Call for better events liaison

CHLOE WINTER
Last updated 09:14 04/09/2014

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Two more major events have been booked in Marlborough on the same weekend.

The double booking has prompted a business leader to call for better communication between booking agents and business owners.

Marlborough Chamber of Commerce's Hamish Macfarlane says businesses would prefer the events spread out over the year, rather than "lumped together" on one weekend.

"There seems to be a disconnection between what the business sector wants and what is being delivered," he said. "In an ideal world, we would like the events to flow on so we don't get that double-up. It would be better for everyone."

A national Toastmasters convention has been booked for the same weekend in November as next year's Garden Marlborough.

They both want to use the Marlborough Convention Centre, which is owned by the Marlborough District Council and managed by Scenic Hotel Marlborough.

Nelmac Garden Marlborough president Jeremy Jones said they would have considered changing weekends if they were told another event was on at the same time.

It was too late for them to reschedule next year's Garden Marlborough with about 2000 people expected to attend, Jones said.

Toastmasters New Zealand public relations officer Neil Stichbury said their conventions were planned two years in advance.

If there had been a "a major event clash" at the time of booking they would have relocated rather than changing weekends, Stichbury said.

Scenic Hotel Marlborough area manager Adrian Clifton said the Toastmasters convention would attract about 300 people and could potentially be worth $360,000 to the region.

He understood Garden Marlborough had found an alternative venue.

Clifton advised all event organisers to book early to avoid disappointment.

Marlborough Motel Association president Noel Noble said he was confident accommodation providers would be able to cater for both events.

"It would just make a busy weekend out of it."

However, Noble said it was a good idea to spread events over the year.

Destination Marlborough marketing communications manager Jason Henry said the two events showed the region was popular for events and business conferences.

"It's a big opportunity for us to look at how it can benefit everyone in the region as a whole."

Destination Marlborough could not deny anyone the right to hold an event or conference the same weekend as another, Henry said.

They were confident the region could handle a large number of visitors at one time, he said.

"I think it just adds to the whole vibrancy of the town."

In May, the Saint Clair Vineyard Half Marathon organisers cancelled a booking at the Marlborough Convention Centre after learning the International Rotary Conference was booked on the same day next year. The half marathon organisers have decided to hold their "finishing toast" elsewhere from now on.

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The Express understands the Rotary Conference has since moved its booking back a weekend.

Clifton would not confirm this and the Rotary Conference organisers could not be contacted yesterday.

- The Marlborough Express

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