Published on : Saturday, March 24, 2018
Peter King, Chief Executive, Melbourne Convention And Exhibition Centre, (MCEC) speaks with TTW on how their new expanded facilities will offer increased opportunities to business travelers in Melbourne.
Travel And Tour World: As you were crowned the “Best Venue Team ” for second consecutive year in the EEAA Awards 2017, how MCEC is planning to keep up its rank for the next 5 years ?
Peter King: We have had an intensive plan with our people and continue to invest in them, like we have training initiatives. Ultimately, it is based on our customer centric attitude so it has been a big initiative for the last couple of years. Our culture is in fantastic shape and we have done high potential programmes where we invest and develop our staff. The venue team that we have put together develop enormous comfort, they deliver a great experience and are keen in doing that.
Travel And Tour World :You have huge turnover in terms of inbound travellers during this show. What is your perception about the statistics and how you think travel events contribute in developing Melbourne’s local economy?
Peter King: A lot of business runs around the visitation element, the international and inter-state visitation is all driven around in alignment with the local government’s strategic initiatives. The industries we are working closely with are medical, scientific, sustainability, agriculture, food wine and sports. I think they are the key or the strategic pillars of this government.
So, we bring in and attract a lot of meetings and conferences that are aligned with those pillars and it brings enormous economic benefit to the city.
We ensure to engage them with the local people. Those having any particular interest in certain research or corporate involvement, we link those visitors with the local industries so it is adding an enormous economic impact to the city.
We as a business delivered around 969 million dollars worth of economic impact to Melbourne last year and we are big economic drivers for the city.
Travel And Tour World : MCEC is under construction, increasing by 25% and around 35 properties (like hotels) are coming up around Melbourne. Do you think that we need so many number of hotels for future events?
Peter King: We are going a long way to help fill those hotels. Melbourne is in a great economic shape and once we grow our business, a lot of other venues in town will also grow theirs and the international major sporting events are also growing.
There is a demand for Melbourne to build the capacity and provide great experiences to our visitors. So I am really confident and think we can continue to grow our business to fill over these hotel.
This a major point of differentiation from other cities around the world but certainly Australia and Melbourne has a great combination.
Travel And Tour World: Does MCEC and Destination Melbourne will work together to deliver world class tourism experience?
Do you have any common programme to promote or market Melbourne?
Peter King: We do work very closely with the convention bureau,Visit Victoria and with the state government. We have a lot of hotel partners, as soon as someone gets off the plane , it is a 20 minutes ride into the convention centre.
We have a lot of people arriving as we are within walking distance to all major hotels, fantastic bays and restaurants. We work very hard on the delegate experience, we provide them with connection into the region, send them to some of the tourist locations, the wine country dance etc.
We are building an attractive playground for the delegate who would attend or not attend a business event to get an all round experience.
Travel And Tour World : For many of the leisure or business travellers while visiting Australia, specially Melbourne, MCEC is often their first destination.
How important is it to make a strong and positive impression to keep attracting international business visitors, considering the MICE industry?
Peter King: Being the first point of contact, we have an obligation to make sure that the people have a memorable experience in Melbourne. The facilities are fantastic, the food and beverage are locally produced so that they get all the great elements that what Victoria, Melbourne and Australia has.
We are very careful about the way we manage the convention centre. The great feature about Melbourne is that it can create a of lot of experiences with the little bays, restaurants etc.
You build your own memories when in Melbourne and we start this with the convention centre. We bring a great delegate experiences and memories from the business we do.
Travel And Tour World : The Sydney Convention Centre is a great convention centre where you can actually fold up the seats of the huge hall and make it entirely empty.
Do you think it is a big challenge for Melbourne with Sydney and how you can cope up with that being in a fair competition?
Peter King: It is competitive, perhaps the world’s competitive in this business now. Sydney has good new facility but we have different markets.
We have detachable spaces, retractable seating systems and plenary system. Everything here is world class, our new expansion has leveraged us from great business to earning an incredibly good business and it is our new step up.
We are confident of being in a good a shape. There is plenty of business here and I think ultimately Australia is the one that benefits. Some people go to Sydney for certain experiences, while some come to Melbourne. We enjoy the competition and believe there is plenty of business for everyone.