Your Corporate Event Guide: Sydney vs Melbourne
Internationally promoted as a world-class business events destination by the dedicated business group ‘Business Events Australia’, Australia has a successful track record hosting large-scale events and international conventions. A global leader in terms of enticing incentive programmes, state of the art MICE venues and stunning destinations, Australia has a lot to offer business visitors. With blue skies and sunshine all year round we take a look at Sydney and Melbourne as corporate event destinations of choice.
Located on Australia’s east coast, outlined by sandstone headlands, this sprawling metropolis surrounds one of the world’s largest natural harbours and is close to stunning beaches, rainforest terrain and a world-renowned wine region. With incentive options aplenty and a rich culture history, Sydney is Australia’s largest, oldest and most diverse city and an exciting and vibrant destination for corporate events.
A testament to its attractive status for corporate events, Sydney is due to host the World Congress for Accountants in 2018 and next year (2016) will be the destination for NuSkin’s incentive trip, which will see an estimated A$50 million brought into the NSW economy. One of the largest incentives to ever take place in Australia, it is a clear indication of Sydney’s appeal to business visitors.
Sydney offers visitors an extensive network of integrated public transport services including bus, train and ferry with an Automated Fare Collection System, making getting around the city relatively easy. An increasing number of their services are prepay only so for ease visitors should consider taking advantage of the city’s ‘Opal’ card which also offers a number of discounts across all transport types. Regular buses run between 5 am and midnight when the NightRide bus then takes over. A large suburban railway web traverses the city with frequent services from 5am to 1am as an alternative. Ferries offer access to popular places across the Harbour the West, North and East and are a great way to get about whilst enjoying the sites.
The ICC Sydney
Due to open at the end of 2016, the ICC has been designed to confirm Sydney’s place as one of the world’s most desirable MICE destinations. Bringing together convention, exhibition and entertainment spaces into one striking contemporary precinct, the ICC will be Sydney’s premier corporate events venue. Positioned in Darling Harbour, it will boast a central and prime waterfront location with an adjacent luxury hotel as well as world-class facilities that will render it capable of hosting three separate, self-sufficient, concurrent events as well as an 8,000 seat plenary.
Only a short ferry ride from Sydney’s central business district, Cockatoo Island is a UNESCO World Heritage site with a wealth of unique inspirational event spaces. A distinctive mix of iconic sandstone convicted-era buildings the island offers 6 amazing event spaces perfect for meetings and conferences, product launches, team-building events and gala dinners. The Turbine Shop is a cathedral sized hall with soaring ceilings, exposed steel structures and bare concrete floors whilst the Convict Workshops are comprised of three rooms, which date back to the 1840s. The Convict Precinct, Eastern Apron, Dog Leg Tunnel and Naval store complete this sextet of stunning industrial spaces.
A zoo may seem like an unlikely venue for your corporate event, but with a stunning ballroom boasting panoramic views of Sydney harbour, an elegant outdoor terrace and quaint garden court, Targona Zoo offers plenty of stylish space for corporate dinners, presentations, awards ceremonies and conferences. The impressive ballroom can accommodate up to 350 people for a cocktail party and can be partitioned if required for smaller groups, whilst the terrace can cater to up to 250 and the garden court up to 100 guests.
Park Hyatt Sydney
A five star luxury hotel worthy of the Hyatt name, this hotel is seated one the edge of one of the world’s most beautiful harbours between the iconic Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. The entire hotel’s design is inspired by architecture and art that reflect the Australian landscape, creating 155 unique guestrooms. The hotel also offers five sophisticated function venues that offer flexible solutions for all types of corporate events.
Combining Sydney’s old world charm with contemporary design, 1888 is a heritage listed boutique hotel with 90 stunning bedrooms. Each room boasts high ceilings, exposed brick walls and original Ironbark beams all illuminated by bounds of natural daylight issuing from huge soundproofed period windows. Just a few minutes walk from Darling Harbour and Sydney’s Central Business District and neighbouring Sydney Exhibition & Convention Centre it is in a prime location for business travellers. The hotel itself also offers a number of stylish intimate spaces perfect for small to medium sized meetings.
Pullman Quay Grand Sydney Harbour
Offering 1 and 2 bedroom suites over looking either the famous Sydney Harbour or the Royal Botanic Gardens, Pullman Quay Grand offers a contemporary base from which to explore the city. Boasting luxury rooms, an indoor heated pool, spa, sauna, private recreation deck, fine and casual dining options and a number of glamorous events spaces including 3 flexible meeting rooms, the Pullman Quay Grand has it all!
