Direct selling company Infinitus China, which specialises in Chinese herbal health products, brought more than 6,000 of its top-selling performers to Australia’s Gold Coast for two weeks in May this year.
The event marked the first time Infinitus had chosen a long-haul destination for this group tier, with the Gold Coast having outbid rivals Sydney and Melbourne to host the event.
The trip marked one of the Gold Coast’s largest events to date. Factors influencing Infinitus’ decision to select the coastal city included the diversity of activities available alongside Destination Gold Coast’s (DGC) commitment to support the event and work closely with the brand to contribute to the overall success of the programme.
Over the two-week period, delegates took part in experiences including surfing, visiting wildlife parks, shopping and sampling local cuisine, at sites including Warner Bros Movie World, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary and Sea World.
The majority of delegates stayed in accommodation in and around the Surfers Paradise area, including multiple Mantra Group properties, as well as Novotel Surfers Paradise, QT Gold Coast, The Star Gold Coast, Sea World Resort, Watermark Hotel & Spa Gold Coast and Crowne Plaza Surfers Paradise.
Delegates attended gala dinners at Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre, while three dedicated street-parties also took place in the heart of Surfers Paradise, which highlighted local crafts and traditional entertainment.
The street parties encompassed the area’s regular Beachfront Markets, which showcased a diverse range of artisans’ products, including handcrafted souvenirs, original artwork, timber and ceramic products, and clothing by local designers. Performers and entertainers were a varied mix of talented local entertainers featuring dance groups, choirs, singers and live bands.
“The concept of a street party was designed to create a celebration event at Surfers Paradise, on the iconic beachfront,” says Anna Case, director, global business events at DGC. “The event showcased local products and artists at the waterfront market as well as local performers and entertainers. The relaxed and casual atmosphere allowed delegates to wander through the main streets, which were exclusively closed to traffic.”
The format also gave delegates the opportunity to experience a variety of dining options, in a precinct highly regarded for its cafés, restaurants and casual dining outlets. They could choose from a range of dishes, including seafood, international cuisine and casual street food. The event culminated in a fireworks display over the water.
Case says that it was the first time an event of this scale had been organised as a street party; challenges to overcome included briefing local suppliers and the community about the event to ensure everything worked well together.
She adds that the collaborative approach of the destination was a real highlight. DGC worked with Surfers Paradise Alliance and the City of Gold Coast to ensure local traders maximised the opportunity.
In preparation for the event, DGC also hosted three “Engaging China” workshops, funded in partnership with the Australian government and administered by the Queensland government, to support and train tourism operators and front-line staff engaging with Chinese visitors.
DGC CEO Martin Winter, said: “We pitched the idea of creating a party and wanting to involve local businesses and representatives from the community to come together and give these visitors an unforgettable Gold Coast experience.”
Also key to the success of the street party concept was creating a vibrant and fun atmosphere; delegates were in celebration mode, with the opportunity to enjoy a beachfront event that invited the local community to share the party.
According to DGC, the event is expected to inject an estimated AU$40 million (US$29 million) in expenditure for the region. “The satisfaction rate of the group set a historical milestone; delegates clearly loved their experience on the Gold Coast, which enhances our credibility as a destination of choice,” adds Case.
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