a seat at the Sounds of
Silence dinner. They’ve been doing so for the
past 25 years.
Having anything last for 25 years in this
“disrupted” world is no mean feat. The
Sounds of Silence has stood the test of time,
continuing to be one of the most popular
night-time experiences for visitors to Uluru.
Recognising this, the team at Voyages
Indigenous Tourism Australia flew in
journalists from near and far as well as a few
special VIPs for a special sit-down Sounds of
Silence dinner to celebrate its 25 years of
Unlike the normal Sounds of Silence buffet
style service, this one was all a la carte. The
food was superb, the entertainment non-invasive, and the star-gazing talk under a sky full of
stars highly enjoyable.
A real treat was the service staff who appeared genuinely happy to be there.
This event was held on the first night of a three-day program that gave attendees a real taste
of why this place is so magical. Bruce Munro’s light installation is spectacular and is something I
would highly recommend to conference groups. The good news is that the season has now
been extended so there’s still time to catch it.
With so many travel journalists and Instagrammers attending there are sure to be plenty of
stories and imagery of Uluru and the Sounds of Silence dinner. One Chinese Instagrammer who
was there has 35 million followers. Yikes!
So why was it a risky event? First up, journalists, especially travel journalists can be fickle folk.
They get a lot of invitations to a lot of things. It wouldn’t have been a great 25th anniversary if
nobody showed up.
To stop that from potentially happening, Voyages sent out invitations in late 2017 announcing
what they were doing and hoping that the journos put the dates in their diaries before they got
Reminders were also sent.
It was also risky because not a lot changed from the standard Sounds of Silence dinners that
are held every night of the week. There was a quick cake cutting ceremony and service was a la
carte rather than buffet-style.
And that was all that was really needed. What more do you want when you’re sipping
champagne on a sand dune as the sun sets over Uluru and then meander down to your table to
be waited on hand and foot?
The event worked because of its location and its simplicity.
Certainly the organisers could’ve paid an astronomical fee for a recognised entertainer to sing
on the night but it really wasn’t necessary.
Sometimes events without all the bells and whistles is all you need.
EVENT: IHG Annual AIME Dinner
@: Vue de monde restaurant
PAX: Around 100
What do you do when you want to attract your top clients and prospects to an event on an
evening where there are multiple industry events happening?
IHG’s concept was to book out one of Melbourne’s best restaurants and send out the
Vue de monde in Rialto Tower appeared to do the trick with the event probably oversubscribed.
What’s more, there didn’t seem to be a spare seat in the house (something that’s a pretty rare
thing in the business events and tourism industries courtesy of the “no shows”).
IHG let the venue, its food, and the head chef do the hard yards for it. In-between courses,
chef Shannon Bennett took guests on a culinary journey through a simple Q&A format with two
Events aren’t dead yet as Brad Foster discovered in
February and March when he attended three very
different gatherings held for three very different reasons.
GOOD RISKY BUSINESS
NEWS | BRAD FOSTER
6 | micenet
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