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
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.
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
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
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.
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.”