Business events power the Mighty Waikato


When it comes to hosting business events, meetings or conferences, you can’t beat the Mighty Waikato with the region now fourth most desirable place to host, meet and learn.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment released its quarterly Convention Activity Survey and Waikato ranked fourth behind Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch for market share by the number of multiday business events.

So, what does this all mean to our region?

Not only do conference delegates spend more than the leisure traveller, if they also have a favourable experience of a place, they will return for a holiday with family and friends.

International business delegates spend on average $299 per night when visiting Waikato and stay around seven nights in New Zealand. Domestic business event delegates spend more, with an average of $461 per night, and stay around three nights in the region.

Business delegates eat out, love to shop, be entertained and visit some of our tourist attractions. They also require transport and business support services, plus help keep our venue, event and technical staff in employment.

Not only are conference delegates high-value visitors, they are here to be educated, sharing knowledge and opportunities with like-minded people.

Another key factor with business events and travel is that it is not seasonal – it is a year-round activity which keeps many venues, AV technicians, caterers, entertainers, transport providers and event organisers in sustainable employment. This is different from the leisure traveller who traditionally likes to explore our region during the summer and shoulder seasons.

Attracting international conferences to our shores also deliver significant benefits to New Zealanders. It brings the best minds in the world for each relevant sector within easy reach of individuals, organisations and our communities.

Attending an international conference half way around the world can be a huge ask for New Zealand-based businesses or organisations, so it makes it more affordable to attend an international convention in our own country. The opportunity to expand our education and knowledge, build professional relationships and business opportunities, plus creating joint ventures, funding arrangements and social legacies should not be under-estimated.

We are fortunate in our region to have world-class venues and facilities like Claudelands Event Centre and Mystery Creek, plus a world-leading university who help attract international conventions.

We have also recently joined forces with Dunedin Convention Bureau to launch “Meet North South”, an initiative to generate business events which will benefit both regions over consecutive years. The partnership effectively solves the challenge experienced by New Zealand associations looking to hold business events for up to 500 people on a North Island / South Island regional rotation.

If there is an international conference you would love to bring to our region, please get in touch. Not only can we help with the bid process and conference delivery advice, we may be able to attract support funding from Tourism New Zealand’s Conference Assistance Programme.


About Author

Jason Dawson

Chief Executive, Hamilton & Waikato Tourism