Whanganui & Partners’ Strategic Lead for Brand, Events & i-SITE, Jonathan Sykes, says the success of last weekend’s Labour Party Conference is proof that Whanganui is ready to step up as a major conference destination.
The Labour Conference attracted 630 delegates, along with family, MPs and media to Whanganui.
“This was our first conference of this scale and even though it was bound to be a learning experience, we knew it was important to get it absolutely right on the day,” Sykes said. “A lot of work went into planning and organising the event, which paid off in spades.”
As part of the preparation, Whanganui & Partners developed a custom app for the conference. The app held conference information, such as schedules and venues, as well as maps and information to make it easier for delegates to explore Whanganui.
“It was downloaded by 443 out of 591 invited users, which is great uptake,” Paul Chaplow, Whanganui & Partners’ Strategic Lead for Visitor Industries, said. “The organisers loved it, as it allowed them to communicate last minute scheduling changes, share venue maps and link to relevant policy documents for debates.”
“We also got positive feedback on the app’s visitor map, which had restaurant and tourist activities marked. The delegates had limited time between conference events, so they appreciated having a resource to help them make the most of their time in the city.”
According to Chaplow, the delegates did experience what Whanganui has to offer. He said a lot of positive feedback he’d heard focused on the city’s hospitality.
“Delegates felt welcomed and treated well while they were here, which is testament to the great community we have and especially the friendliness of our businesses.”
In general, he said that Whanganui has a lot of advantages, including a culture of hospitality, that makes it a great destination for conferences.
“We’re a central city to get to and an easy to city to get around,” Sykes said. “Our climate is good, there’s plenty to do during down-time, and our heritage venues add a unique point of difference.”
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