ISES Sydney kicked off the year with a look behind the scenes of the recent Big O events.
Chapter president Jeremy Garling directed the questions to Emma Sturgiss from Tourism Australia and Victoria Doidge, Marketing Manager for the Sydney Opera House.
Every one involved in the event had been tied to confidentiality agreements but here are some of the insights we did get.
A number of unsuccessful pitches had been made by Tourism Australia in the recent past. Then in April 2010 TA pitched directly to a contact within Harpo Productions and “Project Chicago” kicked in in June.
The Sydney “Oprah” House was one of the key hooks to the pitch.
TA had an internal management team of six core staff working on the event – this grew to 60 staff by the time the event was underway.
Harpo Productions brought out around 200 crew and another 200 – 300 local crew worked on the event.
Harpo had two separate divisions – the TV production and the Audience Experience.
There was no wet wether option for the big telecast from the SOH – umbrellas were ruled out and ponchos were on standby.
TA are now marketing what the audience experienced as incentive events.
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Built in the 1830s as a private residence Dunbar House has been through various uses including that of local Council Chambers and a function venue.
The Tea Room Group took over management of Dunbar House last year and spent nine months refurbishing the venue. This event was a relaunch of the venue to the industry.
The house has a fresh feel with the décor reflecting the eclectic tastes of the Tea Rooms owner. The entry foyer features contemporary chandeliers and some very old mirrors while most rooms feature marble fireplaces (rescued from other buildings).
While the downstairs rooms are set-up for meetings and are quite corporate the main function room has décor aimed squarely at the wedding market – the glass chandeliers perfect for that setting – but this does not detract from it’s attraction to the event market.