Exhibiting in Brisbane

What you need to know

Exposure Group, Benjamin Feltham

Boasting the country’s fastest population growth rate at 1.7 percent year, according to analysts id, there’s no denying that Brisbane is the land of opportunity for organisations operating across a range of sectors. The vibrant, diverse city is home to many trade shows, including the Good Food & Wine Show, Queensland Gas Conference and countless others.

Both of these events take place at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre. As the recipient of 150 major industry awards and host to some 8.5 million visitors over the past 17 years, the versatile space is the venue of choice for many of the city’s major event organisers.

An inviting climate, combined with a culturally diverse population, makes Brisbane an attractive destination for anyone considering showcasing their products or services. Of course, having an engaging booth design is integral to your exhibiting success in the Queensland capital, but what else do you need to know before taking part in a Brisbane trade show?

1. The parking is terrible

While many major urban centres suffer from transportation infrastructure issues, few are as notorious or frustrating as the car park shortage in Brisbane’s central business district (CBD). In fact, car parks are so scarce that a whole black market has emerged to meet the ever-growing demand, as this tweet from Courier Mail Business Editor Louise Brannelly discusses:

The shady underworld of private car parks is ultimately illegal, so you should probably err on the side of caution and avoid them. However, it’s definitely worth keeping in mind that you may have to spend a while hunting out a secure place to store the car when travelling around the city, so remember to keep one eye on the clock and plan your schedule accordingly.

2. The weather is beautiful  

Having a good understanding of a region’s climate not only influences the clothes you pack in your suitcase, it can also help you identify the number of people you might expect to attend the event. It’s reasonable to assume, for example, that the general public will be less inclined to venture out to an expo if it’s pouring with rain. On the other hand, if the sun is shining, you may be able to attract more people to your exhibition booth and ultimately boost your brand’s visibility.

After the trade show, take advantage of Brisbane's warm weather with a leisurely river cruise.After the trade show, take advantage of Brisbane’s warm weather with a leisurely river cruise.  

With this in mind, you’ll be pleased to learn that Brisbane has one of the nicest weather patterns in all of Australia. A sub-tropical climate means that the city enjoys inviting conditions all year round, with the annual average afternoon temperature resting at a balmy 24 degrees, according to figures collated by the Bureau of Meteorology. It can get humid, though, so be sure to pack something with short sleeves to wear after the event.

3. Brisbane is a very popular port  

Nestled against the beautiful Moreton Bay and sheltered by North Stradbroke and Moreton Islands, you may not be surprised to find that Brisbane is an incredibly popular port for cruise ships. Why does this matter to you? Well, these tourists inject into huge amounts of money into the city’s economy and they may even be interested in your organisation’s products or services.

How can you engage cruise ship passengers during your Brisbane trade show?How can you engage cruise ship passengers during your Brisbane expo?  

In fact, between 2013 and 2014, cruise ship passengers spent a total of 350,752 days at the Brisbane port, according to research compiled by AECgroup on behalf of Cruise Down Under. During this time, they contributed almost $130 million to the city’s economy, making Brisbane one of the most shopped-at ports in the country, second only to Sydney.

If you’re attending an expo that’s open to the public and it happens to take place when a major cruise ship is in town, think about how you can target this lucrative audience. With some clever marketing, you might be able to lure the passengers out of the port and over to your custom exhibition stand, increasing your organisation’s exposure and giving your personnel the opportunity to engage with international prospects.

4. Understand the difference between a  seeQ pass and a go card  

Public transport in Brisbane in relatively pricey, but it’s an efficient system and you should be able to navigate your way around the city’s most common points of interest with little difficulty. Paying for paper transport tickets as you go is an option, but there are cheaper and more efficient ways to get around.

Brisbane's transport passes are an effective way to get around the city.Brisbane’s public transport passes are an effective way to get around the city.  

The seeQ card is an excellent choice if you’re going to be in Brisbane for a short period of time and plan on travelling extensively around the city. A three day pass costs around $79, while a five-day ticket will run you about $129. A seeQ card provides you with unlimited use of a variety of modes of transport on the TransLink network, including bus, tram, train and ferry services.

On the other hand, if you’re only in town for a day or so and your accommodation is within walking distance of the trade show, it might be economical to get a go card. This tap-on, tap-off pass allows you to easily travel on the TransLink network, with fares automatically deducted from the card as you go. Any credit on your go card that you don’t use within 60 days is refunded to your account, allowing you to be more efficient with your travel expenses.

5. There are lots of one-way roads  

Rather than lugging your portable display around with you on public transport, you might opt to take your own car (or hire one, if you’re coming from further afield). This is a great idea, but do take note that Brisbane’s CBD is home to a rather complex warren of one-way streets. While these roads help alleviate traffic to some extent, to the uninitiated it can feel like a bit of a maze.

Brisbane's network of one way streets helps with traffic congestion, but it can be daunting to the uninitiated. Brisbane’s network of one-way streets helps with traffic congestion but is daunting to the uninitiated.

If you’ve never driven in Brisbane before, be sure to have your smartphone and your favourite map app at the ready, or plot out the route to the trade show in advance. Running a successful exhibition is stressful enough as it is, without having to worry about getting lost in transit.

Increasing brand visibility in a new region or driving product and sales in a local market is no easy feat, but beautiful display booths can help you captivate consumers and drum up interest from other organisations operating within your industry.

In addition, having a good understanding of the area before you attend your trade show will allow you to more effectively engage with your target audience. Being aware of the climate, infrastructure quirks and other conditions unique to the city will make your Brisbane trade show experience that much more enjoyable.