SPOTLIGHT SERIES - Event Trends featuring COBA

14 November 2022

Smart. Strong. Sustainable.

The Customer Owned Banking Association returned to the Gold Coast after 2 years of postponements due to COVID. The 2022 conference attracted more than 760 delegates to a 3-day conference. This year’s theme was Smart. Strong. Sustainable. reflecting the sector’s history of innovation, depth of resilience, and commitment to the community. The conference addressed  topics such as digital transformation, how to think differently and how to maximise opportunities. 

"After two years of virtual conventions our members were keen to meet in person and discuss the challenges and opportunities ahead. You could feel the excitement in the air as conversations unfolded and insights were shared", said Stephanie Elliot, COBA Director Corporate Affairs.


Accounting for Taste

Delegates were welcomed to the conference with a feast for the senses in the Exhibition Halls. COBA 2022 partnered with the SWELL Festival to feature 6 sculptural works of art at the welcome reception and exhibition. Intermingled with the sculptures, guests were taken on a gastronomic tour of the world through a selection of street inspired buffets from Asia to Europe and the Americas.

Mark Wallage, Concept Event Management, who has managed the COBA conference since 2007, explained the motivation behind the SWELL sculptures, “In keeping with the COBA Conference tradition of reflecting the host city of the event, Concept Events explored options for the welcome reception. Following an introduction to the Swell Festival from John Harris of Dreamweavers, it was decided to incorporate 6 large sculptures into the welcome reception. Extensive lighting transformed the exhibition and showcased the Swell Festival for delegates, helping create a unique event.”

High rates of interest

The conference program offered plenary sessions, workshops, networking events, an exhibition and a gala dinner. Two of GCCEC’s expansive halls became home to the COBA exhibition, showcasing 64 suppliers, services and businesses.

Exhibitors took advantage of GCCEC’s exhibitor services, with a donut wall, lolly buffet, popcorn stand and branded coffee carts to entice delegates. The exhibition area also featured a presentation hub and multiple catering stations.


Across the three-day conference, attendees experienced a wide range of meals from stand-up buffets to sit-down breakfasts, as well as offsite events across the Gold Coast.

Arguably, one of the event highlights was the closing masquerade ball. Guests were treated to a stunning room reveal in GCCEC’s arena, followed by a three-course meal and all-night entertainment. The menu: a taste plate selection, alternate drop mains and a dessert box full of sweet delights.

COBA will return to GCCEC for its conference in 2023.



Let's make it easy. What are you planning?

Event Spaces  Event toolkit

Go to top