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Mice Net : August 2008
to secure the business and this is an ongoing challenge. One has to be ever open to adjusting the bid as the ground shifts during the process. The strategy development and implementation is the really exciting part of this business. We have a win rate in excess of 60 per cent, which is excellent given the level of competition.” Ms Gardiner says that Australia’s reputation for organising and delivering world-class meetings in clean, unpolluted cities goes a long way to securing international association meetings. “We have great assets and conferences are by no means solely won on the financial strength of a bid. “The international associations see Australia as a good place to engage with the Asia Pacific. Blue skies, good transportation and great service from the venues helps skew the business our way. But nothing comes easily.” The Zonta Story Selling Melbourne in the dead of winter as the ideal destination for the international conference of Zonta, a service organisation for professional women, was something of a challenge, especially when Cairns was a contender. Running the Melbourne bid for the local Zonta region was Beryl McMillan, director of community relations at St Leonard’s College, a co-educational independent school in Melbourne. “In the bid process we acted with all the conviction that we had already won the bid,” she explains. “We were enormously helped along the way by the Melbourne Convention + Visitors Bureau with advice and information on a whole range of items.” The Zonta conference is a long six days with a busy professional program and many social events, so the bid team had to demonstrate that Melbourne and the convention centre were up to the task, especially regards to the catering. “When the Zonta president visited for a site inspection, we were able to introduce her to the Lord Mayor and some of his officials. “At that meeting the mayor offered us a civic reception for the delegates and the promise that a flower garden bed would be dedicated to Zonta in St Kilda Road for the duration of the conference, conditions permitting.” The Melbourne Convention + Visitors Bureau worked closely with Beryl McMillan’s committee to draw up the bid document and then travelled to a Zonta meeting in Chicago to personally make what turned out to be the winning presentation. Among the innovative measures offered were pre- and post- conference touring which had Zonta delegates and partners enjoying home hospitality right across Australia from local Zonta members. “With the assistance of the Melbourne bureau we were able to demonstrate that we could put on the best Zonta conference ever – which is exactly what we achieved,” Ms McMillan said. The business of bidding Number of bids submitted: On average the Sydney Convention & Visitors Bureau will submit 56 bids during a financial year. During the 07/08 financial year the SCVB submitted 74 bids. In 2006/2007 Melbourne Convention + Visitor Bureau submitted 73 and in 2007/2008 92 bids. Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre submits on average 55 bids a year. How many bids are successful: SCVB: 71 per cent Melbourne: 70 per cent Brisbane: 65 per cent-plus Convention business in hand: Sydney: 80 events secured from now until 2014 worth an estimated $604,492,047 Melbourne: More than 23 conventions have been secured for the new Melbourne Convention Centre, bringing more than 50,000 delegates valued at more than $327 million. Brisbane: the centre is currently holding bookings for 72 international conferences and 228 conventions in total. mice.net 9