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BROUGHT TO YOU BY

HEROES

THE POWER WITHIN SPECIAL FOCUS EDITION: COVID-19 CASE STUDIES

How our MICE industry leaders are working to adapt and overcome


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LOCKDOWN HEROES | MEETINGS 2020

CONTENTS VENUE 4 On the frontline The CTICC supports the Western Cape in the

fight against Covid-19.

6 Give an experience as a gift

It’s full steam ahead for ATKV Resorts and its innovative approach.

8 All about well-being

Minor Hotels’ properties in Africa provide travellers with a renewed focus on their physical and mental well-being.

9 Africa’s smartest convention centre The Durban ICC is providing an offering that positions it as one of Africa’s top convention centres. 10 Adaptability during times of crisis

As a venue on the frontline, the JEC has once again demonstrated its versatility.

11 The industry benchmark

Established in 1993, Gallagher Convention Centre has been a benchmark to the events industry ever since.

13 Venue with a view

Its exclusivity, luxury and cleanliness make The Northcliff naturally well suited for these trying times.

14 When opportunity meets preparation

After seeing a major slowing of its activity, Sun International is determined to get back to previous levels.

16 Peace of mind

Tau Game Lodge is preparing for the moment when domestic travel will be possible again.

18 A meeting place of like minds

If you are in need of a stunning period-inspired conference room, look no further than Gorgeous George’s White Room conference facility.

TEMPORARY STRUCTURES 12 All in Following the sudden shift from business as usual,

Downings is pulling out all the stops, using as many resources as it can to make a meaningful contribution in the fight against Covid-19.

ASSOCIATIONS 20 United in times of crisis The AIPC urges venues to rethink

their value proposals for event organisers following the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

21 In it together

Mike Mira of EXSA on where we are and how the industry’s recovery will require a unified effort.

22 A glimmer of hope

EGF chairperson Greg McManus candidly shares his opinion on the Covid-19 pandemic and its effects.

24 Time to upskill

AAXO’s Projeni Pather underscores the importance of training for future-proofing your business.

26 Going pro

SAACI on learning to surf the tsunami brought on by the pandemic and welcoming the unknown.

TRAVEL CLUB 25 Our message to you Members of the Travelbags committee share insights on how to weather the current Covid-19 storm.

NETWORK SUPPORT 28 Never waste a good crisis! Gerry Skerritt from Dream Team Catalyst looks at strategies for the current times.

INDUSTRY NETWORK 30 A shock to the system After coming to a near halt, Lisa Roos

from LIMO Networking talks about where the recovery might be for businesses that have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

CONNECT WITH US www.theplanner.guru The Planner @theplannerguru @theplannerguru

STANDBUILDERS & MANUFACTURERS 31 New era ConCept G’s Gill Gibbs on how to be a Covid-19 survivor.

32 SSQ Design’s Covid-19 service offerings

The outbreak of the novel coronavirus, and the extreme measures that have been implemented to delay its spread, has changed the world as we knew it, writes SSQ Design.

EVENTS 33 Responding to the global health crisis As part of a major

international group, GL events South Africa reveals its response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

34 Conversation starter

John Arvanitakis from Chat’r discusses how his business is embracing innovation to provide creative and engaging eventing solutions.

INSIGHTS 36 Creativity during crisis As creative strategists and design thinking facilitators, the Conceptual Eyes team has been designing the delegate experience for the past 10 years, and creativity is now more important than ever.

TECHNOLOGY 37 Solutions driven With a passion for phenomenal digital

experiences, VOD Group is working to find solutions around the Covid-19 crisis through their powerful platforms.

MARKETING 38 The digital differentiator Nadia Hearn, founder of

Get Published, discusses the importance of creating brand purpose through digital and emotional communication strategies.

AFRICA TRAVEL WEEK 41 Where the world returns home Reed Exhibitions Africa has kept its finger on the pulse and overhauled Africa Travel Week to chart a course ahead for the future of the African travel trade.

CATERING 42 Business unusual After the events industry changed almost

overnight, Barmotion reveals how it is shifting its focus to offering hospitality solutions for the duration of the new ‘normal’.

DESTINATION 44 MICE in Mauritius Through the careful management of

stringent hygiene and sanitisation measures, Mauritius has kept itself insulated from the novel coronavirus pandemic and is open for business.

LOGISTICS 46 We’re still here to support you

At a time when it is needed most, Avis has stepped up its hygiene standards and service offering to provide customers with peace of mind and exclusive offers.


ED’S NOTE

Managing Editor Shanna Jacobsen (shanna@3smedia.co.za) Digital Editor Pippa Naudé Chief Sub-Editor Tristan Snijders Head of Design Beren Bauermeister

To our Lockdown Heroes,

Contributors John Arvanitakis, Gill Gibbs, Nadia Hearn, Greg McManus, Mike Mira, Projeni Pather, Lisa Roos, Gerry Skerrit Production & Client Liaison Manager

Antois-Leigh Nepgen Group Sales Manager Chilomia Van Wijk Financial Manager Andrew Lobban Bookkeeper Tonya Hebenton Distribution Manager Nomsa Masina Distribution Coordinator Asha Pursotham Advertising

Vanessa De Waal +27 (0)84 805 6752 | vanessa@3smedia.co.za PUBLISHED BY

Publisher Jacques Breytenbach

3S Media 46 Milkyway Avenue, Frankenwald, 2090 PO Box 92026, Norwood 2117 Tel: +27 (0)11 233 2600 Fax: +27 (0)11 234 7274/5 www.3smedia.co.za Meetings Lockdown Heroes 2020 © Copyright All rights reserved 2020 www.theplanner.guru SUBSCRIPTION R330.00 per annum (incl. VAT) | subs@3smedia.co.za ISSN 1684-9264 NOTICE OF RIGHTS Meetings is published bi-monthly by 3S Media. This publication, its form and contents vest in 3S Media. All rights reserved. No part of this book, including cover and interior designs, may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher, nor be otherwise circulated in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser. The authors' views may not necessarily reflect those of the publisher or associated professional bodies. While every precaution has been taken in the preparation and compilation of this publication, the publisher assumes no responsibility for errors, omissions, completeness or accuracy of its contents, or for damages resulting from the use of the information contained herein. While every effort has been taken to ensure that no copyright or copyright issues is/are infringed, 3S Media, its directors, publisher, officers and employees cannot be held responsible and consequently disclaim any liability for any loss, liability damage, direct or consequential of whatsoever nature and howsoever arising.

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The ABC logo is a valued stamp of measurement and trust, providing accurate and comparable circulation figures that protect the way advertising is traded. Meetings is ABC audited and certified.

N

we salute you!

ever in our modern era has anything like the novel coronavirus pandemic been experienced. In South Africa, a total lockdown was swiftly implemented to prevent a massive spike in infections of the virus, but the sudden measures have also meant very few of us had time to prepare for what lay ahead. Some essential businesses have been able to weather the storm with minimal impact, albeit with their own challenges, but for others that were directly and almost immediately affected by the lockdown, the restrictions meant they were simply unable to operate. This has left a gaping hole in revenues for many – none more so than for those that are part of the business events and tourism value chains. The pandemic and ensuing lockdowns have resulted in airlines grounding their fleets, hotels and venues shutting their doors and, with strict limitations on social gatherings as well as travel – even between provinces – the meetings and events industry has taken a beating, with the impact expected to continue until measures are eased. While we do not know when the phased lockdown will end, the resilience that has been demonstrated by the MICE industry is testament to its strength. The character and tenacity of the individuals that collectively make up the MICE industry have been tested, and found to consist of champions, icons, giants, divas, mentors – otherwise known as heroes. A SPECIAL EDITION From creativity and collaboration, to unique and innovative offerings that are relevant to where we find ourselves currently, the Meetings Lockdown Heroes special edition is a compilation showcasing some of the industry players who are going the extra mile and continue to carry the flag courageously in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.” Coretta Scott King We have received an incredible response from the industry in producing this special edition and, demonstrating careful planning and constructive efforts, it is these individuals and organisations who are leading the charge and laying the foundations for a new normal in our fight against Covid-19. We are inspired by the Cape Town International Convention Centre, Downings Marquees, Johannesburg Expo Centre and many others, who are working with government at a national and provincial level to provide resources and solutions for various projects relating to the pandemic’s frontline focus. To each of you who has participated in our Lockdown Heroes issue, thank you for your valuable contribution; the information throughout these pages, together with thought-provoking messages of inspiration, comes at a time when it is most needed. Once the pandemic passes and the lockdown levels have eased, the lessons we have learned will enable us to maintain the momentum we have built during this hardship – we will rise stronger and exceed our shared goals post Covid-19. To our readers, we know that you will be uplifted and inspired by what your peers are doing to not just survive but thrive. We have managed to showcase only a few heroes – we know there are many, many more of you out there. We thank and salute you! Until we see each other again.

