11 questions with… Get Global’s Gary Bender and Donna Kessler

LATTE chats with Gary Bender and Donna Kessler of Get Global about gaps in the MICE market, future changes to the event and forecasted trends, and sipping affogatos overlooking the Trevi Fountain.

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LATTE chats with Gary Bender and Donna Kessler of Get Global about gaps in the MICE market, future changes to the event and forecasted trends, and sipping affogatos overlooking the Trevi Fountain.

Tell us about Get Global. What gaps in the market is the event looking to fill?

DK: As MICE industry professionals, one of us on the events side and the other sales, we have both spent many hours on tradeshow floors all over the world. It got to a point where we felt the current market was not meeting the needs of both buyers and sellers.

We’re all familiar with the traditional trade-show set-up of pre-scheduled appointments, but you’ve mixed it up. How have you changed the trade-show format, and why?

GB: Pre-scheduled appointments required too much of a commitment from buyers, often over a period of days and did not attract the right buyers. Buyers know exactly what they have coming up that year and are looking to connect with specific destinations and products while also being inspired. Pre-scheduled appointments often restrict this connection.

Get Global is the first MICE business platform in Australia dedicated exclusively to outbound product. Why was this focus important to you?

DK: For Australian corporate and trade buyers, time is of the essence. It is also a long journey for international product who will sometimes invest in conducting an annual roadshow. Get Global provides a platform for this product to efficiently and cost-effectively connect with more buyers.

Following the success of the inaugural event in 2017, what changes are you introducing for Get Global 2018?

GB: Together we have long-standing relationships with our exhibitors and buyers. They were more than happy to let us know what worked and what could be improved. The format and exhibitor mix were very well received. The exhibitors felt they wanted to be able to have the opportunity to enhance their brand, so we have introduced more opportunities for this.

DK: We have also partnered with Australia’s leading speaker bureau, ICMI, to create the Inspiration Corner. This allows us to incorporate a day of learning for our delegates from some of the most inspirational and motivational business leaders in the world, without increasing time out of the office. We have already announced two speakers, with more to be announced over coming weeks.

What new products and properties will be appearing at Get Global 2018?

GB: We’re excited so many new exhibitors will be joining us this year, with even more diversity including Virgin Australia, Peninsula Hotels, Pillowmint, Village Hotel Sentosa, Alila Hotels Bali and NYC & Company.  Of course, we are happy to welcome back giants of our industry like Qantas, Singapore Tourism Board, Abu Dhabi Tourism and Marriott Hotels.

Why are Australians such an attractive market for overseas suppliers?

DK: Australians are known to be global travellers and this isn’t limited to personal travel. Often companies want to incentivise their teams and executives by taking them somewhere that perhaps they may not travel to independently. Hence the increased interest in more experiential, overseas destinations.

What do buyers love about Get Global?

GB: Buyers told us last year they loved the relaxed format of the show. No pre-scheduled appointments meant they could come early to beat the crowds, meet with their preferred exhibitors, enjoy morning tea and lunch then head back to the office. Although we did discover many stayed for the cocktail party and its huge list of extraordinary prizes!

What do exhibitors love about Get Global?

DK: The quality of the buyers and the ability to spend as much time with them as they needed. The value for money and the ease of exhibiting. Exhibitors need just bring their device of choice to share their product with buyers. They are also able to use the Get Global app to make appointments with those they want to be sure to be sure to connect with.

What top 3 MICE trends do you see emerging?

1. Experiential travel. Participants want to be immersed in the culture of the destination they are visiting. This often incorporates a CSR element.

2. Cost. Off-shore destinations often present better value for money and with procurement departments being more involved in all aspects of destination and venue selection, it is essential to have transparency across all elements of the quoting process.

3. Change. Out with the old, well-trodden paths and in with new, underutilised product.

How has your experience on two different sides of the MICE industry prepared you for running Get Global? What challenges have you encountered?

GB: We believe it really isn’t only about being on different sides but also about our experience and how many shows we have attended in our careers. For an exhibitor, cost and ROI are very important elements. Our strategy is to keep our costs down to encourage more product to exhibit. The Australian and NZ markets generally have to travel to Europe or the USA to discover new resorts, etc. We want to be able to offer the buyer more bespoke, interesting products and experiences.

LATTE signature question: What was your best-ever coffee experience? 

GB: 12 years ago, I put on an outback experience for a client. We’d organised 100 people overnight in brand-new swags in the middle of nowhere, gazing at millions of stars and the occasional wild horse or camel. At 5am, two heavy-duty coffee machines arrived on the back of two utes and the baristas stepped out and provided what I can only remember as the best coffee I’d ever had!

DK: WOW! That’s a hard one. Probably the affogato (does that count?!) I enjoyed in Italy overlooking the stunning Trevi Fountain.

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