How to get a bigger piece of the international event pie

It’s been a busy year for Luna Park Venues, the biggest on record, and it’s only going to get busier as international markets come into focus once again.

James Granter, General Manager at Luna Park Sydney, is recently back from IMEX America, Business Events Australia’s Greater China Showcase and Dreamtime in Perth. CIM spoke to him on the importance of partnerships in winning international events.

Collaboration counts

If you’re a convention centre or city bureau you can choose to go it alone and do a road trip. But the vast majority of event industry companies, including venues such as ours, rely on collaboration and through that international representation whether it is with government bodies or DMCs.

Whether you are a large DMC or SME supplier it’s important you connect with venues and influencers that are immediately recognised, have the experience and the international contacts to work with you and build or connect your global network.

Our future is in the hands of the US and China

The first two choices for any international client are destination followed venue options. Make them count – big time. Sydney is the number one choice in Australia for international groups and that popularity is only going to grow with the addition of a second international airport. A third city is being built in Sydney’s west alongside Parramatta, which will attract more business especially from Asia.

Globally recognised icons such as the Harbour Bridge and Opera House help in selling Sydney, and Luna Park Venues is fortunate to be associated as a third Sydney icon with postcard views of both them.

Our brand is well known in the US while the history of the theme park emotionally connects in China, and we leverage this to build relationships.

Luna Park has formed strategic partnerships to build awareness overseas.

It’s all about relationships

It’s not good enough to sign and pay or meet at an industry event. Always work to really understand the needs of an organisation, venue or association. Be aware of the profiles of delegates or clients and tailor your offering to their needs and in a way they are most likely to do business.

Luna Park Venues is a committed player in this sphere of relationships and positions itself as a thought-leader for growth in the long term for the Sydney community as a whole.

We have formed strategic partnerships with BESydney and the Tourism and Transport Forum, and support Meeting and Events Association of Australia and Exhibitions and Events Association of Australia through sponsorship. We are also a member of the NSW Business Chamber and Sydney Business Chamber, American Chamber of Commerce and PCO Association.

We also really value some close working relationship with major DMCs and PCOs such as Arinex, ICMS, ID Events, CI Events, MCI Ovation to name but a few. Showcasing their capabilities is just one of the ways we can provide value to our industry partners. As you help an exponentially greater number of people find the answers to the questions or challenges they have, the reputation of your organisation grows. It’s a virtuous cycle.

Tailor your offering

Over the last 12 months we have held many large, whole of park global showcase events in collaboration with BESydney and ICC Sydney. Adweek, Luna Bowl (Super Bowl), Amway China are among the past international events we have hosted in addition to countless ‘private’ corporate global events.

That experience with international events and focus on collaboration is extending our network organically. We have put a huge focus on our culinary offering with any eye to the international market with a menu that can be individually tailored to international guest tastes. We also offer complimentary client menu tasting for all medium to large international event bookings.

Our clients are never the same, and so a ‘one size fits all’ approach just doesn’t work for us. We make best practice the universal focus and then work up from there.

Business sessions at Dreamtime 2019 in Perth.

We can’t do it on our own

It’s important to understand the role of influencers, venues and suppliers in your international business plan.

Personally, I’m involved with BE Sydney, the North Sydney Chamber of Commerce, Meeting and Events Australia and the NSW Business Chamber.

I think having personal involvement helps an understanding of the bigger picture. Economic cycles come and go, so it’s vital to look beyond the traditional horizon, adapt and find new ways of working.

I like to think we take some of that learning with the team on these international sales missions.