Shanna I would love to hear from you – please send me your Covid-19 initiatives, lessons and extra-ordinary projects to heroes@3smedia.co.za. #strongertogether

LOCKDOWN HEROES | MEETINGS 2020 •

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VENUE

ON THE

FRONTLINE

The CTICC supports the Western Cape in the fight against Covid-19.

A

t the end of April, the Western Cape cabinet agreed to use the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) as a temporary Covid-19 hospital, creating the capacity to care for an additional 800 people at the peak of the pandemic. Globally, healthcare resources have been placed under severe pressure as a result of Covid-19. At the peak of the pandemic, the Western Cape’s scenario planning predicted a shortfall of 1 000 acute beds in the province. The use of the CTICC will enable the venue to make up the majority of this shortfall, and allow for care to be rendered to those who need it. The remainder of the shortfall will

4 • LOCKDOWN HEROES | MEETINGS 2020

be made up with temporary beds in other facilities, in appropriate geographic locations. Since opening its doors, the CTICC has been an important part of the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape, contributing to the travel and events economy and creating thousands of jobs. It has hosted world leaders and celebrations,

and its use as a hospital to care for hundreds of ill people during this global pandemic is its most significant contribution to the region yet.


CTICC During these extraordinary times, we welcome the opportunity for the CTICC to be part of the solution. Taubie Motlhabane, CEO of the CTICC

WHAT THIS MEANS The agreement between the CTICC and the Western Cape Provincial Government allows for the use of the CTICC 1 building immediately up until 7 September 2020, with an option to extend this on a month-to-month basis until the end of the year. The CTICC has agreed to waive the hire cost of the venue, as part of its contribution to the fight against the novel coronavirus. The temporary infrastructure build, operating and catering costs for the initial hire period will total approximately R47 million. This amount excludes the costs that the Department of Health will incur in providing clinical equipment, oxygen, medication and temporary staff for the temporary hospital. The intermediate care beds will cater for patients presenting with milder clinical signs, who need hospitalisation and treatment including the administration of oxygen. The CTICC will not provide for the care of patients with more severe clinical signs, which will require intensive care treatment. Security at the site will be provided by the CTICC and augmented by the City of Cape Town. The site will be fitted out to be ready by the first week of June, well before the expected peak when these beds will be required. ACTION PLAN LAYOUT The comprehensive layout of all the services to be made available on-site – including beds,

www.theplanner.guru 

showers, nursing stations, support stations, physio stations and bulk oxygen storage tank spaces, among others – has already been prepared and was signed off for execution on 29 April. Upon the announcement of the agreement, Executive Mayor Dan Plato said: “The City of Cape Town and Western Cape Government are working together to ensure a proactive and effective response to the pandemic. Due to the identified shortfall of hospital beds, we need to make use of the available resources at our disposal to adequately address the outbreak and to treat patients on a largescale. This facility is well-placed with the necessary infrastructure to easily allow the site to be used as a temporary hospital.” “Today’s announcement comes in the wake of us tabling our scenario planning strategy where we announced the anticipated bed shortfall in the province. The CTICC will function as an intermediate care facility, providing about 800 beds, showing that the province is working hard to effectively deal with this pandemic,” stated the Western Cape’s Minister of Health, Nomafrench Mbombo. The Western Cape government has been working around the clock to prepare for the peak of the virus in the province. The CTICC hospital, together with 18 temporary testing and triage sites across the province, and a number of already operational quarantine and isolation sites, are all part of a focused

response to ensure that care can be provided at a time when it is most needed. “During these extraordinary times, we welcome the opportunity for the CTICC to be part of the solution. The conversion of CTICC 1 into a temporary Covid-19 hospital facility will add to the resources needed in our healthcare system to fight this pandemic. We are proud to be part of the team,” emphasised Taubie Motlhabane, CEO of the CTICC. The CTICC and the City of Cape Town, who is a joint shareholder in the CTICC with the Western Cape Provincial Government, has been lauded for coming on board and responding to this urgent need. Meanwhile, the Department of Transport and Public Works, under Minister Bonginkosi Madikizela, has been working tirelessly since March to ensure that the CTICC hospital will be realised in time. The outfitting of the site will begin immediately and it is expected that the hospital will be open by June.

cticc.co.za

LOCKDOWN HEROES | MEETINGS 2020 •

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VENUE

Even though it is sometimes difficult to make sense of the situation in which you find yourself, it is necessary to look forward to tomorrow with hearts full of hope. Be grateful for that which has been and remember the strength that lies within all of us. May you find a reason to get up and be happy every day, because the rainbow is always the most beautiful after the worst storm.

GIVE AN EXPERIENCE

as a gift

For more than a month, the world has been navigating uncharted waters, but it’s full steam ahead for ATKV Resorts and its innovative approach.

D

uring this time of uncertainty and change, we want to reassure the public that our management team is working nonstop to ensure we can welcome them back to one of our resorts again – because, at ATKV Resorts, we deliver a service. It’s our job and our duty to let people relax. To let them kick off their shoes and help them to forget about work, stress and routine for a moment. In a way, we give people hope again. We appreciate your continued support and that you still choose ATKV Resorts as your preferred destination for perfect family holidays.

BRINGING BACK THE GOOD NEWS Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, we are

excited to share some big news with you. Have you always wanted to send someone special on holiday, or contribute to their

6 • LOCKDOWN HEROES | MEETINGS 2020

planned holiday? Now you can! ATKV Resorts offers you the opportunity to gift them an experience that they will always remember. Now, we also offer our own online gift vouchers. You can now buy an ATKV Resorts gift voucher from the comfort of your own home or office and send it to that special person. It saves you the time and effort of going to the shops. And there’s even better news – we give you the choice to give this gift as a surprise, which means that we will send it to you first, so that you can decorate the gift voucher yourself, or you can opt for us to send it directly to the special person, chop-chop, on your behalf. They can then use the gift voucher as payment toward their next booking at any of our seven resorts.

www.theplanner.guru


ATKV

HOW TO BUY A GIFT VOUCHER ONLINE You can ONLY buy your gift voucher online on the ATKV Resorts website. 1 The “Gift Voucher” section is at the top of the page; click on the voucher button to open the page. 2 Click on the buy button and choose the amount of the gift voucher you want to buy. 3 Click on “Add to Cart”. 4 Choose the delivery method (when choosing email, the receiver will automatically receive their online gift voucher with a special message). 5 Choose to whom the gift voucher must be sent. 6 Specify the recipient’s information and write them a message (optional). Also, specify whether you would like the receiver to know the value of the voucher. 7 You can continue to payment by filling in your personal and card details. 8 You will receive payment confirmation via email.

HOW TO USE AN ONLINE GIFT VOUCHER 1 Your gift voucher will have a unique code. 2 Use this code when making a booking. 3 Bookings can be made at any of our seven resorts, according to availability.

4 Please note that this code can only be given

telephonically or on arrival at the resort. Therefore, you can't use this code on our online booking platform. 5 This gift voucher serves as payment for or toward a booking

HOW TO FIND OUT YOUR GIFT VOUCHER BALANCE The friendly booking agents at our resorts will be able to help you with this. Give the gift voucher’s unique code to the agent, and

they will confirm the value of the gift voucher for you. FOR HOW LONG IS YOUR GIFT VOUCHER VALID? Your gift voucher is valid for three years from

the date of purchase. WHAT CAN YOU USE YOUR GIFT VOUCHER FOR? Although gift vouchers currently only have

a monetary value for bookings at one of our seven resorts, we are planning to spoil you with spa treatments, Koswerf coupons and much more in the near future.

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PAYMENT OPTIONS In light of hackers and other cyber issues, we

want to let you know that only credit cards will be accepted as a payment method. All transactions are secured by SSL and your details will not be saved. TERMS AND CONDITIONS 1. Gift vouchers must be used for the specified

purpose. This is especially relevant for the future, when more definitive gift vouchers, such as gift vouchers for spa treatments, come into effect. 2. Gift vouchers will serve as payment for or toward a product or service. 3. No change will be given. Any remaining balance will be transferred to a gift voucher and will be valid for a year after the transfer date.

4. Gift vouchers cannot be exchanged for cash. 5. ATKV Sake (Pty) Ltd and The BandMix will not accept any liability for lost or stolen gift vouchers. So what are you waiting for? Online gifts have never been this easy and convenient. Now is the time to surprise your loved one with booking that long-overdue holiday, and don’t forget to also spoil yourself every now and again!

www.atkvresorts.co.za

LOCKDOWN HEROES | MEETINGS 2020 •

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All about

well-being

Minor Hotels’ properties in Africa provide travellers with a renewed focus on their physical and mental well-being in the wake of Covid-19.

