case study

By Virginia Brown,2014-05-02 09:22
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case study

Wrest Point Conference Centre, Hobart

    The first casino in Australia opened in 1973, when Wrest Point Hotel and Casino opened its doors to the public. The Conference Centre at Wrest Point was launched in 1984, at a time when there was only an embryonic MICE industry in Tasmania.MICE,即Meetings(会议)Incentives(


    会展的英文缩写。】 Prior to this time, meeting facilities were provided by hotels, mainly catering for smaller conferences and meetings. From the inception of the Conference Centre at Wrest Point, Tasmania marketed itself both nationally and internationally as a convention destination. This led to the formation of the Tasmanian Convention and Visitors Bureau in the late 1980s to promote and market Tasmania as a tourist/convention destination. The industry has now grown to the stage where conference delegates inject $41 million directly into the local economy annually and is a critical economic component of the state's tourism industry.

    Questions: How many types of accommodation standards does the centre provide?

    Whats the advantage of providing extensive facilities?

    At its opening, the conference centre was heralded as the first purpose-built conference centre in Australia. The hotel has the advantage of providing two types of guest accommodation: The Tower {197 rooms} provides five-star accommodation following a recent major upgrade of $26

    million and The Motor Inn {82 rooms} gives guests a three-and-a-half-star motel-style option. The Wrest Point Hotel and Casino is owned by the Farrell family, who also own the Country Club

    Casino on the outskirts of Launceston. Conference facilities at Wrest Point are located in a separate area of the complex that is linked to the main hotel! Casino. The conference centre

    comprises 14 meeting rooms, providing flexibility to cater for groups as large as 1600, in plenary session, to smaller groups in boardrooms seating 12 people.

    The complex offers its delegates a casino for gaming, entertainment, restaurants, a number of bars, recreation facilities such as a swimming pool, health club, tennis courts and mini golf, and extensive gardens.

    A key strength of the extensive facilities is that conference delegates can all stay on site, which enables both synergycoordination and networking opportunities. For PCOs, this is a bonus, as

    there is no need for complex logistical arrangements with delegates staying in other accommodation properties. Exhibition facilities consist of a foyer plus two other large areas with

    a capacity for 108 exhibition booths on site. For larger conferences, trade exhibitions and catering, a hockerdome can be erected on the lawns.

    Wrest Point's core business is conferences and meetings up to 600 delegates. A permanently tiered theatre can seat up to 600 delegates. MICE business is predominantly from the association market, corporate conferences and major trade exhibitions, plus multipurpose activities such as concerts and 'people mover' style events such as shows and expos, especially exhibitions aimed at the retiree market. Encouraging retiree events can provide additional benefits, not only in accommodation sales but also additional revenue from the restaurants, casino, and so on. Conference and exhibition organizers that use Wrest Point are mainly based in Victoria or are national associations that have representatives in Tasmania.

    Wrest Point has an active sales team with sales managers in Sydney and Melbourne. The venue has a large banqueting kitchen, separate from other food production areas within the complex.

    The banqueting kitchen is set up in a traditional 'brigade' system, with separate sections for pastry, butchery, fish, and so on. The kitchen services the conference centre, providing dinners for up to 800 people. Another full kitchen, situated in the older part of the complex, provides catering for a further 400 delegates. To ease the flow during service times, there are a number of serveries situated throughout the conference centre.

    A/V equipment and support is provided in-house by a two-person team that between them have

    44 years of experience in A/V provision and production. Wrest Point holds a complete stock of A/V equipment and any items not available in-house are sourced to an external contractor. The provision of A/V support is seen as a key strength of the venue.

    Question: what are the responsibilities of the 14 permanent members of staff respectively? As with many convention providers, staffing tends to fluctuate depending on the season and the number of events being held. There are 14 permanent members of staff in the convention team, as well as several casual and part-time employees who work in the banquet services area. A team of five controls the administration of the centre and, as previously mentioned, two permanent staff manage the A/V requirements. Three other staff play important roles within the centre: one is responsible for exhibitions and trade-show coordination; one is responsible for the submission of bids and sales; and one looks' after smaller, corporate meetings and social functions. There is an operations section, managed by the operations managers for conventions and exhibitions. This section is responsible for the day-to-day operations at the centre, including provision of A/V equipment and set-up and break-down of room layouts. Floor staff and crew leaders report directly to the operations manager. Management of the conference centre is through a convention centre manager, who reports directly to the general manager of the hotel casino, and an administration manager (Alfred Merse). Alfred Merse is an economics graduate from the University of Tasmania. He is the state chairman of the MIAA branch in Tasmania and is on the MIAA national council. Prior to working at Wrest Point, Alfred was with the Tasmanian Convention Bureau in destination marketing. His previous experience includes work with the Sheraton Hobart in front office, banquets and sales. The conference centre has its own in-house exhibition booth system. As a result, it is able to offer a high standard of equipment plus a trade and exhibition coordination service. Sales and operations staff liaise with exhibitors and organise any extra facilities such as florists, display cabinets, and so on.

Question: how to book the conference center in Tasmania?

    Initial enquiries are via sales offices in Tasmania and an the mainland (in Melbourne, for example) and through direct contact with the hotel itself. Once deposits are received, the conference is handed over to the administration manager and a case manager is allocated to liaise with the client. Wrest Point conference staff aim to provide 'one-stop shopping' for potential organisers. PCOs, organising commiffees and other stakeholders deal with one person within the centre who arranges all their requirements, creating a far more effective and efficient service for clients. Within Wrest Point there is a team approach and the family business promotes a culture of looking after employees. Many staff have been at the venue for 25 years.

    The development of the hotel's water location and the inclusion of in-house exhibition services has allowed Wrest Point to enhance the range and qualily of its services and it is seen as an industry leader within the convention services industry in Tasmania.


    1 Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of wrest Point Conference Centre.

    2 Given the diverse range of facilities offered by wrest Point, create a three-day program [or an international convention of 420 delegates.

    The program should include menus, session schedules (with A/V requirements), timing and staffing requirements. Pre- and Post-conference activities should be considered as well as free time for delegates.

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