Get Local gets going Down Under

After several delays, the two-day inaugural expo wraps up with some 1,000 local meetings professionals, with a sharpened focus on Australia's reopening.

Get Local was the first in-person international business event exhibition held in Australia in almost two years.
Get Local was the first in-person international business event exhibition held in Australia in almost two years. Photo Credit: Oneill Photo

After several false starts, the inaugural Get Local expo went ahead from 15-16 February at the ICC Sydney, gathering some 1,000 local meetings professionals amid strict Covid-safe protocols, as the sector got ready for Australia's reopening on 21 Feb 2022.

Held at the ICC Sydney, Get Local was the first in-person international business event exhibition held in Australia in almost two years.

The original plan to run the show in July 2021 was postponed to February due to lockdown restrictions in Sydney, but the delay proved timely, coinciding with the month of border reopening — where a Travelport report indicated that the country’s inbound international flight bookings spiked by 93% on day one.

According to event co-founders Donna Kessler and Gary Bender, the resounding consensus was that people are ready, willing and able to get back together for face-to-face events.

The sold-out Welcome Event at Doltone House for instance "clearly highlighted that people want to come together once more,” said Bender, whose team prepared a day of degustation food inspired by the states of Australia, and gave reminders for masks to be worn except when eating or drinking.

A red carpet flowing around demarcated zones, open floor design, and more food stations than usual helped facilitate social distancing without compromising on engagement.
A red carpet flowing around demarcated zones, open floor design, and more food stations than usual helped facilitate social distancing without compromising on engagement.

A new and smart show floor experience

With this being the first business events trade show of 2022 for Australia, Kessler noted how “we, as an industry event, need to be the benchmark example demonstrating that meetings and events can be held safely and that all participants remain confident to attend gatherings of this kind".

NSW Health guidelines were adhered to, such as discouraging crowding and mixing, enforcing wearing of face masks, and on top of that, the Get Local team also ordered more than 2,000 Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) for use by exhibitors, visitors and staff at the show.

Covid-safe rules also turned up in subtle ways in event design.

Over at ICC Sydney, the show floor didn't feature the standard individual ‘booth’ displays. Instead, the area was split into themed geographical zones such as New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, New Zealand among others, with large balloons demarcating the zones and a red carpet that ran around the room through each of the sections.

This open floor design allowed plenty of space for participants to move about freely and be physically distanced. Lunch, done buffet style, also had more food stations than usual to reduce possible queue bottlenecks.

In a nod to sustainability, Get Local featured contactless registration, where attendees could scan their unique QR codes to print out their badges. The event also did away with usual handouts, brochures or physical giveaways.

Attendees scanning their unique QR codes to print out badges, as part of a contactless experience.
Attendees scanning their unique QR codes to print out badges, as part of a contactless experience.

These measures were well received by attendees, such as Lynne Clay, Secretary General of the Commonwealth Tenpin Bowling Federation.

“The check-in/registration process was seamless, including the mandatory RAT testing facilities, while the regional floor plan and prominent signage made locating target exhibitors simple and convenient. The two sessions I attended in the speakers’ line-up were excellent and very relevant to topics of prime interest to the events industry.”

Registered buyer Rebecca March, National Event Manager Australia & New Zealand of the global healthcare company Sanofi, described Get Local as “a fabulous show”.

“I thought [the Get Local team] navigated the Covid landscape extremely well — it was very clear and intuitive to know what to do and where to go. The speakers were great and the exhibitors were also very relevant for me and [it was] so nice to see the ones that are still with their respective products and also meet some new faces.”



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