Things To Do
Climb Sydney Harbour Bridge
Marketed as the climb of your life, this activity is for those with a sense of adventure! A great way to build team spirit, delegates partaking in this activity will get to enjoy incredible views of this world famous harbour from the top of one of the city’s most iconic landmarks – that’s 134m above sea level!
Take a day off from the bustle of the city and visit the stunning vineyards just a short drive away. Corporate groups can take part in grape stomping, barrel rolling, cooking and wine blending workshops, wine tasting, tours of the winery and relax and enjoy the surrounding landscape in one of the most idyllic locations on earth. The Hunter Valley also offers a number of venues with state-of-the-art amenities for those mixing business and pleasure.
The home of one of the world’s most iconic opera houses, Sydney has a wealth of classical entertainment options that will impress audiences at all kinds of corporate events, from dramatic circus operas to elegant string ensembles.
For modern entertainment with a classical edge, our international classical crossover group will exceed expectations. Deemed one of the world’s leading emerging classical crossover bands they specialise in turning popular music into symphonic masterpieces and their debut album reached No. 1 on the Australian iTunes Classical Charts. Utterly inspiring, their performances will add wow factor to gala dinners, award ceremonies and product launches. Alternatively, our classic string ensemble comprised of talented graduates from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music provides beautiful background music for dinners and drinks receptions. Creating the perfect musical ambiance to suit your event their repertoire spans classical, jazz and contemporary music styles. If you’re looking for an interactive musical performer that will engage guests in an exciting up close performance, our violin virtuoso Sally will be the perfect addition to your corporate event. One of Sydney’s brightest stars she has previously performed at events for Lamborghini, Ferrari and Lavazza!
Taking opera to a whole new level and combining it with a unique fusion of acrobatic and aerial performers, our Circus Opera puts on a spell-binding performance perfect as a wow-factor after dinner show. Having performed sell-out shows across Australia and Europe, their innovative combination of classical music, opera and circus performance is guaranteed to impress audiences.
Voted one of the world’s most liveable cities and Australia’s cultural capital, Melbourne is a dynamic and cosmopolitan metropolis filled with Gold Rush-era architecture, edgy arts venues and inspiring museums. With some of Australia’s best incentive activities within a 3-hour drive from the city and a mix of world-class convention and exhibition centres and quirky arts venues on offer, Melbourne is a fantastic destination for corporate events planners looking to hold a unique event.
The business events sector already has a firm base in Melbourne; it is the city’s highest yielding sector of the tourism industry and generates around $1.2 billion annually for the Victorian economy. Beautiful heritage buildings and cutting-edge new structures as well as an incredibly multicultural population contribute to Melbourne’s unique appeal. The city has also invested a lot in creating its corporate identity, designing a rebrand in 2009 that encapsulated the city’s international reputation for excellence, innovation and leadership to stand up against other destinations such as London and New York.
Very much about lifestyle, Melbourne offers visitors an impressive and easy to use transport structure that incorporates an extensive tram network – the world’s largest in fact – and a bike share scheme, unlike Sydney. Melbourne has a great value for money ticketing system, the myki ticket covers travel on the city’s 30 train lines, 323 bus routes and trams giving you the flexibility to switch between the three. Similarly to Sydney, services run 5am to midnight Monday to Thursday but extend their service to 1am on Fridays and Saturdays. Visitors to the city also benefit from a newly introduced (January 2015) Free Tram Zone, which takes passengers from Queen Victoria Market right across to Federation Square.
Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre (MCEC)
Renowned for knowing what makes an event memorable, the MCEC has 52 flexible meetings rooms and 30,000 sqm of pillar-less exhibition space all equipped with state-of-the-art technology that can be customised for each event. The venue also boasts a 6-Star Green Star environment rating from the Green Building Council of Australia. Catering to conferences, board meetings, gala dinners, product launches, exhibitions and much more, the MCEC is just a short walk from the city centre and only a 20minute drive from the airport!
