Lonely Planet Reporter hosts
Harvey World Travel conference

Have you ever wondered how you can turn your corporate conference from a boring talkfest to an engaging forum with all the excitement of a live television talk show? We figured it out for the Harvey World Travel Conference at the Gold Coast Convention Centre.

First of all your conference set needs to look live a television studio. Screens for sophisticated multimedia are a must, as are a news desk, a replica of Oprah's lounge and 'applause' signs.

The floor manager should have a gift for filling the front rows of your plenary first. A comedian works well. By the time your delegates are seated they are beaming, despite 'knowing' before they left home that the whole conference would be a total waste of time.

The opening act should dispel the myth that all conferences are boring with a capital 'B'!. Lights, camera, action! A modern percussion ensemble wakes the delegates and graceful aerial artists swing from the ceiling on bands of silk - it's a sensational feast of sound, colour and movement, guaranteed to stimulate the brain cells.

The compere should also have an engaging stage presence. If you can't fit Rove McManus into your budget we can suggest other hosts are just as good. We used Jonathan Atherton, multi-lingual comedian and ex Lonely Planet reporter. He worked with the Harvey World speakers to deliver their corporate messages (with humour where appropriate), introduced the 'acts' to stage and hosted the talkback sessions. Behind the scenes Jonathan doubled as roving reporter - producing topical commentary, regular news updates, and hilarious filmed footage of the daily (and nightly) highlights.

No conference is complete without a gala dinner and awards ceremony. Our tireless compere was once again the front-man for a memorable evening of entertainment featuring David Campbell and Robert Clark's 15 piece orchestra.