O

nce travel restrictions are eased, many people will be looking to get away to remote destinations to experience some downtime or for a quick weekend escape in natural surrounds. With this in mind, Minor Hotels is committed to ensuring the wellbeing of guests, and its Anantara and Avani properties are ideally positioned to offer guests much needed reprieve. The spa at The Royal Livingstone Hotel by Anantara is a sanctuary that provides indigenous wellness culture and breathtaking scenery. The treatment menu draws on revered local wellness traditions and age-old beauty secrets. Carefully crafted packages provide deeply rejuvenating journeys and a welcome foil to action-packed escapades. The hotel’s wellness offering is extended through weekly complimentary yoga sessions that take place on the deck overlooking the Zambezi River.

8 • LOCKDOWN HEROES | MEETINGS 2020

Guests can escape to Anantara Bazaruto Island Resort for a rejuvenating spa holiday on the secluded island of Bazaruto, Mozambique – a quick hour-and-forty-minute flight from Johannesburg to Vilanculos airport. The resort is a wellness destination that provides for solitude, with the spa being perched above the highest point of the premises and offering guests serene views of the Indian Ocean. The tranquil setting with breathtaking views surrounded by azure waters is the perfect getaway to help guests discover a naturally calm state of well-being and vitality post the Covid-19 lockdown.

A TASTE OF AFRICA For those who have been longing for adventure, a getaway to Zambia will provide an outlet for all the time spent indoors. Less than a two-hour flight from Johannesburg, a trip to the Victoria Falls will not only provide much needed time in the outdoors but is also a definite bucket list destination. Avani Victoria Falls Resort and The Royal Livingstone Hotel by Anantara provide bases from where travellers can explore the Victoria Falls. The area is a haven for a range of thrilling water, land and sky adventures. A daring highlight of visiting Victoria Falls is swimming in

Devil’s Pool. This uniquely located plunge pool resides right on the edge of the falls, providing a pulse-racing dip for those brave enough to venture into the Zambezi River. Wildlife river safaris offer excellent game and bird viewing, while the rushing rapids of the Batoka Gorge offer the heart-pumping thrills of white-water rafting and jet boating. For a scenic road trip, the drive from Johannesburg to the Mountain Kingdom will take you to the doorsteps of Avani Lesotho Hotel & Casino, where guests will be greeted by warm Basotho hospitality. The hotel provides a trendy base from which to explore the magnificent landscapes of Lesotho, which host a range of hiking, horse-riding and mountainbiking trails to meet the skill levels of any traveller. Many local tour operators offer authentic Basotho experiences on pony rides that spend the night in local villages, while a visit to Maletsunyane Falls provides a glimpse of the 192 m waterfall.

+27 (0)10 003 8979 reservations.africa@minorhotels.com minorhotels.com

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VENUE

Africa’s smartest

CONVENTION CENTRE The Durban ICC is providing an offering that positions it as one of Africa’s top convention centres.

T

he Durban ICC has consistently aimed to position itself as ‘Africa’s Leading Convention Centre’ and, having invested in the latest, cutting-edge meeting technology, the venue is reinventing itself as the continent’s leading high-tech convention centre. “Without moving away from our existing market positioning, we are adding this competitive edge and aiming to also be recognised as ‘Africa’s Smartest Convention Centre’,” says Lindiwe Rakharebe, CEO, Durban ICC. The centre offers a range of innovative solutions such as hybrid events, live-streaming, video-on-demand, and remote-presentation events. For the uninitiated, a hybrid event is

simply the combination of a traditional faceto-face event with an online component, which extends the reach of the conference to a wider audience using technology like live-streaming. The best part is that, even during the lockdown, companies are taking advantage of this kind of event solution by using the technology on offer and not having to wait until live events fully start up again. By taking their events online, some are even able to reach much larger audiences than they would have with their traditional live event.

• share the content with others in their organisation directly without having to repeat it themselves second-hand to their colleagues • choose to consume the event content at a later time, if that suits their schedule • view selected elements from the event programme that pertain to their area of interest. The Durban ICC hosted its own live-stream event in September 2019 and has subsequently run several successful events of this kind for its clients.

VIRTUAL BENEFITS

INCORPORATING INNOVATION

The Durban ICC’s virtual events offering provides a range of benefits; for instance, the digital delegate can: • get all the content of the live event from the comfort and safety of their homes • watch the speakers via the video feed and view any presentations via the picture-inpicture mode • engage remotely with the event in real time via the event’s chat or social media channels

“There is no shortage of innovations out there, but it’s our job to incorporate the meaningful ones that make our clients’ lives easier into the Durban ICC customer experience”, says Scott Langley, director: Marketing, Sales and Events, Durban ICC. The Durban ICC boasts the country’s fastest convention centre Wi-Fi network, which is also able to support the most concurrent users. Leading the way, it was the first convention centre in the country to offer indoor Google Maps and to incorporate the ‘whatthreewords’ navigation system into the complex. The centre has also invested heavily in its massive video screens and interactive digital totems in the past year and takes pride in being on the leading edge of the latest developments in this space, with the latest addition to its ever-evolving range of tech offerings available at the Durban ICC. No wonder it is now also being recognised as Africa’s smartest convention centre.

+27 (0)31 360 1000 sales@icc.co.za l icc.co.za @DurbanICC

@DurbanICC

@durbanicc

Durban International Convention Centre


VENUE

No one could have predicted how the Covid-19 pandemic would impact the MICE industry or the economy as a whole but, during times of crisis, business flexibility and the ability to adapt and modify product and service offerings ensure survival. As a venue on the frontline, the JEC has once again demonstrated its versatility.

A

ADAPTABILITY DURING CRISIS TIMES

s part of the international GL events group venues network, the Johannesburg Expo Centre (JEC) was privileged to have visibility of the looming crisis through group venues in Japan and Europe early in 2020. Assessing the possible impact and being cognisant that it was only a question of time before Covid-19 reached South African shores, we rallied the teams to start working on the design of new offerings to sustain the venue through the possible downtime. After many weeks of planning and proposing various solutions to the Gauteng Departments of Health and Infrastructure, we received confirmation that the venue

would be used as an isolation and quarantine facility. Even though we continuously remained hopeful that the pandemic would not escalate drastically in South Africa, we were thankful for the opportunity to offer our support while sustaining the venue.

THE PLAN The first phase of the facility will be accommodated in the spacious Hall 6, where 12 300 m2 of space allowed for the configuration of more than 400 beds and multiple isolation rooms. The facility includes the installation of shell scheme partitioning, electrical configuration, beds, consultation rooms and ablution units. Leveraging off our strong existing supplier relationships, we managed to conclude the installation in record time and provide much-needed income to companies in our industry that would have otherwise been on complete shutdown. We all know the expression ‘last-minute dot com’ in the events and exhibitions space,

Expo Centre, Cnr Rand Show and Nasrec Roads, 2000, Johannesburg

info@expocentre.co.za

and it is exactly this rapid response mentality that placed the venue and its suppliers in a position to deliver on a project of this scale in a short period. The JEC is always referred to as a truly unique events and exhibitions centre, and the Covid-19 project reaffirms the flexibility of the venue. The design and construction of the venue more than 30 years ago were done with a long-term vision in mind. Today, this foresight enables us to configure the venue to suit almost any purpose. We are thankful to support the greater good by facilitating space for people in need during this critical time, offering work to sustain companies in the MICE industry, while been able to ensure the continued employment of our teams. The project has been a welcome challenge and we applaud our staff, subcontractors and everyone involved for their dedication and commitment to date. It has truly been a great experience to see how our teams and the teams of our subcontractors collaborated to meet the deadlines.

+27 (0)11 494 1920

expocentre.co.za


VENUE

THE INDUSTRY BENCHMARK Established in 1993, Gallagher Convention Centre has been a benchmark to the events industry ever since.

G

allagher Convention Centre offers incredible variety across 27 multipurpose venues that guests can choose from when planning their events. The smaller venues at Gallagher have complimentary public Wi-Fi, butler service and a boardroom dedicated to video conferencing. Gallagher offers a special webcon package that will enable businesses to host virtual conferences once the government’s riskadjusted strategy allows it. This package includes the butler-serviced boardroom, parking, the hardware and required internet, technical assistance, as well as tea, coffee and a catering platter for the core team. The large venues provide the added convenience of single-level loading bays to ensure ease of load-in to clients. Uncomplicated, street-level load-in means that clients save money, as they do not have to hire large crews to deal with the conundrum of multiple-level load-in procedures. Gallagher provides the benefit of experience to event organisers and their guests. This experience has impacted how the centre invests in its facilities and formulates its offering to clients.

