Auckland's increased focus on developing the Australian market as a source of business events has paid dividends – resulting in the city hosting $33million worth of business events since the Auckland Business Events Plan launched in 2014.
With excellent air links between the two countries and short flying distances to and from the main centres, Auckland has always made a compelling proposition for the Australian business events sector.
The Auckland Convention Bureau (ACB) identified, however, that there were still many opportunities to drive further growth from Australia.
ACB head Anna Hayward says having an Australian-based business development manager - one of the key actions identified in the Auckland Business Events Plan – in market for the past three years has been a driving force behind Auckland's success.
“We've been blown away by how much we've been able to grow Auckland's Australian business, and really highlights just how much our sector values good relationships,” she says.
“With motherhood calling for our previous BDM Edwina Fitzsimon, we have been on the hunt for a new Australian-based superstar. We are thrilled to have appointed Katrina O'Donnell to the position, someone who will be a familiar face to many in the industry.
Hailing originally from Auckland, Katrina has more than 13 years' experience in tourism and hospitality and extensive knowledge of the business events sector.
Her most recent role was as the sales and marketing associate director at Sofitel Gold Coast Broadbeach where she worked for the past six years.
“With such rapid growth of infrastructure and other exciting developments taking place throughout Auckland it's important for us to be able to provide the level of expertise and service our Australian clients require,” says Hayward.
“Katrina has an expert knowledge of what Auckland has to offer as a premium business events destination.
O'Donnell will be joining the ACB team on the 100% Pure New Zealand stand at the upcoming AIME 2018 tradeshow.