Exhibition Showcase Talks To Martin Radcliffe General Manager, Adelaide Convention Centre

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ES. You have had a wide range of leading roles in this industry for more than two decades, what was your motivation? How are you settling in to your new job

Martin Radcliffe. “I am very passionate about destination marketing (in this case, Adelaide, South Australia), and likewise the events and hospitality industries. This job allows me the ability to work across all three, which I love. I am settling in very well. As part of the wider Adelaide Venue Management portfolio (also incorporating Adelaide Entertainment Centre, Coopers Stadium, and an off-site catering business) Adelaide Convention Centre has long been a very well-run and innovative venue, testament to the great team we have here. My focus now is continuing the strong initiatives and practices we have in place, whilst maximising further opportunities to excel and grow.”

ES. What made you to fall in love with this industry? Please share with us about your early life and career.

Martin Radcliffe. ‘My first insight into this industry was with the Hilton group in the UK. Here I was responsible for sales at the Hilton Brighton Metropole, then one of the UK’s leading convention hotels. I really enjoyed how this hotel was so central to the wider destination, and how I could play a part in supporting a client to achieve their ambitions for each event. It was really rewarding to see the end result for the client, hotel and city.”

ES. Adelaide Convention Centre is located in one of the most-visited cities in the world primarily driven by tourism, major events, and convention traffic, please share your key responsibilities for hosting a safe and successful events and providing seamless experience to the attendees.

Martin Radcliffe. “Adelaide is extremely accessible. Just 15 minutes from the airport and central to a highly walkable city, with major tourist attractions within touching distance and world famous wineries just a short drive away. Combined with Adelaide’s very low crime rate, this makes for an easy, enjoyable and safe delegate experience. Our event managers work very closely with each client on event design – across the key areas of technology, sustainability, food & beverage, logistics, and marketing – to ensure that not only does the event meet with expectations of the client and delegates, but also that it is designed to facilitate the strongest possible attendance.”

ES. Tell us about the other features and facilities that sets Adelaide Convention Centre apart from other venues.

Martin Radcliffe. “I’d like to highlight four areas in this regard – sustainability; industry & innovation partnerships; technology advancements; and food philosophy. Adelaide Convention Centre is one of the few venues in the world that has achieved EarthCheck Platinum status. This is a leading – and vigorous – sustainability certification, which reflects our ongoing commitment and activities across key areas such as water conservation, energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, and minimising waste to landfill. We are extremely well-positioned to support our clients in delivering sustainable and Carbon neutral events. Adelaide Convention Centre sits proudly in the centre of Adelaide’s ‘Innovation Corridor’. A world leading BioMed precinct is on one side, and to the other side – two world-class Universities. Adjacent to our universities is Lot Fourteen, a curated business, innovation and knowledge precinct, with occupants including Amazon, Google Cloud and the Australian Space Agency.

Also, recently we have a direct rail connection to the Tonsley Innovation District, home to 1,700+ innovators, 35 businesses, and some 8,000 students. We have working partnerships across all areas to attract and host relevant conventions and events. As we look to the future, ours is a venue that places great importance on advancing technology in supporting the visions of our clients. Our new technology production suite has been designed to streamline the planning process, providing clients with a real-time walk-through of their desired event – layout, AV, theming etc. Our customised virtual site inspections allow clients to understand the venue from a remote vantage point, which is particularly useful as they discuss the events with peers and stakeholders located interstate and overseas. Finally, we have our food philosophy ‘Honest Goodness’. This was designed during a period when health and wellbeing is at the forefront of people’s minds. Our menus make nature the hero, placing a strong emphasis on minimal intervention foods and the conscious reduction of processed elements. 97% of featured produce is sourced from local, sustainable environments, ensuring guests experience the best of South Australia.”

ES. The pandemic is a big reminder that, despite the best-laid plans, there is much beyond our control. How Adelaide Convention Centre armed itself to increase adaptability in the New normal?

Martin Radcliffe. “Clearly, over the last 2-3 years people’s lives have changed beyond recognition. For our clients, the need for communication has increased and requirements have evolved. This calls for a flexible and accommodating approach from the Adelaide Convention Centre. Our objective is to work in close partnership with our clients and convenors. With their ‘vision’ at the very centre of all activity linked to confirming, planning, and delivery of a successful event. We apply flexible terms, including ensuring we align with a planning milestones with the key details and confirmations we all need to work toward a successful event. Whilst we have working procedures, at the end of the day we are in the business of making things happen for our clients … whether the request is large or small.”

ES. Name some major events hosted recently by ACC?

Martin Radcliffe. As with other successful centres, there are many!

A few specific examples from recent years of major events that relate to our state’s primary areas of speciality include:

  • Australian Wine Industry Technical Conference & Exhibition  – a logical alignment given South Australia is responsible for such a high proportion of Australia’s wine production and exports
  • OzWater  – aligned with South Australia’s pioneering practices in water management
  • International Hydrogen Conference – showcasing South Australia’s leading proactive stance on renewable energy sources
  • International Astronautical Conference – South Australia is a world leader in this regard, with Adelaide home to the Australian Space Agency

ES. What does your typical workday look like?

Martin Radcliffe. “Each day is very different! However, typically I will spend the early morning getting round to see the different departments across the centre, and checking in on events in-house. Then it is into meetings both at the centre and off-site. In the late afternoon and early evening I often participate in industry events, or use the time for planning and admin.”

ES. On a personal note, we are curious to know what keeps you busy when you are away from work? Please tell us about your hobbies and other activities that you would love to do at home.

Martin Radcliffe. “ I love sport, in particular soccer, and much of my spare time is spent coaching women’s soccer at one of Adelaide’s leading professional clubs. I also play soccer for an amateur club. Outside of my working day, and in a voluntary capacity, I am Chairman of Adelaide Hills Tourism, representing one of Australia’s most appealing and diverse wine regions. This aligns with my other passion – great food and wine!”

ES. What would you say to the industry if you had one message and one piece of advice to give?

Martin Radcliffe. “We are in the business of adding magic to events, so creativity and innovation should be central to all we do.”