Record crowds for accom’s showcase event

Multi-millionaire Sydney hoteliers brushed shoulders with Mollymook moteliers as more than 5000 industry players packed the NoVacancy conference in Sydney.

Australia’s largest accom expo drew a record crowd which drove attendance to a level 48 percent higher than in 2018 and saw the exhibition floor sold out.

David and Lisa Carrick of Enjoy Lighting

Exhibitors ranged from software solutions experts to coffee suppliers, uniform designers to amenity providers, with displays ranging from graffiti art and plant walls to bespoke furniture and artisan bedding.

Organiser National Media is now looking to develop the burgeoning design, interiors and refurbishment section into an expanded hospitality design fair for the May 2020 event.

Some 234 companies reserved spots at the accom expo, a 46 percent increase on the previous year, with the vast majority already booked to return in 2020.

Among the industry heavyweights attending was Australia’s largest private hotel owner, Jerry Schwartz taking to the stage with Tourism Australia chair Bob East to share their expectations for general managers and accom operators.

Across the event’s four theatres, 45 sessions on everything from ‘dissecting the Airbnb marketing strategy’ to ‘attracting, nurturing and retaining talented staff’ featured more than 70 expert speakers.

AccomNews was among those with stalls at the ICC Sydney Exhibition Centre event on July 24-25, editor Kate Jackson saying: “NoVacancy is an invaluable way to connect with our industry partners and build new relationships.

“It’s a fantastic way to experience what’s new, get a hands-on appreciation of products and services and hear from some of the biggest accom players about the challenges ahead.”

Event director Brad Langton said NoVacancy’s growth had far exceeded expectations.

“To see this kind of growth in only its second year is a reflection of industry strength and reaffirms the need for an event that brings decision-makers, thought leaders and suppliers together,” he said.

Weatherdon’s Queensland account manager, Melissa Bent

“From the moment the doors opened the expo floor was buzzing with energy as visitors discovered products, had deep conversations and made new connections – this carried right through to Thursday afternoon when the expo closed.

“The huge success of NoVacancy 2019 is a testament to the passion and the commitment to growth that this thriving industry and the professionals in it have, we’re honoured to be a part of it.”

Among the key industry bodies in attendance was the Accommodation Association of Australia, CEO Dean Long saying the organisation took “great pleasure” in watching NoVacancy grow.

“An event of this scale has long been missing from the market in Australia and is invaluable to helping accommodation leaders large and small better all parts of their business,” he said.

A hand-painted mural by exhibitors Apparition Media

Other accom leaders were equally gushing, View Hotels group revenue manager Matt Camp describing it as “the best accommodation industry event in Australia”.

Executive Apartments Newcastle managing director Graham Turner commented: “Such a useful show. Thought I would only attend the first day but found myself back for a second full day as well.”

Planning for next year’s event, including the new design fair, is already well underway, with organisers assuring attendees the fair will still be open and accessible to NoVacancy but will be entirely focused on design elements for hotel, restaurant, bar, club, spa, casino and venue interiors.

NoVacancy and Hospitality Design Fair 2020 will return to ICC Sydney Exhibition Centre next May 27-28.

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