Perth red hot for events
Perth is shaping up as a red-hot business events destination as a string of new hotels come online in the next few years.
Latest figures show that Perth’s hotel inventory will grow by nearly 25% by 2019 as the city welcome’s another 1,400 hotel rooms to its existing stock of 6,300 rooms.
Spotless state manager WA and Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre (PCEC) general manager Nigel Keen said that only four years ago Perth had suffered a shortage of accommodation, which led to sky-high prices for those travelling to city.
“It made it hard for business events to get a hold of room blocks at hotels and of course to secure competitive rates,” Keen said. Now the city is seeing an influx of big international hotel chains, making Perth more attractive as a destination for events.
Big name giants such as the Ritz-Carlton Aloft, Westin, Doubletree and InterContinental will open properties in Perth in the next year or two. The Ritz-Carlton Perth has chosen the city as its debutant city in Australia. In the past year, Crown Perth opened its doors of a 500-luxury hotel room facility with a conference centre that caters for up to 3,000 delegates.
The hotel boom has translated well for the Perth Convention Bureau, which is currently ahead of its annual target for the year to date. The bureau says the inbound Asia market is performing very strongly for the city off the back of the city’s transformation.
Perth Convention Bureau executive director for shareholder relations Tracey Cinavas-Prosser said the string of new hotels meant there was more choice and competitive rates for delegates and event planners.
“In fact, rates are some of the most competitive in the country,” she said. “With several new or refurbished hotels in Perth now operating, buyers are also enjoying premium product at highly competitive rates.”
The boom in accommodation is also providing the city with a string of new secondary venues for business events. The Westin Perth will open in April 2018 offering almost 1,200m2 of function space.
The brand new 60,000-seater Perth Stadium, which will be used for Cricket and AFL mostly, will also cater for the conference sector. Opening January 2018, the stadium can accommodate events from six to 2,000 guests and will offer a series of function rooms suitable for conferences, exhibitions, launches, cocktail functions and gala balls.
Cinavas-Prosser said the Elizabeth Quay development would be another destination for unique events. “Spaces range in size from 900m2 to 7,000m2,” she said. “Public open spaces are also being activated through festivals and events, such as WA Beer and Beef Festival, Fringe and Perth Wildcats Fun day.”
Keen said that the Spotless Group had recently invested the future of the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre until around 2038 and it will continue to grow the facility.
“We’ve invested millions of private money into the facility by upgrading all the facilities, equipment, and experience of the venue — the wi-fi is on par with the east coast — and down to infrastructure such as cafs and bars.”
The launch of non-stop Qantas flights from London to Perth starting in March would give the business events community in Perth a new weapon, Keen said. “Direct flights will allow for us to push a new market,” he said. “We’re considering opportunities with the launch of direct flight to capitalise on them, but it is an advantage now that you can fly non-stop in comfort with time being so precious these days.”