Real escape: The real estate industry gathers on the Gold Coast
Now in its 24th year, the Australasian Real Estate Conference (AREC) drew 4,000 delegates from around Australia and New Zealand to the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre (GCCEC) for a two-day conference highlighting the best in residential sales and property management.
This year’s star-studded guest line-up included 33 speakers from across Australia and the globe, including Hollywood icon Matthew McConaughey, world-renowned entrepreneur Seth Godin, and highly acclaimed motivation speaker Mel Robbins.
The energy in the building was electric, as delegates converged on the event that spanned GCCEC’s four exhibition halls and three central rooms, with plenary sessions in the venue’s two-tiered arena, and a Platinum Lounge for VIPs.
Nichola Byrne, the General Manager of Total Real Estate Training (TRET) and the organiser of AREC, says the event provides delegates with a truly unique experience.
“The purpose of AREC is to bring together the industry, to unite them and ultimately to educate them and give them access to speakers and resources they can’t get anywhere else,” she says.
“The real estate industry tends to be full of sole traders, and they all consider each other competition. But when these 4,000 delegates come to the Gold Coast for AREC, they all get together under one roof and share the secrets to their success. The networking opportunities and the connections that are made are unlike any other event.”
Location, location, location
If there’s one thing the real estate industry understands, it’s the value of a great location – so it’s quite telling that AREC has made GCCEC its home for the last 10 years.
Located in close proximity to two airports and surrounded by world-class accommodation and dining, as well as stunning beaches, popular theme parks, must-see wildlife attractions and unparalleled nightlife, Nichola says the trip to the Gold Coast for AREC is a highlight of every delegate’s calendar.
“It’s a no-brainer for us to bring AREC back to the Centre each year,” she says. “It’s the perfect location and the perfect destination for our delegates, and the local hospitality is without peer.”
Tom Panos, a highly respected real estate industry speaker and coach who serves as AREC’s Master of Ceremonies, says anticipation was particularly high for this year’s event.
“People were pumped,” he says. “There’s a sense that, ‘Hey, we’re back to normal’ – there’s no masks, and people can be next to each other again. And we know that every time we come to the Gold Coast, our delegates love the combination of the perfect weather and the proximity of the venue to hotels and entertainment. It’s the perfect place to get away and learn something at the same time.”
For delegate Ian Campbell, the CEO of AiRE Software, this year’s event represented a much-needed return to normalcy.
“People want to get together again, and it’s nice to be face-to-face here on the Gold Coast,” he says. “It’s been great to be able to connect and reach out to people, while educating the market about our new tools and solutions. We’re really excited about the conversations that have come out of this event – it’s been exactly what we needed.”
Stephen Thompson, Queensland State Manager of CoreLogic, agrees that there was something special about this year’s event.
“It’s been really energising, from the moment we bumped in and set up to the chances we’ve had to connect with customers and partners and colleagues from around the industry,” he says. “It’s been really exciting, and we’ve had great conversations, which ultimately results in great leads.
Whereas an event like AREC may have to share space with other conferences at some Convention Centres, event organisers enjoy a total venue takeover at GCCEC.
“The boutique size of our venue is perfect for this event,” says GCCEC Event Manager Belinda Crofts. “They’re able to take over the venue completely and have exclusive use of it. That means they’re able to use every inch of our space for the purpose of their event – they can have their branding and banners inside and outside the venue, and they can use our foyers, breakout spaces and green rooms.”
The venue takeover creates an immersive experience for the delegate – from the moment they enter through porte cochère and register their attendance, to the moment they leave the venue and walk to their accommodation at the end of the day, they are absorbed in the AREC experience.
“To be able to take over the whole venue is extremely important to us,” Nichola says. “It gives us the flexibility to use all of their spaces, from the arena and the exhibition halls to the smaller spaces that allow delegates to have breakout meetings. We also get a lot of media coverage for this event, so it’s important to have private spaces for them, too. That’s so useful for an event like this.”
With keynote speakers Matthew McConaughey and Seth Godin addressing the audience remotely, and with the event being live-streamed to industry participants who were unable to attend in person, it was important for GCCEC’s AV and IT teams to work closely with AREC to ensure every aspect of the production went off without a hitch.
“We coordinate with the client to ensure that their vision is captured correctly,” says GCCEC Executive Manager of Technology Tony Luff. “Our focus is always on producing the best event possible for every client.
“Our IT team is always on site during events, monitoring our infrastructure and working with our AV team to deliver streamed and hybrid events. We use broadcast-quality cameras to ensure the image for live-streamed events is crystal clear, and we operate with redundant unbroken fibre internet to Broadbeach and also up to Brisbane, which gives us huge bandwidth and stability of service.
“This allows our technicians and clients to focus on delivering the event, instead of having to focus on their network connection.”
Nichola says the Centre’s AV and IT teams were key to the success of this year’s event.
“With this technology in place and these wonderful AV and IT teams behind us,” she says, “we can get access to speakers we would otherwise be unable to secure, which helps us to promote the event and to share valuable insights and learnings with our delegates.”
The Gold standard
Delegates also enjoyed a range of meals to suit all tastes across the two days of the event, prepared by GCCEC’s exceptional Executive Chef Garry Kindred and his team in the kitchen.
The kitchen prepped multiple meals for each area of the event – as well as the delegates in the exhibition space, they catered to VIPs in the Platinum Lounge, speakers in the green rooms, and the AREC volunteers who contributed their time to the event.
Ultimately, delegates enjoyed a GCCEC experience that exemplified why the venue has a repeat client rate of well over 50 percent – a testament to GCCEC’s track record of service delivery and client satisfaction.
“I always love working with GCCEC, but this year’s event has completely blown away our expectations,” Nichola says. “I’ve loved hearing the feedback from the delegates, and the atmosphere throughout the whole venue has been so positive.
“The team at GCCEC are just so easy to work with. They think of everything before we ever need to think about it. They anticipate our needs and they cover everything off for us, which just makes it such a pleasant experience for us.
“They make everything effortless for us. It’s no wonder we come here every year – and we can’t wait to come back in 2023.”