National Convention Centre Canberra (NCCC) – Canberra, Australia

April 30, 2024

National Convention Centre Canberra (NCCC)

A lasting Impact on Canberra’s Events Scene


A top tier venue worthy of the international scope of its event offerings

Nestled in the heart of Australia’s capital, amidst the political hustle and bustle and the strategic echelons of defense, stands the National Convention Centre Canberra (NCCC). Boasting an impressive array of credentials, the NCCC proudly holds the title of the capital’s largest, purpose-built conference, meeting, and events venue, offering 15 flexible spaces over two floors.

Since its inception in 1989, the convention center has been a cornerstone of Canberra’s event landscape and a leader in shaping the country’s business events scene. In a conversation with Stephen Wood, the General Manager of NCCC, we delved into its historical archives and its journey through the pandemic’s challenging times. Managed by the Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) on behalf of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) government, NCCC is a successful public-private collaboration.

Stephen Wood, General Manager

Navigating the pandemic’s impact

Reflecting on the challenges posed by the pandemic, Wood elucidates how the industry weathered the storm and emerged resilient. “The pandemic raised questions about the value of in-person events, but we witnessed a swift rebound,” he remarks. Despite the adversities, NCCC swiftly reinstated itself to pre-pandemic levels by 2022, attributing its success to a strong team and strategic adaptability.

“Over the past two years, our focus has been on revitalizing the team and meeting the escalating demand,” Wood explains.

Highlighted by its strategic location at the epicenter of political and defense activities, the National Convention Centre Canberra (NCCC) holds a unique advantage, serving as the Convention Centre for the nation’s capital. With federal government and defense sector headquarters in proximity, NCCC emerges as a pivotal hub for decision-making and industry influence, solidifying its role as a focal point in Canberra’s landscape.

Infrastructure and capacity

NCCC prides itself on its boutique stature, offering client ownership and a collaborative environment. “Most of our events get the opportunity to take over the whole venue, fostering a dynamic of peer collaboration,” Wood explains. This personalized approach is not just a service but a commitment to cater to each client’s unique needs, making them feel valued and important.

In terms of capacity, NCCC has a versatile setup catering to diverse events. “For a full conference, we approach about 2000 attendees, with the auditorium accommodating up to 2,500 for concerts and live performances,” Wood elaborates.

Venue rooms and spaces

NCCC exemplifies versatility and adaptability, offering a comprehensive selection of 15 individual meeting rooms meticulously crafted to suit various conference programs and meeting room layouts. The grandiose Royal Theatre, spacious Exhibition Hall, and elegant Ballroom are the cornerstones of our offerings. Complementing these larger areas are a selection of breakout rooms, workshop rooms, and tiered theaters.

Moreover, NCCC has pioneered the extension of event lifecycles, transcending session boundaries to foster sustained engagement. Wood emphasizes how technology facilitates ongoing conversations beyond the confines of physical spaces, catalyzing knowledge exchange and networking opportunities. This paradigm shift not only enhances attendee experiences but also amplifies the impact of events on a global scale.

Looking towards the future, NCCC has outlined a strategic vision focused on maximizing value for its key stakeholders while upholding principles of corporate social responsibility. This vision aligns closely with the IHG’s ‘Journey to Tomorrow’ initiative, which prioritizes governance, equity, diversity, and sustainability.

By adhering to these guiding principles, NCCC seeks to enhance its operations and reaffirm its commitment as a public asset to the ACT community. Through collaborations with esteemed institutions such as the Australian National University (ANU), NCCC actively contributes to Canberra’s global positioning and fosters intellectual discourse, further solidifying its role as an entity within the city’s cultural and academic landscape.

Fusing technology and interactive experiences

As the digital era redefines the landscape of event management, the National Convention Centre Canberra (NCCC) remains at the forefront of technological innovation, shaping the future of interactive engagements.

Wood notes the importance of fast and secure internet connectivity, a quintessential requirement for modern-day events. “We’ve recently fully upgraded our whole Wi-Fi infrastructure with the latest Meraki solutions,” he reveals. Partnering with Encore, Australia’s leading AV and event technology provider, NCCC ensures access to world-class technology, setting the stage for unparalleled event experiences.

