Day 1 of the AHG 2019 started for many with the TGS, MAX and eBet breakfast and feedback was very positive with several managers describing Lonely Planets’ Gus Balbontin as inspiring. Gus built his business on significant disruption to a traditional business arena and is an expert on adjusting strategies to changing business environments and illustrating them with fascinating stories.

In the gaming arena new product from all manufacturers were on display. IGT featured a new style Bubble Blast Link with two game titles, Treasures of Atlantis and Genie Uncorked. Aristocrat led with a new machine, the Helix X,  with fresh Lightning Link games that included $1 and $2 options, ‘Mine Mine Mine’, ‘Raging Bull’, ‘Fire Idol’ and ‘Dragon Riches’. Konami added new games to their successful All Aboard Link and added a portrait style machine, the Concerto Stack, to their product range with some exclusive content games as well as a reformatted All Aboard games to suit the new machine.  AGT launched two new links, Crazy Jackpots and Mad Millions, along with some fresh high denom (MD) games Kanga Cash and Kanga Cash Extra. Scientific Games launched their new, very impressive Dualos X with 27” screens with some exclusive game content such as Monopoly Hotel Tycoon. Aruze’s new machine is also impressive with the cabinet design showing off the ultra slim line machine style.

The ever popular Tastes precinct was more open this year giving attendees better opportunity to see and test the products. The suppliers brought a great mix of artisan food, fast service style food and a great range of kitchen and catering supplies and equipment. There were fresh and emerging drink trends, including a good range of non-alcoholic options, and traditional beer and wine options.

On the tech front there were some interesting new concepts including VR software with the ability to train your front line staff in RSA procedures using gamification, and a range of paging (for gaming and hospitality) from well-known companies such as BTG.  A good range of kiosks, and cash handling equipment to suit all budgets were available. Next Payments new Concilio reconciliation software brings all your floor and safe cash onto one convenient screen.

Rounding out the suppliers were architects and designers, and gaming and club furniture companies with the on-trend colours, and lots of new designs to fill any club undergoing renovations.

Despite the sore feet, aching backs and lots and lots of attendees (the exhibition hall was packed!) everyone stayed at the end of Day 1 for the Treasury Wine Estates AHG cocktail party to catch up with colleagues and suppliers. That evening many of the manufacturers had their own cocktail parties to greet customers from all across Australia. With a large contingent of Queenslanders, over 600 from NSW and club managers from other states, the day was a huge success.

On Day 2, at this years’ Club Plus Super AHG Breakfast Maxwell Luthy, the Director of Trends & Insights at TrendWatching explained why he believes that clubs will be important in keeping communities connected in the digital era. Rather than just identifying trends and trying to  “pick a winner”, Luthy believes that finding the basis of trend helps to provide increased understanding of the behaviours that triggers trends and leaves you better able to adapt a meaningful solution for the customer of tomorrow.