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CINZ: Day two


Day two of the annual Conventions and Incentives New Zealand conference, held at Skyline Queenstown, started with a fitting presentation from Destination Queenstown CEO Graham Budd, followed by Saskia Verraes from Tourism Holdings Limited.

Graham Budd – CEO Destination Queenstown, Destination Queenstown and Sustainability

Destination Queenstown CEO Graham Bud explained Queenstown’s sustainability efforts as well as their unique needs and their work with engaging consumers in the Tiaki promise.

Graham says Queenstown is in need of a purpose-built convention centre.

“It’s something we’re informally advocating for and we’re working on formal documentation for us to lobby with.”

Graham also explained to delegates some of the issues Queenstown faces with its growing tourism market.

“We have issues in Queenstown because we’ve had the double whammy of growth and visitor arrivals, as well as being the fastest-growing district in the country, as evidenced by the recent census data.

“What that means is that our residents and our visitors are putting pressure on our infrastructure and the primary piece of infrastructure they’ve been putting pressure on is this very narrow strip of roading.”

Destination Queenstown are proud of their work in sustainability, with a dedicated committee working to make Queenstown more sustainably-aware.

They’re also doing a lot of work on the Tiaki Promise.

“I love the Tiaki Promise – I think it’s great, I think it’s simple, it’s clear, but it’s going to take a long, long time.

“The launch of this doesn’t mean it’s done, it means we’ve started on the journey in my view.”


Saskia Verraes – General manager responsibility management Tourism Holdings Limited, Are You Fit For the Future? Our Road to Causing No Harm

General manager responsibility management for Tourism Holdings Limited Saskia Verraes spoke to delegates about thl’s current journey towards further sustainability efforts in their business.

thl is the largest provider of holiday vehicles for rent and sale globally and is working towards becoming a Future Fit business.

A Future Fit business is expected to contribute to a Future Fit society, Saskia explained – a society that is environmentally restorative, socially just and economically inclusive.

“We are working to ensure we don’t create any further harm to people and planet and ideally we operate in a way where we restore the harm that we have caused in the past.”

Saskia explained that thl has started this journey with success in reducing their power usage, higher community involvement, introducing waste-free and reusable products where possible. Their emissions are also down, Saskia says.


Panel discussion – Sustainability Practices

Tim Hunter, CEO Southern Discoveries; Georgina Torrington, director of sales and marketing Brooke Serene and Keiran Frost, managing director The Headwaters hosted a panel where they talked about their organisations’ approach to sustainability and took questions from attendees.


Ed Burak – general manager experience design Ngai Tahu Tourism, Customer Experience – A Case Study on The All Blacks Experience

Ed Burak from Ngai Tahu Tourism spoke to delegates about connecting with customers and making sure products and services match consumer need and expectation.

Ngai Tahu Tourism runs a number of tourism experiences throughout New Zealand, including Shotover Jet in Queenstown and Agrodome and Rainbow Springs in Rotorua.

“Connecting with customers is really important for us at Ngai Tahu Tourism,” he says.

“There is such a difference between what people say and what people do.”

He gave delegates a few market research tips and ways to get the best research from your target markets.

“When you go out and talk to your customers, don’t suggest the answer that you are looking for, don’t sell them something, and no ‘future talk’ – stick with the present and what has been done,” he says.

“The things you should do are break the rules sometimes, be neutral and just shut up, learn to embrace the silence!” 

Ed then went on to inform delegates about the upcoming All Blacks Experience, to open in SkyCity Auckland in 2020.

The experience will walk tourists and interested parties through a range of All Blacks experiences and activities, including interactive locker room time, skill tests and a wide range of information.


Tony Gardner – CINZ chair, Leading New Thinking

CINZ chair Tony Gardner led delegates through a talk on new thinking and practical leadership development.

“We start off with archetypical views of leadership being about hierarchy and power and ego, but contemporary leadership is having less and less of that.”

He spoke to attendees about the importance of new thinking in today’s tourism and business events climate.

“We’re about to play a much bigger game and if we think in the same ways that we have and we apply that thinking to the game, I think we could come up a little short. I don’t think we do know what’s coming down the pipes in terms of this game. New thinking is going to be incredibly important.”

He spoke about helpful and unhelpful leadership archetypes as well as a fixed versus a growth mindset.

“A growth mindset prioritises learning and says: ‘we can learn and let’s redefine success from knowing to learning,” Tony says. “A growth mindset is very important in leadership.


Panel discussion – Upcoming Trends

Kim Dodds, business develop manager Dunedin Venues; Ali Smith, director of sales, conference and incentives NZ  and Australia, Millennium Hotels and Resorts and Tracey Thomas, director, Conference Innovators spoke about upcoming trends in the business events market from the point of view of their organisation and answered questions from delegates.

In the afternoon, delegates broke into two groups to attend workshops run by CINZ chair Tony Gardener and CI Events’ Simone Seiler.

Delegates then reconvened for an update from Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development update, a panel discussion and a presentation by Nigel Latta.


Steve Armitage – general manager destination ATEED, ATEED Visitor Strategy, One Year On

Steve from ATEED updated delegates about ATEED’s year to date, covering ATEED’s six visitor strategies – unique place, connected place, captivating place, skilled place, sustainable place and insightful place – as well as their recent successes as well as what they will be working on for next year.

“There’s the city rail link that is in place and will be completed by 2025 – that will completely transform the experience of being able to get around the city.

“Last year I spoke about the growth in accommodation with 4000 rooms coming online in the next five years, we’ve got new retail, new product and of course the NZICC which will be completed at some point.”

Steve admitted to delegates that there is a lot of work ahead of the ATEED team in preparation for 2021 but that the team is ready.

“The first time I saw our 2021 promotional video, it struck home just how much work is sitting ahead of us. The good thing is we have a year to make sure we deliver all of that to the highest possible standard. We have a world-class events team and event network that is capable of delivering.

“The challenge we have now is making sure we engage with Aucklanders and New Zealanders so that they embrace this and don’t get fatigued by the prospect of what’s coming and that they can speak passionately about our city and what this country stands for with the visitors that will be here.”


Panel Discussion – What Strategies Are In Place To Fill Your Infrastructure?

Steve Armitage, general manager destination ATEED; David Perks, general manager regional development, destination and attraction WellingtonNZ and Loren Heaphy, general manager destination and attraction ChristchurchNZ updated delegates on their regions’ current and upcoming infrastructure and took questions from the attendees.


Nigel Latta

New Zealand psychologist and author Nigel Latta closed the conference with a gently thought-provoking and highly amusing presentation titled ‘some thoughts about thinking’.

Delegates enjoyed the presentation, which was scattered with amusing jokes and anecdotes while learning a thing or two about thinking differently and applying different thought strategies to different problems.


CINZ chief executive Sue Sullivan gave a closing speech and announced that CINZ 2020 would be hosted in Hawke’s Bay.

Delegates celebrated the end of the conference by boarding the TSS Earnslaw and travelling to Walter Peak for dinner.

At dinner, director of Conference Innovators Tracey Thomas was announced as this years’ 2019 Conventions and Incentives New Zealand Outstanding Contributor Award.

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