Karen Bolinger, The Chief Executive Officer, Melbourne Convention Bureau

Please tell us a little about Melbourne Convention Bureau (MCB)?

Melbourne Convention Bureau (MCB) has over 40 years’ experience in securing international and domestic meetings, conferences and incentive programs for Melbourne and the state of Victoria. A full service convention bureau MCB works in partnership with international associations, corporate organisations and event planners from around the world to deliver world-class conferences, meetings and incentives.

How was the year 2014 for MCB’s business?

2014 has been one of our biggest yet in terms of Melbourne hosting some of the world’s largest health-related conferences, including the World Congress of Cardiology, the 20th International AIDS Conference, and the World Cancer Congress.

These conferencesdemonstrated Melbourne delivers on its international reputation for collaboration in delivering large inernational conferences and is a centre of expertise in the health, medical and science sectors.

2014 also saw MCB secure and host over 1000 delegates from Shin Kong Life Insurance Company in Taiwan, which was the first time in ten years the company had decided to reward such a large incentive delegation outside of Asia.

What growth did the industry see in the past year?

The business events industry encompasses a diverse range of sectors and so growth performance really needs to be identified at that level. An overall trend we saw however was that conference and meeting organisers are demanding greater value from their host destinations in the delivery of their events with city-wide support. Clients want delivery of this, not just a promise, and collaboration with the city and state is somethig that MCB has an exceptional track record of. Incentive and corporate planners want a destination that can offer a diversity and depth of experiences, with a program that really immerses and engages the delegates. Melbourne as the world’s most liveable city, is tailor-made for this.

What would be the growth marketing and business development strategy for 2015?

Melbourne was named Australasia’s leading meetings and conference destination at the World Travel Awards 2014 for the second consecutive year, and we are committed to keeping Melbourne number one. Our Melbourne IQ campaign has worked well for us in promoting the destination as Australia’s knowledge capital and we will continue to evolve this to ensure it remains relevant for our clients.

Which all will be the potential destinations that will bring in valuable returns to your business as well as economy of the country?

As the traditional headquarters of international associations Europe and North America are MCB’s main markets for international conferences. Asia and New Zealand continue to deliver the majority of our incentive business with increasing growth out of North America.