Think HBR

Hosting an international conference in Newcastle

Sharon Lesley Photography - see magazine for high res image
Cassie Mackay
Abercrombie Management
Recently, Newcastle hosted the 9th International Conference on Environmental Catalysis from 11 – 13 July 2016. The conference attracted 290 delegates and over 50 accompanying partners, of which 90% were international travellers, who were mostly first-time visitors to Australia and the Greater Hunter region. The city received an economic benefit of $360,000 over this 3-day event.
How did Newcastle secure this conference?
A Professor from the University of Newcastle first approached the Newcastle Business Events for their assistance with preparing a bid to host the conference in Newcastle. The city was up against Sydney, and this would be the first time the conference had ever visited Australia. The Newcastle Business Events Team offers a number of free services, and by the University utilising these services and relationships with local suppliers, Newcastle was successful in the bid for the conference.
Shortly after Newcastle was named the host city, the Professor contacted a number of local professional conference organisers (PCO) and appointed Abercrombie Management. The Abercrombie Management Team offers a number of services for business events including part and full conference management locally, nationally and internationally.
Based in Newcastle, the Conference Director worked closely with the University for over two years to ensure its successful delivery. Although the company organises events throughout Australasia, they love running events in Newcastle, where they can contract and work with local professionals and operators in delivering a world class business event which in turn showcases this wonderful city.
The conference was held at Newcastle City Hall and using Civic Theatre for the main plenary due to the works being completed on the City Hall site. As Newcastle’s pseudo conference centre, the venue can easily accommodate a 300 pax conference with multiple concurrent sessions and space for a trade exhibition. Bluestar catering ensured the food was suitable for all cultures and the delegates couldn’t stop raving about the food. Working within a construction site, the team at the venue ensured they went above and beyond to service the client and are a real asset to the venue. We can’t wait to see this venue back up and running to its full capacity.
Fordtronic Video and Sound were contracted to deliver all of the AV and sound onsite. The team delivers every single time and know the venue like the back of their hand. The team is extremely professional and work directly with the presenters to ensure they have everything ready to go as required. The team can work on or offsite, and truly make delivering a conference of this scale with so many concurrent sessions (5 in total) extremely simple.
A number of social functions were held offsite including the welcome reception at Newcastle Museum, the gala dinner at Noah’s on the Beach, a board meeting at Customs House, a restaurant night at multiple sites including Silo, Six Degrees and the Happy Wombat and a closing function at Queens Wharf Hotel for one last local beer. All of the venues assisted in showcasing Newcastle on an international scale.
Newcastle has a range of accommodation options and accommodation blocks were arranged by Abercrombie Management. This allowed the PCO to offer all delegates a number of special rates across the city, with the majority taking up this offer. However, a few of the delegates who had booked accommodation direct or through booking sites such as Expedia, had trouble with the accommodation not being what was represented to them online. In future, we’d suggest really pushing your delegates to recommended accommodation to ensure they enjoy their visit to Newcastle.
Abercrombie Management continues to work with the University and the Newcastle Business Events Team to bring business events to Newcastle. They are more than happy to offer free advice or assistance during the early planning stages of your event to help shape its direction. Many people believe they can deliver a business event on their own, but with the assistance of a PCO you will have peace of mind that your event will be delivered to the highest standard and without incident.
For more information, please contact
CassMackay Cassie Mackay
has worked in the events industry for six years in Sydney and Newcastle primarily focused on marketing Newcastle as a business events destination as she spent a number of years working for the Newcastle Convention Bureau and the Newcastle Tourism Industry Group. Cassie is currently working as the Marketing Officer for Maitland City Council, along with Marketing Manager for Abercrombie Management and Façon Australia.