SEAMLESS SERVICE A million-litre water tank has been installed on

+27 (0)11 266 3000 gallagher@gallagher.co.za 19 Richards Dr, Halfway House, Midrand gallagher.co.za

the Gallagher property. This tank can sustain the entire property for three days should the city experience any difficulties in providing the service. The venue also offers a full generator backup solution in the event of power failures. In uncertain times, these measures provide reassurance and peace of mind to organisers hosting an event on the property. As dietary requirements are among the biggest challenges faced by event organisers, Gallagher offers menus for all occasions, with certified halaal catering on the property to provide event organisers relief in managing guests’ dietary needs.

NEW-AGE SOLUTIONS In the face of the novel coronavirus pandemic, Gallagher Convention Centre closely monitors the regulations as prescribed by the South African government and the best practices advised by the World Health Organization. Hygiene is paramount on the property and, as such, guests will notice 60 on-site automatic hand sanitiser dispensers to be used to sanitise hands regularly. There is signage in all the restrooms advising guests of the importance of and procedure for correctly washing hands. All the restrooms on the property have antibacterial handwash dispensers. In a further measure to maintain

the highest standard of hygiene, Gallagher has cleaning staff in the restrooms and in the venues during events to clean continuously. Until further governmental regulations are made available, Gallagher maintains a nohandshake policy and all staff on the property will wear custom-made material masks. The temperature of all team members entering the property is measured and recorded to maintain a safe and healthy environment. Entry to the property will be refused to any person with a fever recorded over 37.5°C, as well as anyone not wearing a mask. On the subject of hygiene, guests to the property can be assured that the Gallagher kitchens maintain the highest hygiene standards and have the necessary certificates to prove this. Gallagher Convention Centre is serviceoriented and its experienced team strives for service excellence. The Gallagher team becomes an extension of the client’s team, working to ensure the success of every event on the property. When booking events at Gallagher Convention Centre, clients have the reassurance of experienced hands while repeat clients can enjoy the comfort of familiar faces versed in the requirements of their events.


ALL IN Following the sudden shift from business as usual, Downings is pulling out all the stops, using as many resources as it can to make a meaningful contribution in the fight against Covid-19.

M

any said it was only a matter of time before we reached a crisis on the scale of this pandemic. In a 2015 TED Talk, Bill Gates spoke on a virus that is as virulent as the novel coronavirus being the single greatest threat to mankind, and no truer words could have been spoken. From healthcare systems being overwhelmed, to crashing economies and millions across the world without jobs who are facing destitution, the impacts of this pandemic have been much wider felt than just its physical threat alone. In South Africa, the strict lockdown measures that were implemented within weeks of the first case of Covid-19 making itself known have been drastic albeit necessary. While we have all been affected at different levels, we at Downings realise that, being in the business of marquees and temporary structures, we can make a difference.

OUR COMMITMENT TO SUPPORT More recently, Downings has been assisting the City of Cape Town with the supply and installation of marquee infrastructure to accommodate the homeless at a place of safety at the Strandfontein Sports Complex. This includes numerous marquee tents with flooring, doors and ventilation systems. In addition, we supplied showers and washing facilities with hot running water, as well as ablutions, fencing and lighting, with electrical requirements meeting all industry standards. In order for the City’s management team to have full visibility over the facility, a 10 m x 10 m doubledecker marquee was installed to serve as the Joint Operations Centre. We are proud to have delivered this ‘truly South African’ marquee structure that was designed and manufactured by our sister company, Speed Structures. The Strandfontein installation was a massive undertaking that needed to be completed in a very short space of time and would not have been possible without the full commitment of our teams and support from our service providers.

12 • LOCKDOWN HEROES | MEETINGS 2020

Through our existing social upliftment endeavours, we have partnered with NGOs to supply infrastructure and equipment for numerous Covid-19 testing and isolation units at various state hospitals across the country. We have also helped our local municipality with temporary shelters to Strand residents whose homes were destroyed by fire on the eve of lockdown. We donated 100 tents to Gift of the Givers for displaced families in Khayelitsha and donated the use of 300 blue dome tents to the City of Cape Town. As challenging and uncertain as life may be at the moment, embrace the uncertainty and remember when nothing is certain, anything is possible. We are all in this together and together we will see this through. Downings will continue the fight against Covid-19 and would like to thank every extraordinary South African working on the frontline and those at home. Be well, be safe and blessings to you all.

The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. Nelson Mandela

Visit our new website at downingsmarquee.co.za

+27 (0)81 365 6777 planner@downings.co.za

Downings Marquee Rentals

downings_marquee

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VENUE

VENUE WITH A VIEW Its exclusivity, luxury, cleanliness and space make The Northcliff naturally well suited for these trying times.

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top Northcliff Hill, in the heart of Johannesburg, The Northcliff boutique hotel is set against magnificent, tranquil surroundings, offering exceptional views, food and wine that create lasting memories for all our visitors. Our unique design and luxury offering provide a naturally more spacious and cleaner environment, where attendees can be at ease and enjoy the experience while maintaining their professional objectives safely. Perfect for functions, meetings, conferences, exhibitions, product launches, team building and getaways, The Northcliff provides a fully managed and coordinated service by its inhouse team, who will ensure your event runs smoothly.

EVERYTHING YOU NEED Crest Conference Venue is a fully equipped, sophisticated conference facility that seats 60 to 80 delegates in cinema style, or 48 delegates in banquet style. Kranz Restaurant seats an additional 32 guests for an intimate, personal experience or bespoke corporate events. Our garden can comfortably host an outdoor event for 200 delegates in the freshest mountain air, with open, breathtaking views to the north. One of the finest boutique hotels in Johannesburg, The Northcliff is easily accessible from the N1 highway and is safe and secure. There is access to ample secure parking on-site with 24-hour security guards in attendance. Make your event exceptional, safe and exclusive at The Northcliff, and visit one of the ‘Top 10 Best Places to Visit in Johannesburg’, as rated by Hello Joburg!

At 1 807 m above sea level, Northcliff Hill is the second highest point in all of Joburg. It offers an unmatched view of Johannesburg and surrounds, which, on a clear day, stretches to the Magaliesberg Mountains

+27 (0)87 989 7856/7 reservations@thenorthcliff.com

www.theplanner.guru 

LOCKDOWN HEROES | MEETINGS 2020 •

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VENUE

WHEN OPPORTUNITY MEETS PREPARATION

The Boardwalk

After seeing a major slowing of its activity, Sun International is determined to get back to previous levels.

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cross the world, the Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on many industries. Like everyone else in the hospitality, conferencing, leisure and entertainment space, our properties have been closed since the beginning of the national lockdown on 26 March 2020. Before it came into effect, we responded to the raft of international travel bans by formulating new policies that allowed cancellations at short notice. We also fully refunded all monies paid in advance and have allowed guests to flexibly reschedule their bookings without surcharges. With our properties closed and staff working from home, many of our business functions now take place via technology. To transition from a physical office to a digital one, we have had to embrace the concept of working from home and meeting via digital conferencing platforms such as Skype and Zoom.

CLOSED INDEFINITELY With no definite date as to when we can reopen our doors, we have had to move our annual general meeting – previously scheduled for mid-May – to an interactive electronic platform. This extraordinary meeting is provided for in the Companies Act (No. 71 of 2008) and has been permitted by the JSE. But much of our attention has also been focused on considering practical ways in which to respond to the crisis, and even more so after a number of the Most Valued Guests (MVGs) in our loyalty programme asked us to set up a charity fund to which they could contribute. At the start of the national lockdown, we froze all MVG points that had been accumulated by our MVG members. Each leisure point represents R1 in value and can ordinarily be redeemed at any hotel or leisure facility in the group. So, we gave our MVGs the option to donate up to 50% of their leisure points to the Solidarity Fund and, once our properties reopen, we will give our members the

14 • LOCKDOWN HEROES | MEETINGS 2020

The Palace of the Lost City

opportunity to earn back their points over three months. The points represent a hard cost that we would have to pay over to whichever property they are redeemed at, so it made sense to divert the rand value of donated points to the Solidarity Fund instead. The pledge is open until 31 May; so far, we have received over R2 million from more than 14 000 MVGs.

RISK ASSESSMENT We have also used the lockdown to undertake risk assessments and review existing health and safety controls in place at our properties. To ensure the health and safety of guests and staff in the future, we are rolling out additional control measures that are acknowledged as international best practice. In addition to enhanced hygiene measures over and above those introduced prior to the lockdown, we will in future enforce new regulations such as wearing masks, and visitors and guests will be screened at the entrances of all our properties. Social distancing will also be strictly enforced. Right now, South Africa is focused on fighting the Covid-19 pandemic, but a bigger economic battle is looming. Our industry has been particularly hard hit and we are concerned about the economic wellbeing of our small business partners and suppliers. We applaud our many MVGs who responded with compassion and generosity to our call for donations, and we thank all those guests who have chosen to reschedule their bookings with us. We look forward to offering them a warm and safe welcome when they return in the future.

