Host City: How would you describe the main focus of Queensland’s event hosting strategy?
Leanne Coddington: As the Queensland Government’s lead tourism marketing, experience development and major events agency, Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ) identifies, attracts, develops and promotes major events that drive visitors to Queensland, contribute to the Queensland economy, raise the profile of Queensland and generate community pride.
The It’s Live! in Queensland events calendar is the platform from which we market events and our goal is to continue to grow the value of the calendar in delivering real economic benefit for the state. In 2019, the calendar is expected to generate $800 million for the state’s economy – having more than doubled in value from $380 million in 2015.
Host City: How does TEQ plan to achieve these ambitious targets?
Leanne Coddington: While the ongoing acquisition of new high-value events will certainly help drive this growth, we also endeavour to continually optimise the outcomes of existing events on the calendar. Working strategically with event owners, rights holders and promoters, TEQ’s focus centres largely on growing the number of visitors from outside of Queensland to events on the calendar. Optimising the event’s own marketing plans and leveraging TEQ’s tourism marketing channels and assets are some methods we employ to do this.
Host City: What does the Queensland calendar of events typically look like?
Leanne Coddington: Queensland’s calendar of events features events of all genres from professional to mass participation sport, to arts and culture, music festivals and business events, across the length and breadth of Queensland, from the Gold Coast and Brisbane in the south east of the state to Townsville and Cairns in the north and the Outback in the west of the state.
The calendar reflects the diversity of Queensland as a tourism destination and is therefore a highly effective form of destination marketing in its own right. Whether it be Wagner’s Ring Cycle strengthening Brisbane’s reputation as a world class arts and cultural hub, the Quiksilver Pro showcasing the Gold Coast’s iconic surf breaks or the Airlie Beach Race Week showcasing the spectacular sailing in the Whitsunday Islands and the Great Barrier Reef, each event is a platform from which we can market our unique tourism experiences and also tells a story about the host destination.
Host City: How is the calendar promoted?
Leanne Coddington: Under the brand It’s Live! in Queensland we can augment the marketing efforts of our event partners, and raise the equity of Queensland as an event destination. Targeting key interstate markets including Sydney and Melbourne and international markets such as New Zealand, It’s Live! in Queensland is promoted across digital, print, television and at each TEQ-supported event.
Host City: Australia has long boasted a strong major event hosting reputation. How does Queensland compete against other Australian event destinations?
Leanne Coddington: Indeed, Australia has a great reputation when it comes to major events. We focus on leveraging our unique competitive advantages, centred around the diversity of event hosting destinations on offer in Queensland. The decentralised nature of Queensland means we have numerous destinations capable of hosting large international events – Brisbane, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast in the south east and Townsville and Cairns in the north of the State have all for example held world championship sports events.
Another competitive advantage is that our natural environment, ideal climate and laidback lifestyle makes hosting outdoor events possible all year round. This factor has certainly helped us carve out a reputation as a world class destination for endurance sport events such as triathlon, marathon and cycling.
And lastly, we are home to iconic tourism destinations and experiences. People love travelling here for an event, particularly participation sporting events and they love bringing family, friends and supporters with them because they can extend their trip and enjoy a holiday pre or post event.
Host City: How important is the broad appeal of the host destination to the success of an event?
Leanne Coddington: Very important. Events must be considered as experiences and a range of ingredients contribute to the delivery of a compelling event experience. While the quality of the event content itself and its delivery is key, perhaps the most important factor in delivering the success of a major event is the appeal of the host destination and how it engages with the event audience to augment the experience.
TEQ works closely with regional tourism organisations and local councils to assist event owners better connect with and promote tourism experiences, dining, entertainment and transportation to optimise the event experience of visitors. We’re also known for our friendly locals and our laid-back, friendly lifestyle is something we portray strongly under our tourism brand “beautiful one day, perfect the next”. We know that if we can optimise the event experience in this way, event visitors are far more likely to leave as advocates and come back again for a future holiday.
Host City: What is most important, attracting visitors from other states and countries into Queensland, or local community benefits?
Leanne Coddington: While TEQ’s strategy recognises the importance of both as ingredients to a successful event which deliver strong returns on investment, ultimately the attraction of visitors from outside Queensland carries the most weight in our event investment metrics. This is because it most closely aligns with the remit of TEQ. However, unless the event has a tangible benefit on the local community, the community is probably going to be less likely to engage with the event in a positive way. An event that is not engaged with the local community is unlikely to deliver a great experience for visiting attendees, therefore community engagement is certainly a consideration.
Host City: What would you say has been the most important impact of hosting the 2018 Commonwealth Games for the Gold Coast and Queensland?
Leanne Coddington: The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games delivered many great outcomes for Queensland. For TEQ, the event provided a high-profile platform to showcase Queensland’s tourism experiences to a large international audience. It also showcased the Gold Coast and Queensland’s major event hosting capability and given its success, has provided us with a great reputation to leverage and secure more events into the future.
Host City: How did hosting SportAccord in 2019 help with your sports event strategy?
Leanne Coddington: SportAccord 2019 was a highly strategic event acquisition that was about continuing to build the legacy of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games. Hosting the key decision makers from International Federations, national sports organisations, the IOC, event promoters and the world’s sports industry media all in Queensland – many for the first time ever – provided the opportunity to showcase our competitive advantages and most importantly build long term relationships that will ultimately result in future high-value events secured for Queensland.
Host City: We are delighted to welcome Tourism and Events Queensland as a Gold Sponsor of Host City 2019. What are your expectations of Host City, the largest meeting of cities and sports, business and cultural events?
Leanne Coddington: We too are very excited to partner with Host City and look forward to reconnecting with old and establishing new relationships with a range of entities across the conference and exhibition. Host City will provide us a great opportunity to share experiences, thoughts and learnings with industry leaders from around the world, while also showcasing what makes Queensland a great destination for successful major events, whether sporting, cultural or business events.
Leanne Coddington is giving a keynote Destination Showcase address at Host City 2019