A walk around the show floor at MEETINGS 2022 in Christchurch gave an excellent indication of the enormous scope of product available to visitors to New Zealand – and to organisers planning events and incentives in the country.
The general manager Australia of Business Events Industry Aotearoa (BEIA), Sharon Auld, showed media around the stands on Wednesday. BEIA, New Zealand’s prime business events association, organises MEETINGS.
Stands we visited included:

  • RealNZ, Chief Executive Officer Stephen England-Hall – Stand #141

RealNZ is a leading recreation, tourism and ski company which includes Cardrona Alpine Resort, Treble Cone and the International Antarctic Centre.  With experiences spanning the TSS Earnslaw in Queenstown, Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound and Stewart Island, RealNZ’s ambition is to do business for good, creating enduring value through conservation that is enabled by tourism.

RealNZ, Chief Executive Officer Stephen England-Hall

RealNZ, Chief Executive Officer Stephen England-Hall

Prior to joining RealNZ (formerly the Wayfare Group), England-Hall, who holds an MBA from Cambridge University, was chief executive of Tourism New Zealand. England-Hall also holds several board positions including Cambridge University Advisory, Tourism Industry Aotearoa and NZ Story.
On Wednesday, England-Hall spoke of “snowmageddon” – a wondrous fall of snow in a short time earlier this week, which has delighted skiers and lovers of winter fun.

  • IHG Hotels & Resorts Director of Regional Sales, Australasia, Elise McDonald

New Zealand is home to an exciting era of growth, as IHG gets set to grow its footprint from seven hotels in 2019, to debuting several new brands and hotels over the next few years. Kickstarting the growth was the opening of Holiday Inn Queenstown Remarkables Park in December 2021, also home to New Zealand’s first Open Lobby concept. IHG Hotels & Resorts Director of Regional Sales, Australasia, Elise McDonald
IHG aims to double its New Zealand portfolio over next two years. Holiday Inn Queenstown Remarkables Park now open. In 2023, the Hotel Indigo brand will be introduced into the Auckland market.  There’s a promotion on at the moment for conference planners, who stand to win a million points in IHG’s One Rewards loyalty program. That’s worth a lot of room-nights!
On 12 May 2022, voco hotels made its New Zealand debut with the opening of voco Auckland City Centre, – a stunning new-build on the corner of Albert and Wyndham Streets featuring New Zealand’s highest rooftop bar and five meeting and events spaces. voco is part of a dual tower development that also includes the 294 room Holiday Inn Express Auckland City Centre which is due to open end of May.
Looking ahead, IHG will continue the momentum with the opening of InterContinental Auckland in 2023 – New Zealand’s second InterContinental hotel – as well as the debut of IHG’s boutique neighbourhood brand, Hotel Indigo, in Auckland in 2024. These new openings join an eclectic portfolio of IHG hotels in New Zealand, including InterContinental Wellington and Club Lounge, Holiday Inn & Suites Queenstown (the first Holiday Inn with a suites product in NZ) and the newly reopened Crowne Plaza Christchurch.
Alongside the exciting growth of IHG, including its new brands in market, IHG also announced the debut of its global loyalty program – IHG One Rewards, in April this year. Highlights of the new program include: faster earn, richer benefits, and the debut of Milestone Rewards with exceptional choice. As mentioned, to celebrate the launch of IHG One Rewards, IHG will be giving away 1 million IHG One Rewards Points at MEETINGS 2022 (full terms and conditions will be shared).
Elise McDonald, Director of Regional Sales, Australasia, IHG Hotels & Resorts leads a team of 14 Key Account Managers and Directors who deliver opportunities to IHG hotels globally.

  • Destination Queenstown, Kiran Nambiar, Business Development Director

With a focus on improving the domestic and international visitor experience, Queenstown has been busy over the last 2+ years expanding the product offering of the Southern Hemisphere’s premier tourist destination.
Between 2018-2022, there has been an almost 40% increase in the commercial hotel capacity with 20 new accommodation options coming online. More than a billion dollars of investment has been injected with new and upgraded accommodation, facilities including restaurants and function spaces, and land, water and air activities added to the tourism portfolio.
Kiran Nambiar, Business Development Director, Destination Queenstown, says three aspects appeal to meeting planners: unique venues; spectacular accommodation and world class attractions. Queensland is currently benefiting from a billion dollar’s worth of new investment. Nambiar says there’s new accommodation, new bars and restaurants, an arterial road going in, the new Kingpin Queenstown (ten pin bowling lanes, arcade, virtual reality games, escape rooms and private karaoke rooms), plus a marina.

