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PCB to crank up its promotional program

NEARLY $2 million will be spent this financial year to promote WA as a conference destination – and that is before the marketing campaign for the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre begins.

The Perth Convention Bureau has access to $1.9 million to promote WA. Of that, $1.6 million comes from its own funds, $200,000 comes from the WA Government in one-off grants from the WA Tourism Commission and the Department of Housing and Works, while a further $100,000 will be raised from the private sector.

The bureau’s campaign is expected to begin in early February.

It traditionally spends around $1.6 million promoting WA as a destination, but PCB chief executive Anne-Maree Ferguson believes a spend nearer $2 million is required.

Spotless Group, manager of the centre for the PCEC Pty Ltd consortium, has a multi-million dollar budget to promote the centre through its 30-month construction phase.

The PCEC consortium is required to spend a minimum of $250,000 to promote the centre during its construction phase.

Spotless group general manager development Lewis Kaerger said the group’s marketing campaign would kick off with the meetings industry conference in Melbourne early next year.

“We have fairly intensive plans in place for marketing the centre locally, nationally and internationally,” Mr Kaerger said.

“Perth is seen as an exotic but safe location. I think safety will be a major concern over the next five years.”

PCEC Pty Ltd, will sign the lease contract it holds on Crown Land over to the Wyllie Group once the centre is completed.

The lease will include some key performance indicators regarding delegate numbers, length of stay and the amount of money they spend.

However, those KPIs are yet to be established.

A committee will be formed of two Government representatives, two representatives from the centre operator and an independent chairman to decide the KPIs after the centre has completed its second year of operation.

If the centre operator fails to meet the KPIs in one year, it will be fined $1 million, which will be used for remedial marketing.

If it fails to meet the KPIs for three years in a row it forfeits its lease.

Before a sod had been even turned on the PCEC site, the PCB had 10 tentative bookings for the centre.

If those bookings come to fruition they will bring 14,250 delegates, result in 78,575 hotel room nights and bring an economic impact to WA of $44 million.

The bureau is working on a further 20 conferences. If it wins them, they will bring about 31,600 delegates to WA and have an economic impact of $144 million.

The PCEC is expected to have an economic impact of $2.2 billion on WA in its first 10 years of operation.

Ms Ferguson said the PCB ran a variety of site inspection programs that brought conference organisers to WA.

“We also use electronic marketing such as creative emails and the Internet,” she said.

“We have sales people covering Africa, Asia, Europe and Australasia and they visit those markets regularly.

“We don’t pay the overheads for office infrastructure in other countries. The visits also help promote the accessibility of WA as a destination.”

The PCB used to have an office in Singapore but it was closed during the Asian financial crisis. While it was open, however, it proved to be a successful marketing tool.

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