The evolution of interactivity stands as a testament to NCCC’s embrace of technological advancements. Wood delineates the transformative journey from traditional Q&A sessions to dynamic, two-way interactions facilitated by mobile platforms. “Gone are the days of handheld mics and one-way information flows,” he remarks. With the advent of mobile phones and interactive platforms, representatives now enjoy instant feedback mechanisms, enriching the event experience manifold.

Innovations in presentation technology further augment NCCC’s repertoire, eschewing traditional PowerPoint presentations for immersive multimedia experiences. “We’re no longer captive to death by PowerPoint,” he quips, highlighting the newfound freedom afforded by evolving technological capabilities.

NCCC’s collaboration with Encore has been instrumental in pushing the boundaries of technological innovation within the events industry. The partnership has resulted in groundbreaking showcases, including implementing cutting-edge technologies such as project mapping and holographic displays. The advancements have transformed ordinary event settings into immersive and captivating experiences, exemplifying the seamless integration of creativity and technology to elevate event engagements.


Behind the scenes, the dedicated team

Delving into the operational intricacies reveals the bustling activity at NCCC, where approximately 120 to 140 major events are hosted annually. This substantial volume of business positions NCCC as a hub for intellectual exchange and collaboration, enriching Canberra’s cultural landscape while bolstering its reputation as a vibrant events destination.

Wood points to  MilCIS 2024 which is a key event in the calendar each year for the military and for Canberra. This event draws delegates from all senior areas of the military as well as a significant delegation from overseas. Over the course of three days 4000 attendees participate from Australia, New Zealand, USA, UK and Canada. The event boasts over 120 trade booths and represents a  great place to do Defence business and establish research and capability partnering with the Australian Government and Defence.

Within the corridors of NCCC, Wood provides insights into the intricate mosaic that comprises its workforce—a dedicated team of full-time and casual employees. With a core of nearly 40 full-time staff complemented by an extensive pool of casual workers, NCCC orchestrates a symphony of talent to cater to the diverse needs of its clientele.

The collaborative effort becomes particularly pronounced during high-profile events such as the upcoming Ronald McDonald House gala ball, where over 100 staff members will converge to ensure a seamless experience for the anticipated 1000 esteemed guests, highlighting the depth of commitment and coordination within the NCCC team.

Elevating Canberra’s event landscape

Navigating the dynamic landscape of event cycles, NCCC demonstrates a remarkable ability to adapt its staffing model to synchronize with fluctuating demand patterns. Wood elucidates how seasonal variations and public holidays influence operational dynamics, a nationwide sentiment echoed by convention centers. The fluctuating nature of event activity highlights NCCC’s agility and adaptability.

Beyond the glitz and glamor of events lies a greater purpose—a commitment to catalyzing meaningful dialogue, fostering innovation, and driving positive change on a global scale. Wood underscores NCCC’s role in addressing complex societal challenges, from sustainability to equity, positioning it as a beacon of thought leadership and collaboration. Wood’s insights illuminate NCCC’s dedication to driving impactful change, making it a cornerstone of thought leadership and collaboration within the events industry.

Looking towards the horizon, Wood paints a compelling vision for NCCC’s future, defined by record-breaking success, unwavering demand, and transformative growth. As Canberra ascends to greater heights on the global stage, NCCC stands poised to spearhead this journey, amplifying its impact on the world stage.

Collaborating with the ACT government and industry stakeholders, NCCC charts a course toward a future characterized by inclusivity, sustainability, and unparalleled excellence. Wood articulates this vision, stating, “One of our key stakeholders without question is the ACT community more broadly, so it’s how we can maximize the benefit that the Convention Centre is a key public asset, delivering to the ACT government its objectives and then the community.”

He further emphasizes the role of NCCC in positioning Canberra as a global city, affirming, “A key objective of the ACT government is the positioning of Canberra as a global city, and a Convention Center can play such an important role in the position and branding of a city on a global stage through attracting global thought leaders to the city to share and interact with the global for leaders that are based here, which is a great strength for Canberra.”


National Convention Centre Canberra (NCCC)

What:  The National Convention Centre Canberra (NCCC) event landscape amidst the challenges of the pandemic, its unique setup and strategic location, and its innovative embrace of technology.

Where: Located in the heart of Canberra, Australia’s capital city.



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