Future business the priority for Melbourne Convention Bureau

The Melbourne Convention Bureau (MCB) has secured 145 business events in the 2019-20 financial year despite the disruptive effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking at the company’s Annual General Meeting held virtually, MCB CEO Julia Swanson said they responded quickly to rapidly changing market conditions.

“Our number one goal to maintain as much future business as possible,” she said.

“This involved continued support to the industry and significant digital transformation with an active focus on maintaining long-lead business.

“MCB has worked tirelessly with our clients to reschedule their business events, rather than cancel. We’ve had success here, with 70 per cent of planned events rescheduled into future years, thanks to MCB’s strong client relationships and our partners’ flexibility.”

MCB announced that before the business events sector shuttered in March, Melbourne hosted 140 business events previously secured by the bureau, attracting over 98,6000 visitors – 47 per cent more than the previous year.

Currently managing over $532 million worth of bids, MCB confirmed 117 secured business events for Melbourne from calendar year 2021 to 2026.

“This is significantly more than usual so we feel confident in the long-term outlook for our sector,” Swanson said.

“It is testament to the resilience of our industry, the can-do attitude of the MCB Team and Team Melbourne – our partners, and with support from the Victorian Government, Visit Victoria, Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre, City of Melbourne and Business Events Australia.”

Swanson also acknowledged the Victorian Government’s continued investment to support the bureau to bring visitors from Australia and the world to its business events as part of a $9.7 million boost to the Business Events Program.

“This year has been one of the most challenging for our industry and this commitment demonstrates that business events will play a large role in recovery efforts for our State and supports a broadened focus of MCB’s business event acquisition into the domestic business events market,” she said.

“It will support us to acquire as much business as possible and funnel the economic impact from these events to MCB stakeholders and partners.”