The NoVacancy Hotel + Accommodation Industry Expo ’22 held last week in Sydney has been praised for its gender diversity, achieving a 63 percent female gender balance in its education program, believed to be a first for an accommodation industry event in Australia.
Richard Munro, CEO of the Accommodation Association of Australia (AA) also praised the event saying it was “a terrific opportunity to bring the industry together for an exposition of new products”, but mostly it was a great “opportunity to network and catch up with colleagues”.
He told AccomNews: “I remember when Event Director, Brad Langton first mentioned the concept to me. I was a little skeptical given how busy our industry is and the number of events already available, but I have to say the team has successfully differentiated the event from industry marquee events such as AHICE and HICAP.
“It was wonderful to see such a wealth of topics being explored and it was an honour to host the General Manager Insights panel with Emma Hynes, Sandi Bellamy and Jennifer Brown, providing an important and powerful update across key areas including boosting diversity.”
Exhibition Event Director, Brad Langton thanked all of those who attended and supported the event last week.
He said: “We’ve come off an exciting few days in Sydney last week and have been overwhelmed with the feedback from the industry.”
“The best event of the year.”
“The best NoVacancy yet.”
“How haven’t I been to this before”.
“Thank you for such an inspiring event”.
“My annual must-attend just. got. better!”
These are just a few of the emails, LinkedIn messages, and survey responses that Brad reported to have received from the thousands of attendees at this year’s event.
He told us “We are also very proud to have achieved a 63 percent female gender balance in the education program, believed to be a first for an accommodation industry event in Australia.
“The program has been very well received with a mix of deep-dive case studies and thought-provoking panels seeing speakers challenged with questions from the audience during and after the sessions – most of which were standing room only.
“Suppliers too achieved great success, reconnecting with their customers, demonstrating the latest innovations, and helping the industry discover time and cost-saving solutions. A record number of suppliers secured their 2023 stands right at the event on the new-look floorplan – a strong gauge of event success against their objectives.
“Special mention goes to the stunning Cocktail Lounge on the expo floor, designed and curated by Mathew Dalby of StudioFab. It’s rare to see such a fabulous space created for just a few days pop up, and to such high quality. Attendees enjoyed live jazz music, delicious cocktails, and even better company.”
What about next year?
He said: “We’ve got a lot of new features and competitions planned for next year, as well as incorporating the feedback from our attendees to make the core event offering even more valuable in the future.
“The event will run from August 31 to September 1, 2023 back at the ICC Sydney .”
The timing of last week’s event was perfect, allowing the industry to come together and discuss so many important issues impacting the recovery sector right now, including the labour skills crisis.
Mr Munro said: “The industry is in recovery mode as we exit the worst of the pandemic (it’s not over) but so many government restrictions have been sensibly stripped back. The AA advocacy and focus have been all about the labour and skills crisis and how the industry can operate with 20 to 30 percent less staff that were available pre-pandemic.”
He emphasised that although accommodation operators (to their credit) have adapted well and staff are more multi-skilled than ever, the industry must continue to retain and build a resilient workforce that is more highly skilled than ever before.
He said: “The new federal government seems to be listening however the test will be around delivering on visas, visitor numbers and how they manage the workforce and skills crisis.
Our businesses are the engine room of tourism and our members pay enough taxes, levies, and charges that we simply do not welcome further imposts on our members. “
Finally, the other important news that broke during the NoVacancy event was that Mr Munro will be leaving AA.
On this, he told AccomNews that he was very proud to be leaving after fulfilling his commitment, achieving the amalgamation between Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA) and AA.
He said: “The industry will be the biggest benefactor as the members will benefit from the organisations coming together to deliver better advocacy, benefits, and services.
“I wish you all the very best and look forward to seeing you at an industry event in my next role.”
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