Shaping the future of events

The Ritz-Carlton, Melbourne director of sales, Geeta Seneviratne, and director of events, Kate Bull, share their insights on what’s on the horizon for our industry.

While the landscape of meetings and events has undeniably shifted over the past three years, there is an overwhelming feeling industry-wide, that in-person connection is invaluable. Virtual meetings and events have paved the way for new tech to amp up how we meet, however, face to face meetings and events are still ranking high with organisers and attendees alike.

L to R: Geeta Seneviratne and Kate Bull.

Where there is adversity, there is triumph

Geeta Seneviratne: Undoubtably an extremely tough time for everyone, the past few years has shown
us that flexibility, transparency and kindness reign supreme across the meetings and events industry. Trust in your sales or events leader, booking processes, payment terms, flexible cancellation policies and innovative solutions for hybrid events are priority, industry wide. A truly human approach speaks volumes.

Kate Bull: The pandemic forced people to connect virtually through screens, isolate and look inwards. Now, we see a resurgence of event requests and attendance. People want to meet face to face and feel part of an experience. It’s our role to simply make that experience the best expression of enjoyment possible, through smart tech, personal service and unique event solutions. We must wow our guests and leave them with memories that last a lifetime.

Priorities that shape the future of events

GS: As a new luxury hotel, we see our booked events as an opportunity to showcase what’s possible. We are a blank canvas and partner with our clients to create event success time and time again. We know that from a sales perspective, time is precious – the first shot is your best shot. Our clients seek swift turnaround of quotes, contracts and event solutions. We know cleanliness is, and always will be, a priority. We foster a belief that the genuine care and comfort for our clients and their guests is our highest mission – this is our priority.

KB: Technology and the ability to push the boundaries with typical event set up and delivery are high priorities from an event staging perspective. Hybrid events will be the norm, and unique interactive moments of engagement between speakers and their audience will also shape future events. Quality over quantity will also be key – here, we feel our service values shared through our heightened service ratios, inherently local food and beverage offerings, and commitment to the wellbeing of our team and our guests will allow us to achieve event success with our clients.

Emerging trends worth exploring

GS: There is a growing focus, and rightly so, on event sustainability and corporate social responsibility. Planners and clients want to know of property’s sustainability practices. Mindfulness and wellness are becoming essential components of any event or conference, too, which make events more than just business.

KB: Technology will continue to shape the future of events. While it was many, many years ago, I’ll never forget the time a client engaged an AV company to create a hologram of Keith Urban at their event – and we’ve come leaps and bounds from there!

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