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The Byron Steals Overseas Conferences

By James Wilkinson in Byron Bay

The Byron at Byron Resort and Spa is continuing to win major conferences despite the economic downturn, with several major companies selecting the property over international destinations of late.

Four weeks ago, the property hosted a major Toyota conference that was destined for Hawaii and The Byron at Byron Resort and Spa general manager John Parché said winning conferences such as this was a trend seen nationwide.

“Organisations that had booked off-shore venues are booking Australia due to the global financial crisis and we, like many other similar venues, are the beneficiaries,” he said.

“We have seen the MICE market change its pattern of bookings in recent months. What sometimes would have been a four-day stay is now three with longer hours in the conference room.” 

“Our enquiry rate is still strong however delegate numbers and length of stay have reduced. But we anticipate revenues will be in line with last year albeit with a slightly lower occupancy and increase in room density,” he said.

The Byron at Byron Bay is making good on the
economic downturn as companies choose to keep
their meetings at home

Parché added that sales staff had been told to up the ante of late in a bid to win over a larger slice of the MICE market.

“Our sales offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and the Gold Coast have been requested to increase sales efforts, particularly as the lead times are often six to 18 months away and a little dose of awareness doesn’t go astray,” he said.

A key to the success of the MICE market in Byron can be attributed to aviation access at both Ballina and Coolangatta airports, with Jetstar and Virgin Blue servicing both markets on a daily basis.

A spokeswoman for Virgin Blue said the Sydney-Ballina market was performing well and the expansion of flights down the track is a possibility.

“Ballina-Byron Bay has always been a terrific market for Virgin Blue for obvious reasons in terms of its lure for both domestic and international visitors with the region high on the must visit list for those wanting to enjoy the region’s world famous offerings from beautiful beaches to gourmet trails,” the spokeswoman told SpiceNews.

“We are constantly reviewing our options for possible future expansion however at the moment Virgin Blue’s daily flights between Sydney and Byron Bay are providing a direct, convenient link,” she said.

Virgin Blue flies daily from Sydney to Ballina, with connections available from several southern Australian cities. For group bookings, click here.

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