LYN Lewis-Smith, chief executive officer Business Events Sydney
Embracing Asia incentive market
Australia’s ties with Asia — thanks to close geography and our cultural links — can be both an advantage as well as a disadvantage in our hotly competitive business. Familiarity too often breeds complacency. It’s so important to know your customer; to show you understand how rapidly their world is changing as well as their broader geopolitical environment. It’s important to understand their office work culture — so different in every part of Asia — and adapt your approaches to meet their needs accordingly.
The Asia incentive market is a fast-growing part of our business — a momentum we have built over the last 15 years. We took the first-mover advantage, opening offices on the ground starting with Hong Kong in 2004, and now operating out of Shanghai and Singapore. Today, incentive gatherings and corporate meetings from Asia constitute over 50% of the business BESydney secures annually, with Greater China, India and Japan as major contributors.
However, the most eye-opening experience is when our clients come to us. Nothing beats first-hand experience — and the benefits flow both ways (satisfying the visiting client, and amplifying the destination’s reputation). Then, there’s the bonus word-of-mouth endorsement back home if you’ve blown it out of the park, or feedback on what needs to be refined.
Our most-recent Asia familiarisation visit was a great example of how Sydney can put on a show for the most-discerning corporate incentive clients. A mix of travel agents and media from China, India, Japan and Taiwan, were wowed with a Twilight BridgeClimb with a Vivid Sydney backdrop, Sydney’s foreshores by Harley, a private performance and tour of the Sydney Opera House and beach fun with Bondi Rescue lifeguards all before visiting Port Stephens and Glenworth Valley to get up close and personal with native Aussie flora and fauna. It was a five-day extravaganza full of activity-hopping, selfie-taking and rapport-building, and it ended in a spectacular finale at Sydney Harbour’s Goat Island.
BESydney has stayed ahead over the past 50 years by continuously learning and adapting to our clients’ needs, working closely with our partners who never cease to amaze us with the clever ways they adjust their product to surprise and delight: NSW National Parks, including the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service, Qantas, Luna Park Venues, International Convention Centre Sydney, BridgeClimb Sydney, InterContinental Sydney, Hyatt Regency and Encore Event Technologies.
In light of our 50th year, we are looking to grow our business even further by organising a series of activities that will help us remain ahead. Next up, we are hosting in-market events in China, India and Japan to gather intel and adapt our customer experience.