For more information, visit suninternational.com

Sun International

The Maslow Sandton

The Table Bay

Time Square

millionthrills

suninternationalza


VENUE

Sun City may be under lockdown but would like to remind loyal patrons of what awaits them once restrictions have been lifted.

The Palace of the Lost City

T

he Sun City Resort offers an idyllic destination with its world-class accommodation, conferencing facilities, restaurants and leisure activities, all set in scenic surroundings. For now, the resort is under lockdown, but as testament to the quality of its facilities and services, some guests who booked business or pleasure trips before Covid-19 travel restrictions were imposed, chose to postpone their bookings to a future date. In turn, Sun City has wisely used its time during lockdown to renovate or undertake maintenance of some facilities.

RESORT REOPENING When the resort reopens, its enhanced health and safety measures will align with the Sun International Group’s mandate for all its properties. Intensive hygiene audits will be conducted regularly, to assess whether the cleaning standards and protocols implemented are consistent. These audits involve taking surface swabs in high-traffic areas, which will be tested before a hygiene compliance certificate is issued.

The Lost City Golf Course

www.theplanner.guru 

Cascades Hotel and Pool Other measures include mandatory temperature screening at all hotel and casino entrances. Hotel guests will be required to complete a screening questionnaire, and randomised screening will be carried out on visitors and staff across the property. Staff will participate in ongoing refresher training and awareness programmes, and they will also be required to undertake regular self-assessment screens. Health awareness signage will be prominently featured for guests.

MEETING HYGIENE STANDARDS A strong focus has been placed on improving natural ventilation and ensuring that doors are either opened by security or are wedged open. Where practical to do so, transparent physical barriers have been erected at guest interaction areas such as hotel receptions and cash desks. As before, hand sanitiser dispensers will be provided at entrances and exits, lift lobbies and escalators, cash desks, gaming floors, restaurants and bars, conference venues, and public toilets. Social distancing is a reality for the time being, therefore, visitors will be required to queue at distances of 1.5 metres, as marked out in identified areas. Every second slot machine seat has been removed and tables are limited to four players only, per table. Seating capacity at dining,

conferencing and meeting areas will meet regulatory social distancing guidelines. Casino slot machines, tables and chairs will be sanitised after every player leaves. The same attention will be paid to restaurant tables, chairs and other surfaces, equipment and utensils. The bus door handles, interior surfaces and window levers or buttons will be treated similarly. Physical barriers will be erected to screen buffets, and staff will be designated to plate selected food items. Sauces and sealed sachets will be removed, while on-display meals will be packaged in sealed containers. Rigorous cleaning will be supplemented by frequent sanitising, especially of high-touch, high-risk objects such as door knobs, handles, balustrades, hand rails, lift buttons, light switches and counters, as well as taps, buttons, levers, seats and surrounding cubicle walls in public bathrooms. When visitors return, they will find that the Sun City Resort is ready and waiting for them!

suninternational.com/sun-city Central Reservations: +27 (0)11 780 7800

LOCKDOWN HEROES | MEETINGS 2020 •

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VENUE

PEACE OF MIND AT TAU As we all continue facing the challenges brought on by Covid-19, Tau Game Lodge is preparing for the moment when domestic travel will be possible again.

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he global Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the world in a way that has seen many of us rethink our ways of working and living. To safeguard the well-being of all its guests and staff, Tau Game Lodge is adopting additional health and hygiene measures, giving our visitors complete peace of mind about their future stay while providing them with an exceptionally comfortable, exciting and memorable experience. NEW MEASURES Due to its size, we don’t expect Tau Game Lodge to be operating at full capacity in the short term. This will, however, allow for the extra space available across our variety of different venues to be utilised applying the current social distancing rules. We will also be able to alternate the use of each room and deep clean rooms meticulously before each new arrival.

16 • LOCKDOWN HEROES | MEETINGS 2020

In order to practise sensible social distancing during game drives, we will allow for a maximum of six people per vehicle, with the option to request a private vehicle at an additional fee. Our delicious and healthy meals will be served à la carte and tables will be spaced apart at an appropriate distance. Tau is perfectly suitable as a mediumsized meeting venue for 20 or 30 delegates with single occupancy as well. Corporates who have had to work non-stop, yet remotely, during these past months could be in dire need of a well-deserved breather in nature to discuss the way forward, once the situation stabilises. ONGOING SUPPORT In line with Tau’s community programme and the Tau Foundation, we endeavour to maintain our staff levels in order to support the local Supingstad communities during these uncertain times, while the reserve has been on lockdown and staff had to be sent home. Tau and all staff members are looking forward to the time that we can reopen our doors and welcome guests back into our home again!

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TAU

NATURE IN YOUR LIVING ROOM Much to the delight of avid worldwide followers of the wildlife activity at the iconic Tau waterhole in front of the lodge, our live camera has provided many people around the globe with exciting daily viewing during the lockdown period, serving as a reminder that the natural world just carries on. Many have noted that viewing the large herds of elephants and buffalo, crocodile and even wild dog and cheetah – all on our live camera while sitting in their living room – made them cope better with the situation while being cooped up at home.

SPECIALS We are aware of many people who had travel plans for milestone birthdays and other family celebrations, but sadly were unable to travel due to the current circumstances. Therefore, we are encouraging our guests to decide on a future trip and to take advantage of the various discounted Pay Now & Travel Later flexi vouchers we are offering, available for both individual travellers as well as for corporate groups. Dates are flexible, as we do understand that travel restrictions are being updated constantly. This will ensure peace of mind and an amazing experience to look forward to.

TAU IN 25 YEARS Tau Game Lodge opened its doors in 1995 and offers 30 room options, ranging from standard to luxury and family suites. The Tau team ensures your safari needs are met with warm, efficient, five-star safari service. For 25 years, Tau Game Lodge has enthralled

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Similar sightings will once again mesmerise our visiting guests when Madikwe has opened its gates again, when guests can enjoy dining with a panoramic view of the large waterhole. In the heat of the day, animals, just like humans, have to quench their thirst, while all you have to do is dine on delicious food, sip your favourite midday cocktail, and watch the shifting pecking order at the waterhole.

Email: taugame@mweb.co.za taugamelodge.co.za

visitors from every corner of the globe, including honeymooners, conference guests, families and groups of friends who simply want the best a safari experience could possibly offer. The lodge is enclosed within the Madikwe reserve, resulting in the humans being subtly fenced in, while game roam free. Familiar with the habits and quirks of every species of game and bird spotted along the way, the rangers share their own knowledge and stories, which

The highly addictive live webcam will keep you mesmerised on taugamelodge.co.za/main-lodge /live-webcam. makes for memorable conversations under the stars around a campfire, as well as in the modern out-of-Africa ambience of Tau’s indoor dining areas. The Tau Cubz Club, Tau Spa Oasis and Tau Conference Centre make this an ideal malaria-free destination for romantic, family, leisure or corporate safaris. The two lodge swimming pools, of which one is an infinity pool, also offer vistas of the bush and waterhole.

LOCKDOWN HEROES | MEETINGS 2020 •

17


VENUE

A MEETING PLACE OF LIKE MINDS

If you are in need of a stunning periodinspired conference room for your inner-city meetings and gatherings, look no further than Gorgeous George’s White Room conference facility.

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ape Town boutique hotel Gorgeous George has opened a conference room space for corporates, organisations or private individuals wanting to host gatherings in a venue with all the modern conveniences of a city facility, plus all the style and beauty of a luxury privately owned art deco/Edwardianstyled residence. “The beauty of this conference facility is not only its hand-picked design pieces, like the hanging Porky Hefer crocodile swing, and overall playful feel, but also its versatility,” says Peter Kunz, director of Gorgeous George, which is located at the upper end of St George’s Mall in Cape Town’s thriving inner city. “There’s an element of surprise and intrigue for conference goers and meeting attendees wanting a venue with a generous dose of charm and grace,” says Peter.

18 • LOCKDOWN HEROES | MEETINGS 2020

VENUE APPEAL Situated on the first floor of the supercool design-led hotel, the White Room can accommodate up to 120 people, with a wide range of seating options and arrangements, from banquet or boardroom and cinema- or cocktail-style, to U-shaped seating or hollow rectangular. Secure parking is available in two neighbouring buildings. Chef Guy Bennett caters events with fresh, inspirational dishes. Patron to the hotel’s trendy restaurant Gigi Rooftop, Guy previously wielded his knives at luxury eateries like Grande Provence and the One&Only Hotel. Mouth-watering signature foodie items include: roasted butternut, ginger and coconut soup; slow-roasted beef short rib; mushroom and mozzarella arancini; carrot, honey and ginger pudding

with rum and raisin ice cream; and cranberry and pistachio nougat.

