Megan Gell
Aug 1, 2018

Adelaide campaign to lure Asian incentive groups pays off

The South Australian capital welcomes largest single group of Chinese visitors.

The Joy Main group at a lunch at Handhorf Inn in the Adelaide Hills.
The Joy Main group at a lunch at Handhorf Inn in the Adelaide Hills.

A campaign to attract more incentive groups to South Australia is paying dividends as the state’s capital of Adelaide welcomed nearly 750 delegates from Chinese multi-level marketing company, Joy Main, in June.

Adelaide Convention Bureau won its bid to host the group after travelling to China for the pitch and hosting the organising committee while they put together an itinerary including morning tea with the Governor and a day at Jacob’s Creek winery.

The group also visited Cleland Conservation Park to feed kangaroos and meet wildlife, lunched at the Hahndorf Inn on the Adelaide Hills, braved a Roof Climb atop Adelaide Oval, shopped at Rundle Mall and enjoyed a gala dinner at the Adelaide Convention Centre’s new plenary space beneath a fibre-optic starry sky. A small VIP group also enjoyed lunch with the Lord Mayor at the Adelaide Town Hall.

The group at the Adelaide Town Hall.

“The delegates had touchpoints of high-level dignitaries throughout the city and their itinerary,” says Adelaide Convention Bureau director of sales and marketing, Nic Mercer.

“From the Governor welcoming the group into his home in the middle of the city and gathering on its pristine lawns, to the Minister for Tourism attending the gala dinner and lunch with the Lord Mayor. As a destination, we’re very fortunate to be able to offer these experiences.”

The city council also placed welcoming decals across the city’s footpaths and major signage at the airport.

The bureau began targeting Asia-based incentive groups two years ago when it saw groups who had visited Sydney, Melbourne and the Gold Coast wanting a new Australian experience. Last year it welcomed 3,000 Perfect China delegates who visited as part of a programme anchored mainly in Melbourne.

The campaign has also benefited from a state government initiative in which Chinese actor Huang Xaoming was recruited to front a year-long destination marketing campaign aimed at Chinese travel agents. 

A visit to the Adelaide Oval.

“The timing of that was really good for us,” says Mercer. “We put together a proposed itinerary for the pitch, then the marketing campaign went out in China and when the organisers came for a site inspection they wanted to do everything Huang Xaoming had done in his video instead.”

Many of the providers worked with the bureau to deliver a custom experience as well as having Chinese-speaking staff on hand.

“At Jacob’s Creek winery, everybody received a card in Chinese explaining what the different activities were such as grape stomping and wine blending, and how the groups would move around during the day,” says Mercer. “They also tailored the meal to be a fusion between traditional Australian food and Eastern flavours.”

Mercer says being able to offer custom experiences is central to Adelaide’s success. “We’re quite young as a bureau, which means we’ve got to work that bit harder,” he says.

We don’t have an icon in a Harbour Bridge sitting in our backyard, which means that we’ve got to create a product that clients are looking for and that is unique to that client.

"To date, no incentive group that has come to Adelaide has ever done the same programme – and that’s something we’re quite proud of.”


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