  • Accor, Renae Trimble, Chief Commercial Officer 

Accor NZ is New Zealand’s largest hotel operator, with a venue to suit everyone’s needs across the regions. It will have its 400th hotel in Pacific region in two weeks’ time. Mövenpick Wellington opens on 1 July. Accor’s premium Swiss-born hospitality brand, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts, launched its first property in New Zealand on 16 May 2022 with the official opening of Mövenpick Hotel Auckland.
Ranae says the hotel is known for innovations such as a ‘Chocolate Hour’, 24-hour Sundae Service, and signature restaurant and bar.
Accor, Renae Trimble, Chief Commercial Officer 
With its heart-of-the-city location and access to some of the best commercial, retail, dining and leisure attractions in Tāmaki Makaurau, Mövenpick Hotel Auckland has become an iconic centrepiece of the city’s CBD
Meanwhile, Pullman Auckland is about to reopen with major refurbishment of rooms restaurants, bars and a dedicated apartment team to enhance the property’s high standards of hygiene and cleanliness.  In Australia meanwhile, Accor has gained the naming rights to Stadium Australia, now Accor Stadium, for seven years.

  • Tākina Events/Takina Commercial Development, Wellington; Elena Ford, Venue Sales Manager; David Perks, Tākina General Manager

Scheduled to open next year, Tākina is located right in Centre of Wellington, opposite Te Papa. This bold new venue will be the New Zealand capital’s largest built infrastructure investment since the Wellington Regional Stadium two decades ago, offering a powerful combination of facilities across three floors and 18,000 square metres. Tākina Wellington Convention and Exhibition Centre (Tākina) will be the Capital’s first premium event space delivering two key elements to Wellington’s economic infrastructure.
The top two floors will deliver the Capital’s first premium space to host meetings and conventions with over 10,000sqm of flexible meeting and exhibition space. The ground floor will include a 1280 square metre Exhibition Gallery that will be the largest in NZ.
Perks says that while Wellington has been a successful convention destination for many years, it has been hampered by the lack of high-quality venues. Although the world of mega conferences might look different as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the small to medium-sized events the centre is designed for will remain very relevant and will meet the needs of the national and Asia-Pacific market.
Tākina means to invoke, summon, to connect, to bring forth. It takes inspiration from the defining feature of Wellington, the winds, and centres us in the capital city while making clear this is a place we want to share. Wellington is the most walkable capital city anywhere and has a wealth of heritage and character, we want the international events community to share in this amazing place.

  • Kaikōura / Sudima; Lynette Buurman, Chair of Destination Kaikoura, Les Morgan, Director of Sudima Hotels; Michel Adolphe, chief commercial officer Hind management
Wellington General Store

Wellington General Store

With the new 120 room, 4.5 star Sudima Hotel Kaikōura set to open in October, the first accommodation of its kind in this coastal town, this will bring fantastic opportunity in the business events and incentive space. The hotel will have two conference and event venues.
Additionally, it has South Pacific Helicopters / Wings over Whales Krissy Griggs joining from Kaikōura for the first time, with some fantastic new experiences including the Heli-gin and the whales and cray tales with Dr Krista Van Der Linde, marine biologist. Further to this Kaikōura Helicopters(GCH), Kiwi Rail & Encounter Kaikōura will also be representing our region with their fantastic products at the event. The Coastal Pacific Train (part of Kiwi Rail) will be back on track in September 2022.
Kaikōura is also home to a variety of meeting spaces including, the Mayfair Arts and Culture Centre a modern multi-purpose venue. Built behind an iconic 1934 Art Deco Façade, The Mayfair boasts a wide range of capabilities in three different “spaces” that can be utilised to bring to life a variety of events and meet the needs of businesses and private groups.
Business events and incentives is a new space for Kaikōura but it is eager to grow with its new event venues, to complement a range of fantastic experiences – where the mountains meet the sea.

  • International Antarctic Centre, David Kennedy, General Manager – Stand #109

As the world’s premier Antarctic experience, the International Antarctic Centre, near the Antarctic airbase at Christchurch Airport, is uniquely positioned to tell the story of Antarctica’s history, exploration, science and importance to the future of our planet.
Christchurch has unique status as one of only five gateway cities in the world servicing Antarctic science research stations.
David Kennedy’s career in tourism includes Tourism Wellington as Convention Bureau Manager, chief executive of Destination Queenstown and GM South Island for Ngai Tahu Tourism.
A variety f packages are on offer, some incorporating Shackleton Whisky, inspired by the whisky left behind by Antarctica by Sir Ernest Shackleton in the early 1900s. Discovered frozen but intact over 100 years later, this blended malt continues in the footsteps of The Discovery and The Journey. Cheers!

  • Christchurch Airport, Scott Callaway, GM Trade Development

International gateway to the South Island, Christchurch Airport is just 15 minutes from the city’s CBD, hotels and venues (including the new Te Pae Convention Centre). As borders re-open, 12 partner airlines will directly connect Christchurch to hundreds of international destinations. Christchurch Airport is a world leader in decarbonisation, having gone beyond carbon neutral to become New Zealand’s only climate positive airport.
Christchurch Airport, Scott Callaway, GM Trade Development
The airport enables brands to start their meetings as soon as they touchdown in Christchurch with advertising packages and plans for a new welcome lounge.
Christchurch Airport’s GM of Trade Development, Scott Callaway is responsible for relationships with international airlines and oversees ‘South’ where the South Island’s 15 regions work together to grow visitor markets. Together with ChristchurchNZ and venues across the city, Scott is working to create great events that will provide fresh reasons to visit the city.
Edited by Peter Needham