HOW GORGEOUS GEORGE IS Gorgeous George, which opened in April last year, is one of two South African members of the coveted German-headquartered global luxury hotel group Design Hotels. The hotel was designed by international award-winning interior designer Tristan du Plessis, who created a concept celebrating contemporary African design and showcasing locally manufactured high-end timeless South African furniture. Lighting and furniture were sourced from David Krynauw, Gregor Jenkin,

“The beauty of this conference facility is not only its hand-picked design pieces, like the hanging Porky Hefer crocodile swing, and overall playful feel, but also its versatility.” Peter Kunz, director of Gorgeous George

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GORGEOUSGEORGE Studio 19 and Douglas&Co, while murals from artist David Brits are featured in each of the 32 luxe rooms, which range from studios to 1- and 2-bedroom suites. The hotel’s star attraction is its indoor/ outdoor rooftop bar and restaurant, Gigi Rooftop, which opens out on to a stunning wood and terracotta pool deck that’s home to an emerald-green glass-panelled swimming pool. For venue bookings, please visit gorgeousgeorge.co.za or call +27 (0)87 898 6000.

ABOUT GORGEOUS GEORGE Gorgeous George is the inspiring new spot in the heart of downtown Cape Town where local design and boundary-pushing innovation meet. Gorgeous George is the first in Cape Town to join the Design Hotels stable, a hand-selected collection of 300 privately owned and operated hotels in over 50 countries that represent unique creative expressions with a strong cultural rooting in design, architecture and hospitality.

For more information, contact: Craig Dummett +27 (0)21 418 2466 +27 (0)82 072 4103 craig@transformmarketing.co.za

www.theplanner.guru 

LOCKDOWN HEROES | MEETINGS 2020 •

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AS SOCIATION

The AIPC urges venues to rethink their value proposals for event organisers following the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

UNITED IN TIMES OF CRISIS I

f Covid-19 has demonstrated anything, it is the ability of event venues to work together on common challenges, to share knowledge in order to learn from each other during this unprecedented crisis and address the current challenges – jointly defining the future of event venues. “The priority of businesses everywhere has been to recalibrate and redefine business processes and operations to build resilience for a post-Covid-19 world. More so than ever, business agility and the ability to pivot where needed, along with greater collaboration with suppliers, partners and customers, and even competitors, are essentials to the business events sector’s recovery in the short to medium term,” explains Aloysius Arlando, chairman of the International Association of Convention Centres (AIPC). The same level of partnership can be found at the level of the global venue associations. A key example is the collaboration between UFI, ICCA and the AIPC – three guides on how to deal with the Covid-19 crisis were published in record time, together with input from members of both UFI and the AIPC. The three guides reflect the cycle venues are going through, with a particular focus on best practices when reopening for organised events in the third guide.

FROM SURVIVAL TO RECOVERY Let’s be clear: organised events will be back but they will look very different. “This new environment we live in demands us to respond to the challenges industries are facing and develop new initiatives to support our customers and partners,” says Aloysius. The first step will be to gain the confidence of event organisers and participants that organised events can

take place in a safe and secure way. That will require putting in place clear protocols, which need to be standardised – at least on a regional level. Setting these standards will require a community-wide effort and support from the authorities involved. The second step will be to establish partnerships between venues and organisers when it comes to defining reach and impact. Hybrid events – combining physical and virtual – will become the new standard and offer tremendous opportunities when it comes to increasing reach and prolonging engagement with the delegates. Leveraging the combined knowledge of organisers and venues will enable the creation of unique customer experiences, bridging the two realities of the hybrid event. This brings us to the third element: technology. The lockdown has shown all of us the potential of technology in terms of meeting and working remotely. Going forward, technology will play a greater role and be part of the venue service offering. The success of this will be determined by addressing the right questions, hence the importance of having a joint understanding of the event objectives as mentioned above.

LOOKING FORWARD As countries across the globe are starting to implement their exit strategy towards the new normal, venues are defining what their future will look like. This cannot be done in isolation and will not only require venues to work together but also an intense collaboration and partnership with other stakeholders such as local and regional authorities, medical associations, technology experts and many more. Putting this new model in place will take time and reiterations will be necessary, but the end result will put the entire events community on a completely different level on all fronts and, once again, offer the great experiences its customers deserve.

aipc.org

20 • LOCKDOWN HEROES | MEETINGS 2020

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ASSOCIATION

IN IT TOGETHER Mike Mira* of EXSA on where we are and how the industry’s recovery will require a unified effort.

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ow – what a year so far! I’ve heard and seen memes that range from, “Can we reboot this year, it’s got a virus,” to “I’m writing this year off, it doesn’t count,” and many more. While we choose to use humour as a coping mechanism in this current situation, I truly believe that no one could have foreseen the damage that this virus is continuing to cause – not just with infections and deaths, but the impact that social distancing has had on our industry and, ultimately, the economic fallout resulting from the worldwide lockdown. Having a company that has been in the industry for over 26 years, I am proud to be a member of an association like the Exhibition and Event Association of Southern Africa (EXSA). EXSA had taken on the role of setting up a communication group within days of the lockdown and welcomed the participation of everyone from the exhibitions, events and associated industries – members or not. The only thing that mattered was that we were navigating this totally uncharted territory together.

ALIGNED OBJECTIVES It’s amazing how, in the darkest of times, differences are set aside and people from all walks of life come together. It doesn’t matter who you are, how big or small your company is, how many years you have been in the industry or whether you’re only just starting out, we all are now faced with this crisis and we need to face it together. EXSA has managed to pull the majority of the players in our industry together and we are now starting to talk with one unified voice, making decisions that have been discussed in unity and actioned as one body. In the past few weeks, there have been virtual talks put on by international and

local associations, which EXSA has made sure that we, in the industry, have access to and are made aware of. These talks have not only been motivational and informative but will hopefully assist the industry in making some informed decisions.

FAQS What can we do? How can we survive this? These are the most common questions faced by me and my colleagues in the industry. While the talk is all about social distancing and virtual events, I don’t believe this is going to be the future of the industry. I agree that things are going to change, but humans still want to touch, feel and see; we crave human interaction – that’s who we are. I do believe that we are going to go back to how we used to do business: big exhibitions, beautiful stands, grand music concerts but with a new and healthy respect for space. There is no way that our industry can survive in the virtual world; to sell newly launched and great products, we need to see them, we need to touch them and that makes me believe that we will see our industry thriving again. Yes, maybe wounded and injured but never defeated. What we need to do now, in the short term, is adapt to the current times. Do the things you did when you started your business: roll up your sleeves and get in the trenches, and fight alongside your staff and your industry, doing whatever you can to survive. That’s exactly what I’m going to do, no matter what it takes.

*Mike Mira is the managing director of Efam and an active member of the industry, also serving as a member of EXSA’s 2019/20 executive committee.


AS SOCIATION

A GLIMMER OF HOPE EGF chairperson Greg McManus candidly shares his opinion on the Covid-19 pandemic and its effects.

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s I write this, South Africa is entering its eighth week of a lockdown that has had tragic consequences for many, and there is no doubt that we are in a weak position as an industry. Every day, we read of companies closing, laying off staff or going into hibernation; yet despite our current feelings and the bleakness of our immediate future, the MICE

and hospitality industries will recover to some semblance of their former strength. This will, however, take conscious and immediate steps to achieve.

PREPARING FOR THE ‘NEW’ The needs of our various markets have changed irrevocably because of the novel coronavirus. I believe that the long-lasting impact of Covid-19 is going to bring about the need to actively promote the health and safety of our clients. Innovative thinking on how we plan, execute and promote events, meetings, conferences and exhibitions is going to take a willingness to change. Believe it or not, there are those who think we will go back to the ‘old’ way of doing business and that the requirements of change are not worth the effort for temporary gains. But if each one of us now places greater emphasis on our health and the potential for transmission of the virus, why would our clients be any different? At this stage, we need to implement measures to address the fears of our clients. By making simple changes to the way we manage our businesses, and incorporating best practice wherever we can, we will be in a much stronger position to recover once the lockdown ends. We also need to understand that Covid-19 is only the latest iteration of the coronavirus family. More, and potentially deadlier, versions could emerge in the future.

of our challenges, it cannot solve them all. I say this because some of the most valuable outputs of conferences, for example, take place outside of the conference venue where we meet and chat with one another. We need to understand its limitations when looking to incorporate technology in our future plans. Many efficiencies are possible with technology, and can address the bottlenecks that would breach the modern-day social distancing protocols we will be living under. But will online exhibitions work? Probably not, for the reasons mentioned above.

