Home' micenet eMag : micenet December 2018 Contents I
t was a blustery day in Auckland when
Oscar Cerezales made a $10,000 bet to a
room full of event professionals.
Outside, the Duke and Duchess of
Sussex had just departed the city as part of
their down under tour, and residents across
the North Island were dusting off the effects
of a 6.2 earthquake which had suspended
parliament the previous day.
But inside the Great Room of Cordis
Auckland, amidst turquoise décor and under
dimmed chandeliers, the 200 attendees at
CINZ’s annual conference sat enraptured.
“Coming here, I was tasked with delivering some predictions for the future of the global
business events sector” intoned the COO of MCI Group Asia-Pacific, an organisation
responsible for more than 5000 projects a year at a turnover of USD $450 million.
“I’ve worked in Europe, Washington, Brazil and now Singapore... I’ve talked to the whole
value chain, and I’ve seen what’s happening.
“I will bet any of you $10,000 that these things will happen.”
The bold inevitabilities were rolled out as follows:
1. Delegates will be paid to attend events, instead of paying a registration fee themselves to
2. Associations will be usurped by unstructured communities. Already, thousands of events
are organised by groups outside the radar of the meetings industry – such as TED and
Earth Hour – and they are being sponsored by marketers and participated in by millions of
people. This will continue to threaten event planners’ clients, the professional associations.
In its 42nd outing, Conventions & Incentives New Zealand’s
annual conference, which took place in Auckland between
October 30 and November 1, gave delegates plenty of (socially
responsible) food for thought.
CINZ REPORT | LAURA BRADLEY
The Great Room of Cordis Auckland
was decked out with calming blue
decor for the occasion.
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3. As a result, the business events sector will no longer be called the business events sector,
and will evolve into something malleable and de-centralised.
4. There will be a rise in platform-based business models, with hotels and convention centres
offering a full suite of branded services, including AV, food and beverage and in-house
5. There will be an exponential increase in business events, but they will halve in size.
Marketers are aware that 2000-pax events achieve a lower ROI than 150-pax events, and
large crowds are not conducive to networking.
The theme of this year’s conference was ‘Breaking New Ground’, and if the fervent note-
taking and post-speech murmurs were any indication, Oscar was touching upon some
previously unexplored terrain. Or, perhaps, he was sparking to life ideas that had lain dormant
In any case, the first three minutes of his keynote perfectly encapsulated the event’s key
message, with the dual threads of ‘new’ and ‘thought-provoking’ continuing to weave their way
through conference proceedings.
Providing unique experiences
Perhaps the most recurring sentiment was the idea of moving beyond what’s been done before.
Whether it’s traditional event design, cut copy approaches to competitors or the rigid
expectations of clients, many speakers stressed the importance of unique and innovative
approaches to events.
“The problem with our industry is we’re all copy cats,” said Oscar.
“You’ll get much further with creating a lasting impression with attendees if you create and
package emotional experiences that are unique to you and your brand.”
Business development manager for Hamilton and Waikato, Amanda Graham, lent credence
to this claim, detailing her experience with a client who approached the destination with pre-
“A client in the health and wellbeing industry contacted me with a set format for their event...
they had always run with a central city conference hotel with the full conference program and
dinner onsite,” she said.
“I told them as a region we just couldn’t deliver an event in that format, so I asked whether
they would consider reviewing their conference format and venue.
“They ended up taking me up on my offer
and were very impressed with what the
region had to offer [and] liked the idea of
trying something new.”
As well as pushing back, giving back was
another key component of conference
proceedings. In her opening keynote, CEO of
CINZ Sue Sullivan outlined the commitment
expressed by many organisers to integrate
CSR and sustainable practices into their
programs, as well as CINZ’s strategy to
publish a number of CSR case studies onto
For its own contributions, CINZ organisers
distributed re-useable coffee cups to
conference delegates, and employed the
culinary services of social enterprise and
catering chain Eat My Lunch. As part of the
enterprise’s pay-it-forward ethos, for each of
the 200 lunches consumed by delegates, a
corresponding lunch was donated to a kiwi
child in need.
Founder of Eat My Lunch, Lisa King, also
took to the stage and regaled the audience
with her inspiring journey from hatching the
idea of Eat My Lunch – which was initially
scoffed at by friends and bank managers – to
growing a national enterprise that now
delivers 2700 lunches to 91 schools each day.
Oscar Cerezales from MCI Group
shared plenty of predictions for
the future of the industry.
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