They say that out of adversity comes opportunity, and Queenstown's Holiday Inn Express & Suites has taken off since opening during "challenging times" in July last year. The 227-room hotel has built a reputation for delivering outstanding events in less than 12 months and challenged domestic leisure, meetings, and incentive markets.
To date, the property hosted three exclusive events – a five-day incentive in October, an aged care 'buyout' in February, and a lawyer's conference just last month. It has also run both residential and non-residential events on a weekly basis in the smaller Tahuna and Kopaka meeting rooms, with great feedback.
At BEIA's MEETINGS in Auckland in early June, attended by IHB Key Account Director New Zealand Matthew Cornelissen, the hotel launched its new meetings kit. "Our hotel is a smart choice for accommodation, meetings, and events with two multi-function spaces and group accommodation available," said General Manager Jason Sabin, meeting and exceeding every expectation business's look for, from boardroom meetings to cocktail events. Sabin said the team makes use of all their unique spaces, from the Great Room with its modern design of high ceilings, mountain outlook and central bar and reception to the Ember Outdoor Lounge, perfect for a smaller cocktail function or BBQ lunch event.
Holiday Inn Express & Suites won business after Sales and Marketing Director Kylie Walker conducted a two-hour virtual site inspection, site unseen. PCO Moni Collins organized the event – one of the first large events to come to Queenstown post-Covid, for a company initially planning to go to Buenos Aires.
After having to change their destination and moving their event, Mr Collins said, "we couldn't be happier with the results, given the fantastic feedback from all conference delegates," with staff and management providing top class hospitality. The hotel's physical location also provides "easy access to the sights and sounds of Queenstown."
The aged care business involved in the buyout in February loved the conference so much they re-booked for next year. A prominent law group that visited last month said Holiday Inn Express & Suites was "the best team we have worked within 22 years of their conferences".
Sabin said that whilst Holiday Inn Express & Suites is a new brand to New Zealand, with no historical association with large conferences and incentive business, the Queenstown property has shown how it naturally lends itself to MICE business. "It's been rewarding to have these wins despite the interesting first year we've faced, and we're looking forward…to welcoming more events" with the opening of the borders, said Sabin. Through their challenging first year, the team has learnt to think on their feet, be creative with their offerings, and trust the quality of their venue, events, and ability of staff to deliver.