Two weeks ago, Queenstown bid farewell to the last wave of a total of 6,500 Amway China delegates that visited the scenic town for the Amway China 2018 Leadership Seminar as part of the “largest ever incentive program that New Zealand has ever hosted”.
After two and a half years of initiating the bidding process right down to the execution of the event, the post-trip feedback has shown that the trip achieved the highest ever satisfaction rate among delegates at 96%.
“It’s been a long journey for many of us. But to have achieved that kind of satisfaction is phenomenal,” said Graham Budd, chief executive at Destination Queenstown.
“Immigration New Zealand played a big role in facilitating visas for the delegates, as well as many DMCs, the airport, councils, and many, many others. This was an amazing example of New Zealand working together.”
A post-event video of delegates put together by Destination Queenstown suggested that delegates were excited to partake in the town’s exhilarating adventure offerings and picturesque lakes and peaks.
The trip also marked many firsts for Amway: This was the farthest destination the China delegate group has traveled to, the gala dinner location at the Coronet Peak ski base building was the highest ever venue for such a dinner, and the trip was the longest duration program Amway has had, executed in waves of 11 weeks with 600-odd delegates each time.
Budd added that the success of the trip is likely to lead to more wins in the future. “Not only Amway has said they’ll be back, but this will lead the way for many other organisations who look at Amway [as trailblazers] when it comes to destinations that they may not have been to or considered before,” he said.
Alongside the success of the mega event, Queenstown is growing its offerings as a business events destination with the addition of 1,000 new rooms or a 30% increase in current room stock. Despite that, a proposal for a convention centre hasn’t been successful just yet due to a lack of backing from local and federal government.
“This is highly disappointing for us at the Queenstown Convention Bureau but we understand the financial commitments that comes with such an infrastructure,” Budd said. “But our message is very clear that a demand for a convention centre in Queenstown is as strong and compelling as ever. We will always be vocal about this.”
He added that the absence of a convention centre will remain a constrain for the town winning small- to medium-sized events. “Somewhere between 800- and 1,000-pax plenary session, or 700 for a dinner would be an appropriate size for our destination,” he said.
The destination is also counting on year-round seasonality and increased air connectivity to boost the industry.