Queenstown’s premium place to meet, Crowne Plaza Queenstown, has opened its doors earlier than anticipated and is rolling out the red carpet to welcome its first conference post COVID-19.
The iconic lakefront hotel was originally scheduled to re-open in July to welcome domestic travellers for the school holidays and ski season. Instead it opened yesterday (Wednesday June 17) to welcome a conference group from The Icehouse business growth and development company in Auckland.
Business leaders attending the conference from June 18 to 20 all operate businesses turning over $3million-plus, and after completing management programmes with The Icehouse are visiting Queenstown as part of an Owner Manager Exchange (OMX) program.
The Icehouse Customer Relationship Manager Raewyn Goodwin says there was “no better place than Queenstown” for business owners to take a helicopter view of their business and assess growth opportunities in the wake of COVID-19.
“They own and operate businesses that are the backbone of the New Zealand economy so we’re delighted to bring them to Queenstown and support the town,” she says.
Crowne Plaza Queenstown General Manager Stewart Manson says the hotel also made the best a tough situation, using its temporary closure as an opportunity to refresh its conference rooms and carry out a ‘soft touch’ update to its premium Lakeview Rooms. It has also introduced enhanced cleaning and operating protocols under its new IHG Clean Promise in guest rooms.
“Conference and events are key segments for the business mix of the hotel, and we’re delighted to have had the opportunity to open a little earlier than expected to welcome this group,” he says.
“Although recovery from COVID will certainly take a while, this is a positive indicator that there’s demand for meetings.
“A number of new and repeat customers have already confirmed events for later in the year. This is great not just for Crowne Plaza, but other hospitality and accommodation providers in the region.”
Queenstown Chamber of Commerce chair Craig Douglas welcomed the news.
“Queenstown’s home to a vibrant mix of innovative and resilient businesses, and while we recognise we’re on a long road to recovery, we’re happy to celebrate milestones like this.”
Tourism body Destination Queenstown, which last year generated approximately $47million-worth of leads for Queenstown through its own conference and incentive bureau activity, is also delighted with the news.
“Queenstown is a world-class destination for business events, and it’s fantastic to see the recovery begin in this sector,” says interim chief executive Ann Lockhart.
“Conferences, incentive programmes and other business events will play an important role in our district’s recovery.”
1/ Conference facilitator Professor Darl Kolb (L) and Crowne Plaza Queenstown GM Stewart Manson, today at Crowne Plaza Queenstown
2/ Crowne Plaza Queenstown is in the heart of Queenstown on the shores of Lake Wakatipu
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