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05 March 2019

Getting to know Alana Bicknell

A little over a month ago, Alana Bicknell joined the New Zealand International Convention Centre (NZICC) in the role of Senior Sales Manager - New Zealand. Alana has settled in nicely and we wanted to see what she has been busy working on over the past month.

What have you been up to since you started?

I've had a busy few weeks getting familiar with the NZICC, the facilities, and the flexibility of the spaces in the building and was lucky enough to go on site to see the build in person. Standing in the exhibition hall, the meeting spaces and within the plenary theatre really put the size and scale of the building into perspective - it's one thing to see floorplans and renders of the building, but to see it in person is another!

Spending quality time with some of our key partners, Auckland Convention Bureau (ACB) and Tourism New Zealand (TNZ) has also been on my priority list over the past few weeks, which I believe is key to the success of both the venue and the destination. Attending the ACB Members Showcase event at the end of January gave me the opportunity to reconnect with industry colleagues and also meet some new faces.

I have also been working on the strategy for the domestic team moving forward. With the NZICC being completed in the second half of 2020, we have time to ensure we get everything right leading up to opening – however we’re not resting on our laurels. I will be onboarding the largest sales team in NZICC, focusing on ensuring our domestic sales team provide a seamless and efficient experience for our clients.

A big part of the strategy is starting to gather industry insights to ensure NZICC meets the needs of the domestic market. We are getting feedback daily and it’s really great to understand where we are delivering to client needs and where we need to look at things differently.

Finally on a personal note I have made the move to Auckland, which is really exciting. The team have made my transition really easy and the warm welcome I continue to receive among them has made the move even easier. They have taken the time to show me what our city has to offer and I am looking forward to exploring more of Auckland over the coming months. The team however, are yet to convince me to pledge my allegiance to the Auckland Blues – the Hurricanes still have my unwavering support!

Despite moving to Auckland, I will still be spending a lot of time in Wellington and will be traveling regularly across the rest of New Zealand to engage our clients.

What do you believe are the needs of the national market and how can NZICC address these needs?

Some of the feedback we've received to date is largely around the size of the NZICC for our domestic market. It is a very complex building and bigger than any other offering in New Zealand, so we have some work to do to help our clients understand the flexibility it offers. We have a multitude of spaces that offer intimate event experiences specifically designed to meet the needs of our domestic sized conferences and meetings. It’s important to keep in mind while the NZICC opens up opportunities for New Zealand to host large international conferences and has wonderful big spaces, that this building was designed with the New Zealand market in mind alongside our local event organisers. Level 3 for example, has a floor to ceiling height of 9 metres, the meeting rooms on this level incorporate a false ceiling that drops down to create a sense of intimacy, ensuring a smart delivery regardless of the size of the event. Our 2,850 seat plenary can also be divided into two smaller 1,200 seat theatres to meet the needs of the domestic market, with an option to further reduce the room demonstrating the flexibility of this space. The opportunities are really vast and we want to be the team that will work with you to make anything happen.

We will also focus on how we are ensuring our event managers and PCOs have a seamless experience when they choose to hold their events with us. Our broader team will consist of sales, planning and operations. David Allott has recently joined the NZICC as Director of Operations and we are both aligned with the focus of ‘customer first’, so I’m confident that having the customer journey as the priority will continue through to opening. We are excited that we will be streamlining and automating some of the more time-consuming processes such as our digital way-finding and digital screens through smart technology. This means we get to focus on the client and really amplify their experience and working on their event requirements on the day rather than having our time bogged down with tricky programming. The personalisation of our screens for events will allow the event to create a bespoke and unique experience for their delegates. Delegates attending these events at the NZICC will feel a sense of ownership of our spaces as the digital screens offer the opportunity for key branding.

What's coming up?

My focus over the coming months will be making appointments and catching up with clients across the different regions. Please reach out if you would like me to visit and take you through what the NZICC can offer. Our interactive model gives you a great visual of what the NZICC will look like and how it will function without it being completed yet. This can be found on our website or I am happy to set up a time and meet with you and show you through the model in person.

NZICC will also be exhibiting at Convene North 2019 and we look forward to catching up with clients and our industry colleagues there!

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