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MEA celebrates 40 years in style

Not a bad place for a conference: main beach at Hamilton Island

Not a bad place for a conference: main beach at Hamilton Island

As the sun rises on the last day of the 40th annual MEA conference at Hamilton Island, here’s a wrap-up of some of the highlights.

1. The welcome function
Despite fears that rain might impact the outdoor event, the weather gods smiled and delegates enjoyed a very special night of drinks and canapes around Sails’ main pool with a welcome from MEA’s Chairman Simon Baggs, Hamilton Island CEO Glenn Bourke, Jeff Aquilina from Whitsundays Marketing and a special fireworks display. Song Division entertained the crowd at ClubMEA with their signature energy and fun.

2. Tim Reid’s plenary marketing session 
Not just another marketing w*nker, Tim Reid espoused the virtues of making videos and ensuring your website is updated regularly. He said, “Google want relevant, unique, helpful content produced regularly.”

He encouraged the audience to make a video on their phone of their neighbour answering one of the most commonly asked questions they get about their business. He said that being genuinely helpful is one of the easiest ways to increase time on site, build trust and decrease price sensitivity of potential clients.

3. The catering
The Hamilton Island team have outdone themselves with creative, delicious and abundant catering. At the morning tea on Day 1, they served muesli, yoghurt and fruit compote in little sealed jars and shooters of fresh juice, along with some of the best barista made coffee you could ever hope for. Afternoon tea included fresh, hot pretzels and the evening BBQ on the beach featured a very popular seafood stand offering giant local prawns peeled by the staff and a BBQ featuring marinated crocodile tail and kangaroo sausages.

4. MEA event show announcement
MEA CEO Linda Gaunt announced that the inaugural MEA Event Show will take place on September 1 and 2 in the Event Centre at Royal Randwick Racecourse sponsored by Saxtons.

5. Song Division song writing workshop with Lionel Cole
The crowd was graced with a performance by music royalty, Lionel Cole (nephew of Nat King Cole and cousin of Natalie Cole), who worked with Sam McNeill and the team from Song Division to write a MEA 2015 song ‘right there, right now’ with the audience contributing lyrics and singing along to the finished product.

Stay tuned this Thursday for a full wrap-up of MEA 2015, including the winners of tonight’s MEA Awards.

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