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Diversification drives Ellerslie Event Centres Record profit

Ellerslie Event Centre (EEC) has produced another record-breaking end of year financial result, achieving revenue of over $11 million for the first time in its history.

The year’s result to 31st July 2018, bucks the trend of a slight slowing nationally in the convention sector, according to results released by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. Nationally, the number of business events decreased by six percent, and meetings and seminar events activity was down by three percent.

The EEC continued to do well in an increasingly-competitive industry with revenue at $11.34 million and net contribution of $2.08 million.

Its successful financial performance saw 936 non-raceday events hosted. Of that total, 510 events were classified as meetings, 19 as conferences, 27 as Christmas parties, 32 as weddings, 23 as school balls and 13 as graduations.

The EEC also played host to major one-off events including the Deep Hard N’ Funky Dance Party, Hyundai Spring Car Sale and the New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing Awards Dinner.

However, diversification is being hailed as one of the critical factors underpinning the EEC’s success in a year where it opened its gates to campervans for overnight parking, the Urban Polo in February and the Zirka and Weber Bros Circuses.

This coming year, a number of non-traditional events are once again planned for the EEC and include the Auckland Harley Davidson Wood for the Trees charity raceday headlined by Tiki Taane, and the Electric Gardens Festival which will see Fat Boy Slim performing on-site in early February.

New revenue streams like the Pop-up Globe and campervan parking have also contributed significantly to the 2017/18 result.

The Pop-up Globe has been on site for two seasons and for the first time this past year, both the food and beverage offerings were provided by the EEC and, along with office rental and rehearsal space, resulted in a 73 percent increase on net income on the previous year. The Pop-up Globe attracts 100,000 theatre goers each season and has been extended for its third consecutive season at the EEC.

Also contributing to the success was a recent refurbishment of rooms and the seasonal installation of a premium 240 square metre marquee with carpet, silk lining and chandeliers – something which proved to be a brilliant and cost-effective venue option for weddings.

Over the course of the year, the EEC introduced 1,500 chairs to its facility, all of which were covered in REPREVE® fabric – a polyester made from old plastic bottles.

Paul Wilcox, Chief Executive Officer of Ellerslie Event Centre and Auckland Racing Club, says the results are an acknowledgement of hard work by his team: “We have shown ourselves to be a very flexible venue with the imagination and can do attitude that takes maximum advantage of our extensive indoor and outdoor spaces. We work hard to try and accommodate every possible business opportunity that comes along.”

Customer satisfaction has also been positive: “Our client satisfaction results and the high rate of repeat event clients is testament to the great job being done by our professional account managers, marketing and experienced operational team,” he says.

Customer feedback over the course of the year was collated by Customer Monitor. The EEC’s Net Promoter Score, (which reflects clients’ feedback on their experience with the Event Centre), was 51 - an increase of 10 points from the year prior and 23 points ahead of the industry benchmark of 28.

Craig Fenwick, EEC’s Executive General Manager of Events and Hospitality says forward bookings are also looking strong for the EEC: “As we look to next year we are seeing pleasing results with some months looking particularly strong. Of focus to us will be continuing to increase our levels of presentation, with continued improvement across food, beverage staff, grounds, rooms and signage.”

“In addition, a variety of new hospitality precincts will be launched on our racedays including what are now sold-out precincts – The Enclosure and Marquee Village on Barrett – on OMF Melbourne Cup Day; The Turf on Champagne on New Year’s Day; with further offerings planned for both the New Zealand Bloodstock Karaka Million in January and Auckland Cup Week in March,” says Fenwick.

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