Adelaide Convention Centre: Business Remains on Their Books

As confidence grows, the South Australian venue is seeing the release of pent-up demand for live, face-to-face events, which is fuelling its future calendar.
18th Jan, 2022

An advocate of change and local economic engine, the Adelaide Convention Centre remains committed to the full conference experience. For them, the successful delivery of domestic events can provide greater confidence to event planners overseas.

While COVID-19 has certainly impacted business, the South Australian experience at large has been vastly different to other places around the world. Through travel restrictions, contact tracing and government guidelines, South Australia (SA) managed to curb the spread of COVID-19, safely reopening to business events in August 2020. As a sign of ongoing recovery and upward momentum, in early 2021 Adelaide Convention Centre (ACC) welcomed 10,000 delegates across five events during a single week. “We’ve always enjoyed a reputation as a safe, clean, green destination, and these elements will continue to define the Adelaide experience moving forward,” says ACC General Manager, Simon Burgess. The venue has hosted three major national conference events last May, including Ozwater’21 – the world’s largest water industry conference in 2021 and Australia’s largest conference and exhibition since the pandemic started. The ACC also had a healthy pipeline of 30 conferences scheduled by the end of 2021.

While events held at ACC have been predominantly local, they are now entering a recovery period for national events. “At the height of the restrictions, we were fortunate that meeting organisers chose to postpone their events rather than cancel them.” To provide confidence and a safe environment, they are equipped with a government-approved COVID Management Plan, and continue to work closely with SA Health too. In terms of identifying new international events, bids have continued throughout the COVID period given their longer lead time; "we’ve witnessed the confidence to book two years out remains." And as confidence continues to grow, the SA venue is seeing the release of pent-up demand for live, face-to-face events, which is fuelling their future calendar. “The primary concerns expressed by meeting organisers have largely centred around the flexibility of venues, and whether they can play a role in partnering with the event to help alleviate some of the risk elements,” stated Burgess. This was the case with the 38th International Symposium on Combustion, which was quickly adapted from a live event to a hybrid, and finally switched to a fully online format due to travel and attendance restrictions. In fact, the venue continues to invest in technology reflected in its hybrid studio, which includes video and web streaming to extend their reach to external delegates. “We have also developed a new Technology Production Suite which will make the planning process easier by enabling event pre-visualisation and virtual walk-throughs'' - a tool that will be particularly helpful for interstate and international clients.

As the social demand for their services soared, Adelaide Venue Management, operators of the Adelaide Convention Centre, has repurposed their commercial kitchens to help local community catering organisations. “From April to June 2020, we prepped, cooked and packaged more than 250,000 meals to support vulnerable South Australians via local organisations including Meals on Wheels SA, Multiple Birth South Australia and Baptist Care SA,” says Burgess. Sustainability has always been a key focus for the team at the Adelaide Convention Centre. “We were the world’s first convention centre to register for the global Earthcheck Certified programme, and in 2018, became the world’s first convention centre to achieve the coveted platinum certification reflecting 10 consecutive years of best practice in business & environmental sustainability,” concludes Burgess. In the next few years, ACC will seek to secure Earthcheck Master status.

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