SO, WHAT NOW? Now is the time for us to regroup and rethink how we do business. Let’s start by looking at how we operate and what we present to our markets. Develop sound ‘Covid-19-safe’ solutions in every proposal and submission you make. Bear in mind the national and international protocols that exist. And stop believing that once the lockdown is lifted, it’s going to be business as usual. Social distancing is the new norm. Measures that mitigate and minimise the transmission of this virus – and every future virus – will become a must-have if your business is going to survive. All is not lost, and you have the chance to make a new start. Take it.

TECHNOLOGY – A SILVER BULLET? The use of technology in our industry has, without a doubt, spiked. While it can solve many

Greg McManus, chairperson, EGF

eventgreening.co.za

If you need ideas or services to help your business prepare for this ‘new world’, please visit the EGF’s website where members are sharing their offerings, from CoronaSmart’s free Covid-19 health and safety standards to hands-free sanitising stations, home office eco-spaces and virtual event technology.

22 • LOCKDOWN HEROES | MEETINGS 2020www.theplanner.guru


theplanner.guru is a one-stop platform for finding venues and suppliers. It’s where you can read the hottest industry tips and trends as well as source event planning tools and gain insight from valuable information in the MICE Hub. Plan your event by using the platform’s event boards and keep up-to-date with the daily newsletters. Use these resources to take your events from great to flawless.

Packed with advice, handy tips, tools, checklists and event planning insight from leading industry experts and combined with the comprehensive listings, The Meetings & Event Planner is essential if you’re organising any type of event. Published annually.

This alternative monthly publication investigates new trends, ideas and strategies relevant to the meetings and events industry to keep you ahead of the planner pack. Meetings provides a platform for branding and promoting venues and service providers to the heart of the South African conferencing and event industries.

TT HH EE

E IX N H C I BE I NT TI O I VN

3S Media gives YOU the competitive edge as a MICE planner

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Looking for new and exciting destinations? The Incentive Planner is jam-packed with fresh ideas and top tips to turn any incentive trip into a memorable experience. Out in March and September with Meetings. The Exhibition Planner is an essential tool for exhibitors. Information is packaged in an easily digestible format addressing the entire process of planning and arranging a show stand, what to do pre-show, during and post-show. Published annually.

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AS SOCIATION

TIME TO UPSKILL AAXO’s Projeni Pather underscores the importance of training for future-proofing your business.

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he Covid-19 pandemic threw a spanner in the works in everyone’s plans for the year, especially those in the exhibitions and events industry. However, while this is a rather turbulent and uncertain time, it is important to plan for the future and understand how you can best utilise your time during the current lockdown to create a better plan for you and your business in the future. Finding ways to upskill and further your knowledge in the present by joining an online course or investing time in attending webinars that will help you to grow and adapt your business can help you to enhance your brand when we do eventually return to business as usual in the future. It was Nelson Mandela who said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world,” and, given the times we are currently in, it is definitely the most powerful tool you can utilise to change your world. There are plenty of general online courses available to help you further your business knowledge but none more specific to the exhibitions and events industry than the Certified Exhibition Management (CEM) programme.

24 • LOCKDOWN HEROES | MEETINGS 2020

The Association of African Exhibition Organisers (AAXO), in conjunction with the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE), has launched the internationally recognised CEM programme into Africa. This qualification is a globally recognised designation that demonstrates the highest professional standard in the exhibitions and events management arena. The CEM designation accommodates short- and long-term career goals with education that can be tailored to meet specific needs and interests.

COURSE OUTLINE The training course, which will equip you with high-level knowledge on exhibition and event management, consists of eight online modules and can be completed over a two-year period. The first of these eight modules kicked off in February 2020 with tremendous success. “The CEM training course has been of great benefit to me so far. Although we work in the industry and are well versed in how to conduct exhibitions, this has been a great ‘refresher’ on how we can work smarter as industry professionals. It has also taught me which areas of my business require more attention. Our lecturers have been hands-on and have brought in a very personal touch, which is needed when working through an online system,” explains Dain Richardson from Messe München South Africa. The course consists of several different modules, including: Conference and Meeting Management; Consumer Show Management;

Event Marketing; Event Operations; Exhibition and Event Sales; Finance, Budgeting and Contracts; Security, Risk, and Crisis Management; and Strategic Planning and Management. “I have completed the CEM Strategic Planning and Management as well as the Finance, Budgeting and Contracts modules, and found both very insightful. They have sharpened my skills. Despite being in the industry for over 10 years, this course has taught me many new things that I intend to implement in my work ahead,” says Marita le Roux from Exposure Marketing. There is no time like the present to upskill, so sign up for AAXO’s CEM programme now. Visit aaxo.co.za/course/cem-training for more information on these and other courses.

aaxo.co.za

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e g a s s e Our m

TRAVELCLUB

TO YOU

Members of the Travelbags committee share insights on how to weather the current Covid-19 storm.

MICHELLE HINRICHSEN PRESIDENT

ANEL FERREIRA SECRETARY

TALITHA SPYKERMAN COMMITTEE MEMBER

During this trying time of Covid-19, and with all the challenges that the travel, hospitality and events industry is currently facing, Travelbags has moved from live to virtual events. We have put our heads together as a committee of professionals who all work within the industry and have offered different aspects of what is needed from our own perspectives. Travelbags will be hosting monthly webinars on different topics related to travel, events, hospitality and general life during the Covid-19 pandemic. We will also raise funds for different charities while hosting our webinars by means of online raffles and payments of raffle tickets via SnapScan. Invites will be posted on our Facebook and Twitter pages, so, if you are not already on our database, please follow us on social media. Stay safe, stay home and stay well – we will see each other again soon.

In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s easy to forget that the global economy and tourism industry have experienced similar significant events in the past. While many of the threats that have significantly affected us in the past are very real, research suggests that the economic impacts are, comparatively, often much more serious due to the effects of fear on the population. Thankfully, history shows that the economy and, more specifically, the tourism industry are extremely resilient and excellent at bouncing back from these events. While Covid-19 has put us on retreat mode, we need to explore new ways of doing business in order to navigate these challenging times. Perhaps this is the best time to pursue what we have been advocating and look at collaborative tourism. This kind of synergy stems from the belief that we are collaborators and not competitors.

While Covid-19 has the world pinned down in their homes, businesses the world over are finding new innovative ways to overcome the challenges posed by social distancing. Online interaction in every form has become the number one priority for any business to keep up with the times and deal with the challenges lockdown has posed. One of the industries everyone said was dead in the water was MICE, and the live conferences and expos that were, until not so long ago, the lifeblood of communication and marketing, will just have to wait until Covid-19 has been conquered. As a digital development businessowner, I see this as a great opportunity and partnered with an established global virtual event solutions platform backed by a diligent team specialising in the event technology space. I am proud to say this platform is available to all Southern African companies and brands looking to host a virtual event. One has to wonder at the ingenuity of business people determined to continue making a living; just as we have started to get used to the idea of small and one-on-one virtual meetings, we are already able to create virtual conferences and expo situations. In time, we will all venture out again and Covid-19 will be a thing of the past, but the way we do business will have changed forever. Stay home, stay safe and go virtual!

Anel Ferreira +27 (0)63 010 7125 info@travelbags.co.za

www.theplanner.guru 

travelbags.co.za

Michelle Hinrichsen +27 (0)82 961 3601 michelle@iconiquebrands.com

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AS SOCIATION

GOING PRO SAACI on learning to surf the tsunami brought on by the pandemic and welcoming the unknown.


SAACI

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e are in a tsunami and have to learn to surf really quickly! This was the word from global speaker and business strategist Anthony Morris in a recent webinar hosted by the Southern African Association for the Conference Industry (SAACI), themed ‘ReBoot!’ SAACI, South Africa’s largest organisation representing the interests of the business events trade and professionals, has embarked on efforts to help the industry to navigate through the economic crisis brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. Glenton de Kock, CEO of SAACI, says the industry is managing to make sense of the so-called ‘new normal’, as we are struggling to come to terms with it.

TAKING ACTION The association has ensured that communication to members during this time was factual and helpful to them and the greater business events industry. “So much information has been shared over the last two months that it is sometimes difficult to see the wood for the trees,” says Glenton. The board of SAACI has been working tirelessly behind the scenes, attending various stakeholder meetings, lobbying for the industry with government, and looking at ways to assist our members. “Due to the very nature of our industry, where groups of people interact, our industry may be in lockdown much longer than most others. We are working with relevant government departments such as the Department of Health to understand what we need to do to ensure we are allowed to activate our sector earlier than currently

proposed in the Covid-19 Risk Adjusted Strategy,” Glenton explains.

