Friday, September 21, 2018

Business & pleasure at Golden Chain Conference

Golden Chain’s annual conference was a “big success” this year, including major announcements, education and member engagement a key focus of the event.

Golden Chain completed it’s annual conference in Cairns last Wednesday (October 18) following four days of education, information, networking and camaraderie. The group is just shy of it’s 30th annual conference.

Officially opened on Monday morning by recently appointed Tourism Tropical North Queensland, CEO, Pip Close, the conference kicked off with a state of the nation presentation by Deloitte Access Economics, industry Issues by the Accommodation Association and an update on Star Ratings courtesy of the Australian Tourism Industry Council.  The Accommodation Association followed up with a review of workplace relations issues and an update on the four-yearly award review.

Included in the program was information on the group’s activities, including the recent rebranding of the chain, the 2016/17 advertising and marketing campaigns and announcements of new services and benefits for members. The group has been busy over the past 12 months with the introduction of new a new GDS program, new QA program, updated website and new Preferred Partner Program. The momentum of these initiatives was underscore by the announcement of more changes to come. Golden Chain, GM, Michael Georgeson, officially launched several of the projects in trial, such as the GDS, as now open to all members free of charge and also announced the next upgrades of IT for the group including the group booking engine.
“We’ve had a great year,” said Mr. Georgeson. “Some of the items we were able to review and announce were tremendous.  Our marketing campaign was a big success with excellent increases across the board for our online exposure including our social media.  The introduction of the GDS has been a huge business contributor for those who have been in the trial and we look forward to rolling it out to the rest of the membership.  To be able to announce a new booking engine this year is very exciting and we have high hopes for it’s success.”
New for the chain this year was the inclusion of a full day revenue management seminar and workshop delivered by Melissa Kalan from the Australian Revenue Managers Association. Preceding the official conference, members were treated to a comprehensive program to assist in the management of their rates in bring balance to their relationship with the OTAs and alignment with Golden Chains own marketing activities. This was expanded on during the sessions with presentations on marketing in the face of the OTAs and at the advantages of regional locations.
“I wanted to make this years conference focus on revenue management and generation and give our members some practical education and information they could take away, implement and also align with the Golden Chain programs already in place. The sessions all went over very well and we’ll be looking at expanding that style in 2018. Golden Chain don’t force attendance at the conference so the more appealing the program the better and I am aiming for an even better program next year.”
For Golden Chain it’s not all about business though. The group prides itself on a being a cooperative and the communal atmosphere it generates.
“We actually have a membership type for old members called the Chain Gang and Life members as well. Some of these have gone out of the industry altogether but attend the conference anyway to keep up with the industry, the chain and colleagues they have created friendships with. The conferences include a few networking events, gala dinner and a tour day as well all of which are attended by most of the delegates and many of the suppliers.”
Fun and games aside, Golden Chain also elected a new Chairman in Glenn Powell, owner of the Barrier Reef Motel (Innisfail) and the Black Diamond Motel (Blackwater)  as well as adding a new board member, Bob Keown, Noah’s Mid City Motor Inn (Muswellbrook). Outgoing Chairman, John Sheppard was officially announced Life Member of the group.

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