With the multi-million dollar renovations now unveiled, the team at SMC has seen a rush of excitement from event producers and conference planners. “It’s always great to see a new venue open or one as iconic as this get a major upgrade,” says Rosie Buckley, Business Development Manager at Conference Resources. “We’re always looking for fresh spaces and ways to make events unique and enticing”.
According to Rosie, there are four important elements in venue selection: location, flexibility of meeting spaces; lighting and AV; and mouth-watering menu options. Event formats are changing. There’s still a demand for traditional sit-down dinners and lecture-style conference sessions but increasingly event delegates want the opportunity to engage more socially and enjoy more interactive experiences. “What really makes a difference is the ability for a venue team to carry a creative theme throughout an event” says Paul Noakes, SMC’s Audio Visual Services Manager.
At the recent speed networking event for the Australian Institute of Office Professionals, the fast-paced nature of the event was matched with creative catering solutions that saw a street-style ‘hawker stalls’ installed in SMC’s Marble Foyer, serving Asian-inspired canapes and cocktails. Lighting and styling carried the theme through with vibrant colours that added to the fun and excitement of the evening.
“We worked closely with Melissa Macri, President of AIOP NSW to give their networking night a high dose of flair using our holistic approach that builds in detail at every touch point. We find that the more experiential an event is, the more memorable it becomes,” says SMC Director of Sales Scott Cooper. “We really encourage all the event planners we work with to bring their most creative ideas and we’ll do everything we can to bring that vision to life.”
Another great event with creative event formats using multiple spaces within SMC to create a multi-sensory experience include a real estate industry event that styled the plenary main stage with the latest in lounge furniture, plush rugs and beautiful flowers, more reminiscent of a staged luxury apartment for sale than a meeting room, a branded Barista Coffee Cart available all day in the registration area, Poke Bowl food stations in addition to the hot and cold buffet lunch dotted around a separate seated lunch venue whilst a keynote speaker delivered laughs and learnings, and a Messina Gelato cart during the post-event cocktail reception.
With 13 fully-accessible multi-purpose spaces, the ability for each floor at SMC to be its own dedicated events centre is a major drawcard for organisers. An event booked for the Ground Floor can use the Ionic room (up to 150 cabaret or 280 theatre) as its plenary, the Doric room for catering and the Corinthian, Tuscan and Composite rooms as break-out spaces. The first floor is ideal for galas and formal events with the impressive Marble Foyer as a registration and cocktail space, the Grand Lodge as a plenary and the Banquet Hall as a dual purpose exhibition and dining space. The brand new fourth floor offers organisers another ‘centre within a centre’ with the Northcott room as a plenary, the Remington for table top exhibitions and catering and the Boardroom and Rawson as breakout spaces.
In terms of conferences, the growing need for flexible meeting space is to accommodate the variety of content which is not just plenary sessions, breakout sessions, and traditional trade shows. Conference planners are incorporating more interactive elements, showcasing vendors in more innovative ways, shortening formats, making sessions more participatory etc. In fact, some conferences today are more like rock concerts.
So how can you make the most of this flexibility and creativity for your next event? For conferences and meetings, think about combining spaces to accommodate both traditional meeting setups, i.e. theatre-style for things like plenaries or classroom/lecture style for sessions, as well as more dynamic formats where the configuration can change on the fly. Think creative lounge seating, communal tables, bean bag chairs, as well as activations that spark connections. Try branded or artistic dividers to create chill-out or focus spaces.
For fundraising galas, the flexibility of having multiple spaces to house various elements of the event helps to connect people to your brand or cause. This could be through fundraising auctions or interactive activations all amplified with customised food and beverage menus and integrated AV and lighting solutions. It could also mean offering different types of entertainment in each space so your event becomes like a mini-festival.
As explored in a recent blog, SMC’s state of the art technology plays an important role. Each room has simple, easy-to-use touch screens that mean organisers can control and change lighting states easily and quickly. “We’ve already seen how much confidence this new system gives to our event organisers,” says Scott. “It means many events now don’t need dedicated AV technicians, the touch screens give them control and there’s direct connection to our in-house AV team for extra support when required”.
Make the most of SMC’s 14ft screens, 12,000 lumen projection capabilities, upgraded 1gig up and down internet connectivity (which is twice as fast as it was previously and 10 times faster than the best home internet connections), lighting states, and motorised trusses for special effects.
There’s no limit to creativity given the flexibility and event solutions available at SMC.
Connect with SMC’s venue management team to discover how your next event can reach the next level of engagement.