Eventing the Future
By nature, conference and event planners, love to plan. Give them 10-week of enforced lock-down and a team of event planners will find somewhere to direct that all that planning energy! In the case of the Nelson-based team at OnCue Conferences and Nelson Venues and Events, this energy was directed right back at the business itself, taking the opportunity to strengthen and adapt operations ready for post-pandemic success.
Lea Boodee’s OnCue Conferences and Association Management, and sister company Nelson Venues and Events, owned by Lea and business partner Shelley Haring, have been organising events in Nelson for 25 years. The 13 strong team organise around 30 events each year between them. This translates to a non-stop, action-packed annual calendar of planning for events and delivering events across New Zealand and the Asia-Pacific region.
Covid-19 lockdown rules meant all mass gatherings were on hold for the short-term, causing a sudden temporary halt to all events in New Zealand. With most of the two companies’ event business thankfully loaded toward the later part of the year, Lea and Shelley turned their attention to strengthening their teams, researching new trends and technologies, and resetting the businesses ready to take advantage of new opportunities in the post-pandemic market.
The team quickly adapted to working from home – a simple transition for a team used to working in makeshift event offices in hotel lobbies and marquees! The focus however, was for a seamless transition for clients. Fortunately, a well-curated suite of cloud-based technology already in use, meant zero disruption in service for OnCue and Nelson Venue’s clients.
While the country stayed-in, the team churred out revised business and marketing plans, campaign plans to develop OnCue’s growing number of association management business, new tools and knowledge, and endless research and testing on software and digital conferencing platforms. The idea was to be ready to hit the ground running on the other side.
The lock-down period also enabled the team to connect with other industry leaders to help in the recovery of business events in New Zealand. Conferences and events are expected to be more important than ever with NZ’s tourism industry cut-off from its international visitor markets. It was reported by MBIE that the average spend of a domestic conference delegate in 2019 was a solid $480/night in the event region. Last year domestic conferences delegates accounted for around 435,067 visitor nights in New Zealand. With this in mind, Lea took the opportunity to join industry groups working with government to ensure business events are able to play their part in reviving the nation’s economy.
The story of 2020 will be a memorable one for us all, but as the old adage goes, adversity is the mother of innovation. The OnCue and Nelson Venues teams are once again back at the helm in their Buxton Square offices and back to doing what they do best. Enquires have started to come in for events in 2021 and beyond and new association management portfolios, and with them a sense of optimism and readiness for what lies ahead.