Where to find competitive advantage and how to “grow out” of the COVID-19 environment were key points of discussion at this year’s 8020 Conference held at Emporium Hotel in Brisbane on October 8.

About 100 delegates heard views from industry experts across the hotel, legal and tourism fields, including Brisbane Airport Corporation’s Oliver Philpot who predicted international travel would not be back until 2023 or later and Brisbane Development Agency’s Juliette Alabaster who predicted no major domestic events would be held until 2022 – with international events to fall in 2023 or later.

Throughout the event it became clear there was an expectation COVID-19 would dominate the trading environment for the next 12 months at least – putting pressure on operators to ensure the health and safety of staff and customers alike and to adapt their businesses to capture the ‘staycation’ market where travellers were likely to focus more and more on the perception of receiving value for money on their travel.

Travel challenges and the requirements for social distancing are affecting the function and conference market too with hotel operators reporting an increase in the number of events being postponed. It became clear throughout the discussions that there was a determination for operators to retain their rates am much as possible during this time to ensure the industry did not go backwards on revenues in a post-COVID world.

Interpreting COVID-19 rules and regulations and communicating them succinctly to customers was another topic up for discussion with the fast-changing landscape requiring businesses to have a tight focus on their actions and their messaging to ensure they worked within the legal requirements at all times.

The event concluded with the QHA partnering with Nuvho to provide the opportunity to network with colleagues over drinks at the Terrace Bar. 

The one-day event will return in June 2021 www.8020hotelconference.com