Case study: A virtual taste of Canberra for domestic meeting planners
Posted 9 April 2021 11:58am

What is Reconnect Canberra? 

Throughout 2020, COVID-19 travel restrictions and border uncertainty prevented Canberra Convention Bureau from hosting meeting and event planners on educational famils and site visits.  

As a city best experienced in person, the team at CCB needed to find an innovative way to immerse clients in the very best of nation’s capital, inform guests on the latest COVID-safe measures, and raise awareness and understanding of Canberra’s premium accommodation and function spaces. All of that via yet another virtual event! 

With support from Business Events Australia, Canberra Convention Bureau delivered in early March Reconnect Canberra, a one-hour immersive and interactive famil to 30 meetings planners and trade media, taking them on a journey through Canberra’s world-class experiences and showcasing its endless possibilities for business events. 

Why Reconnect Canberra? 

Delivering Reconnect Canberra was imperative to support our local members and industry, who were significantly affected by the pandemic, and to ensure that Canberra remained top-of-mind in an increasingly competitive domestic market.  

The aim of Reconnect Canberra was to influence domestic decision makers and assist in the conversion of new domestic business events through multiple touchpoints: first virtually to raise awareness of the destination, and second in-person to position Canberra in meeting planners’ consideration set and drive conversion of new events for Canberra.  

This virtual famil offered a new distribution model to communicate Canberra’s main attributes of knowledge, culture and influence to our clients, in a format adapted to the reality of COVID-19.  

With zero community transmitted cases for most of 2020 and all of 2021, Reconnect Canberra aimed to provide an initial taste of Canberra, and was followed by a personalised invitation to all participants to visit the capital in person through tailored famils. 

An immersive experience 

What set Reconnect Canberra apart from the multitude of virtual events our industry became accustomed to was an interactive and immersive component. Just days before the famil, each participant received a bespoke experience kit containing local cured meats and pickled vegetables, Canberra Region wine, and a custom-made timber board, building anticipation among participants and generating pre-event content on social media.  

The contents of the experience kit were used for two live-streamed sessions during Reconnect Canberra: 

  • a masterclass delivered by Pialligo Estate Executive Chef Mark Glenn, teaching Reconnect Canberra delegates the art of presenting and serving a charcuterie platter. 
  • an exclusive wine tasting with Karen Shaw from award-winning Shaw Wines, complete with tasting notes and food pairing recommendations. 

The virtual component also included an overview of Canberra’s National Convention Centre Canberra, premier accommodation and meeting venues, national institutions, indigenous experiences, and a live Q&A with Canberra operators. 

View all the highlights below: 


What did our clients think? 

With a 100% attendance and satisfaction rate for the virtual famil, feedback from Reconnect Canberra participant was resoundingly positive: 

“Reconnect Canberra provided a full showcase of the capabilities of the destination including insights into the new hotels and off-site venues which was fantastic to see. A destination full of growth and surprises, with an emphasis on fresh produce and linking it in with a group team building experience was well thought out. Well done!”
- Nadia Kentera, KE Creative Events 

“It was a great initiative and was certainly memorable. You can never beat face to face events and the overall experience, but it was a great way to connect and provide an update.”
- Nicole Walker, Arinex 

“Innovative and inspired concept. Was sceptical how you could pull off a virtual famil but you proved me wrong! A very enjoyable experience, which has made me eager to visit Canberra.”
- Sophie Hind, DC Conference & Association Management 

“Reconnect Canberra was a fun, interactive experience that provided a good overview of what's new in Canberra for business events. Virtual events have been done to death, but by keeping it succinct and adding engaging masterclasses, the team at Canberra Convention Bureau pulled off an event that was both educational and memorable.”
- Brittney Levinson, Spice Magazine 

“Well done to the organisers. This was a brilliant idea and well executed. I do feel like I got to experience Canberra from afar and look forward to doing so in person.”
- Jessica Stratton, Royal Australian & New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) 

“Very interesting and well done. Good interchange between live and pre-record and a really good showcase of how to show off a destination if you can't travel there. You literally built an appetite for Canberra.”
- Emma Bowyer Managing Director ICMS Australasia 

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