National Gallery of Victoria
If you’re hosting your corporate event in Melbourne – Australia’s cultural capital – there is no place more fitting to hold your business event than the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV). The NGV is a unique venue with four impressive event spaces; The Great Hall with its famous stained glass ceiling by Leonard French and capacity of up to 1,400 people is an impressive backdrop for events demanding an imposing space. Federation court offers a contemporary glass ceilinged space with a capacity of up to 500. The Persimmon overlooks the stunning Grollo Equiset Garden, and bathed in natural light it’s perfect for cocktail functions of up to 200 people. For events that require the best multimedia facilities, the Clemenger Auditorium with fixed seating for 250 is perfect.
Deakin Edge Federation Square
Another stunning arts venue, The Deakin Edge is a glass-encased theatre offering incredible views across the Yarra River. Its flexible configuration offers options for tiered seating for up to 269 people, use of the lower stage can then increase this capacity to 450 people, whilst The Atrium offers an adjacent space that can be used as a separate function room, and use of a rear reception area perfect for pre/post-event entertaining is also available. Its iconic architecture and picturesque location makes Deakin Edge a stylish event space that will leave a lasting impression.
This boutique dessert hotel is utterly decadent! One of Melbourne’s most unique and exciting hotels, the Adelphi boasts 34 sumptuous rooms that offer an ‘extraordinary palette of temptations’. Signature desserts and delicious cocktails from the Om Nom Kitchen & Bar, Mon Bijou, and Ezard Restaurant and even a pillow fragrance menu are all to be looked forward to! Mixing business and pleasure, the Adelphi also offers world-class amenities and a 10-seater boardroom.
Alto Hotel on Bourke
Alto Hotel on Bourke is a multi-award winning boutique apartment hotel located right in the city centre within easy walk of the Convention and Exhibition Centre and just metres away from the Airport Buss city terminal. The first inner city hotel in Melbourne to receive the coveted Earth Check silver certification, it is the perfect base to explore the city for those that want luxury and comfort that doesn’t exploit the environment.
The Langham Melbourne
For understated classic elegance The Langham Hotel is perfect; each of its 363 sumptuous rooms offer a timeless ambiance accented by views of the serene Yarra River or bustling city skyline. Awarded ‘Top City Hotel in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific’ at the World’s Best Awards in 2014, The Langham is a charming place to relax after a day of work or even host a meeting, conference or gala dinner.
Things To Do
Hot air balloon ride over the Yarra Valley
A little on the extravagant side but well worth it, taking delegates on a once in a life time balloon ride over the breath taking Yarra Valley is a fantastic incentive trip. The flights usually take place just before sunrise and participants are encouraged to help with the set up and packing away of the balloon – a unique experience in itself. Packages with additional extras, such as a champagne breakfast, are also available.
If you prefer to stay within the city limits there are a whole host of private tours on offer that will take you on mini-adventures where you’ll get to know different aspects of the ‘real’ Melbourne. Great ideas for incentives, each tour lasts around 4 – 6 hours and includes a whole range of activities that will bring your team together!
Holding the title of Australia’s cultural capital it is no surprise that Melbourne has a whole host of unique and unusual entertainment options for corporate events planners to chose from. Our Scarlett Entertainment Melbourne roster is brimming with the weird and wonderful, and here are a few of our favourites:
Offering real wow-factor our giant mirror ball will take your breath away. This 2 metre mirror ball crafted from over 8,000 individual mirrors boasts a whole range of options; mounted on a stage or rigged from the ceiling the ball’s outer case unfolds like flower petals as it slowly rotates to reveal anything from performers to a product or branded inner sphere! Perfect for product launches, awards ceremonies and gala dinners this is an incredible high-impact entertainment option. Alternatively aerial and fire performers offer a dramatic and truly impressive spectacle that pushes the boundaries of entertainment. Their show can be adapted to any theme making them an ideal option for all types of corporate events.
If you’re looking for entertainment that has more of an interactive element our amazing theatre act will ensure that your event is fun, magical, impressive and above all memorable and will leave your audience standing and singing out for more! Voted Australian Event Entertainers of the Year in 2012, these sensational songsters won’t fail to disappoint and are favourites for corporate functions, awards ceremonies and conferences. A completely different type of interactive entertainment ideal for exhibitions, trade shows and corporate functions that require walkabout entertainment is Melbourne’s most lovable robot! Completely out of the box, this robot offers a highly interactive, funny and very engaging performance and is a genuine crowd favourite. A robot baby, fish and electro-scooter can also be added to the performance!