PRESSING FORWARD This pandemic has been the kick-starter for the formation of the South African Events Council – a long-overdue initiative between the associations in the business events space. National chairperson Kim Roberts and Glenton represent SAACI on this platform. A challenge faced by the industry is determining the real value of its contribution to the economy. According to a report from the South Africa National Convention Bureau, our country hosted 207 international conferences between 1 April 2018 and 31 March 2019, attracting 87 000 delegates and contributing R2.5 billion to the economy. “We believe that the value of the industry is so much more, as we need to understand the complete value chain that our sector impacts on,” says Glenton. “The South African Events Council is now working towards getting a more realistic figure, but we need buy-in and contributions from all parties involved. The time is right now to show the socio-economic impact of our sector on South African society.” He says now, more than ever, collaboration is key: collaboration with other members who have knowledge or skills, collaboration with colleagues, suppliers, government – anyone who can contribute to the survival of businesses and the industry. SAACI has started with a series of webinars – the first, titled ‘ReBoot!’, with business experts Anthony Morris, Trevor Strydom and Dr Graeme Codrington. They gave participants some great

REBOOT YOUR BUSINESS! In a recent SAACI webinar, business strategist Anthony Morris gave participants a toolkit on how to ‘reboot’ their businesses. He said the future of the business environment will be very different to anything we’ve known before. “Time no longer equals money, but relationships and creativity equal money. You are now selling an experience.” His five steps to reboot your business are: 1 Re-align your business direction 2 Redefine your value proposition 3 Re-invent your marketing 4 Re-energise your clients 5 Reclaim lost momentum

insights into the unknown and what actions to take now to get ready for when we can get going again. Leon Lategan, founder of the Lions Den, presented the second webinar on low-cost, creative ways to grow your business during and after Covid-19. The webinar series aims to provide meaningful content that will guide and assist members with their strategies for business survival and future preparation. “We know that the domestic market will recover quicker than the international market. The question is when. Nobody really knows, so we hope to help you with some skills to learn to surf the tsunami and welcome the unknown!” says Glenton.

ASK US

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Since the announcement of the state of disaster in South Africa in March, SAACI has shared with members comprehensive information about Covid-19, financial assistance schemes and the like. These include: • Ways to manage stress • Managing cash flow under Covid-19 • Travel trade webinars • Covid-19 funding support for South African businesses • SMME relief packages • UIF online applications • Event safety in a post--Covid-19 world • Covid-19 FAQs • SAACI ReBoot! webinar • SAACI Western Cape webinar The association has also released a host of member updates and conducted two member surveys on the effect of Covid-19 on business. “SAACI continues to encourage members of the industry to share information, tips and motivational stories. The more we elaborate, the more we will learn about the new business environment and the sooner we will be back in business. Together, we will weather the storm,” says CEO Glenton de Kock. Follow SAACI on social media or contact us on askus@saaci.org.

“The past doesn’t equal the future!” he said. In the same webinar, scenario planner Dr Graeme Codrington said we have to anticipate the future and plan for change. “We are currently in the greatest experiment in the future of work that humanity has ever gone through. We are never going back to ‘normal’ – and we are also not in the ‘new normal’ yet.” For more information, visit www.anthonymorris.live.

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NEVER WASTE A GOOD CRISIS!

Gerry Skerritt from Dream Team Catalyst looks at strategies for the current times.

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any of us read the simple but powerful parable Who Moved My Cheese? when it hit bookshelves more than 20 years ago, and some of us got the T-shirt and tattoo in the ensuing years. In the last three months, every single person on the planet has landed a starring role in the movie. As usual, Hollywood got all dramatic on us and deviated from the original plot to serve up an embellishment of epic proportions that would have been better titled Who Nuked Our Cheese & Imprisoned Us So We Couldn’t Find More? You couldn’t blame anyone for getting stage fright. It’s pretty hard not to have performance anxiety when you don’t have anywhere to perform – nobody would be allowed to come and watch you even if you did. OK please, enough with the metaphors. The fact is that there are few industries worse affected by

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the scourge of the novel coronavirus than MICE and our close cousins, travel and tourism. Like many great businesses, at Dream Team Catalyst, our order book and pipeline went from crammed, to Old Mother Hubbard – almost overnight. After a respectable period of mourning and self-pity (admittedly, we may have overdone it a bit on the self-pity), we remembered the wise words of the great Colombian philosopher Shakira: “You’re a good soldier, choosing your battles. Pick yourself up and dust yourself off, get back in the saddle. You’re on the frontline, everyone’s watching. You know it’s serious, we’re getting closer – this isn't over. The pressure is on. You feel it. But you’ve got it all, believe it.” That’s definitely the last metaphor, but certainly one to keep spirits up, which is so crucial at this time.

FIVE FABULOUS FACTS The genie is out of the bottle and extensive remotely based work is here to stay. There will be big live conferences, exhibitions and events in the future but digital, remote and online will remain an important part of the mix. Embrace it! Over the past three months, we have had a lot of conversations with our clients and immersed ourselves in R&D. We are delighted to share with our industry partners the Five Fabulous Facts that we have learned: Great work can be done remotely, and we have proven it (said with heaps of modesty).

1 2

Collaboration does not have to be done committee-style, around a boardroom table. Most of us had already heard of this but only believe it now because we have actually seen it.

www.theplanner.guru


NETWORKSUPPORT

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You too can make changes to your current model. If you create value for clients, they will pay you. A tiny portion of our clients spend money with the intention of maxing out their budgets; the majority are looking for value and ROI. Give it to them and they will make the recent queues for toilet paper and hand sanitiser look like no big deal.

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The world has always been your oyster but now you can now have a dash of champagne too due to the mobility of a remote world. The rotten exchange rate might make your imported iPhone expensive but it’s going to make your invoice to a European or American client look like chump change. Recently, and in just 24 hours, our team ran events in Cape Town, Edinburgh, London, Johannesburg, Tunis and Vancouver. From this, we can see how the gig economy is set to shake up our industry even further. But think now: are you going to be an innovative, agile and profitable ride sharing company or a crusty disgruntled metred taxi owner?

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Fabulous Fact Four was a rhetorical question. “You've got it all. Believe it.” Let’s do this!

THE DREAM TEAM CATALYST REMOTE PORTFOLIO We provide a comprehensive suite of services that can benefit companies in all markets, big and small, and help them navigate the current challenges of running a remote team. Together with our colleagues from around the world – all who are at the top of their game and thought leaders blessed with creativity and intelligence – we have applied our collective expertise in delivering live creative team development, employee engagement and motivational experiences, to produce a range of world-class virtual activities. We spent exactly eight weeks creating a powerful portfolio of activities that address the needs of business owners and keep teams and individuals engaged, inspired and, most importantly, united. We have found these aspects form approximately 80% of our clients’ needs, which we place a strong emphasis on throughout our programmes.

Go Team, takes on a new face with Go Remote. With customisable quizzes, photo and video challenges, the captivating gameplay engages all members of a remote team and encourages a spirit of collaboration and unity. Our popular whodunnit thriller, Escape the Mob, is perfect for virtual teams that want to laugh more than learn. You take off on a virtual round-the-world adventure with our Race Around the World, where participants will virtually visit different countries and complete diverse tasks related to their chosen destination. Curve balls and the ‘wow’ factor abound in these very innovative experiences.

CREATIVITY FOR MOTIVATION AND ENGAGEMENT Expand creativity by allowing people to step outside their regular daily lives and into a world of make-believe. For an entertaining and engaging experience, why not create a movie together, publish a newspaper or dub a well-known video clip?

balance. Our remote well-being programmes include guided meditation, which can be easily enjoyed from any device, anytime, anywhere, while our Icebreakers and Energisers are effective for keeping your team motivated and engaged during daily online meetings. Get in touch – we’d be happy to share some ideas with you!

dream team CATALYST events@dreamteam.co.za +27 (0)11 805 4261 dreamteam.co.za

LEARN TOGETHER VIRTUALLY Virtual team learning gets a boost with our selection of business games. Our groundbreaking game, Peak Performance, as an example, is based on a team being led by a guide who go on an expedition up Mount Everest. Participants develop a greater understanding of the customer experience, accountability and synergy, and learn what it means to be an agile, highperforming team! For an explosive, iterative learning experience, ask us about the virtual version of one of our most popular team-building activities, The Infinite Loop.

STAYING HEALTHY FOR POSITIVE WELL-BEING Healthy workers are happier and more productive. A common complaint of remote workers is they work more hours, don’t take breaks and have no clear distinction between home and work-life

ENGAGE, COLLABORATE, CONNECT AND HAVE FUN! Beyond connecting to communicate and collaborate, remote teams must find ways of having fun together because this nurtures a culture of connectedness. We can tailor relevant and effective solutions to achieve these outcomes. Most are facilitated through a live video stream, although some are held offline. Our award-winning, technology-fuelled engagement platform,

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INDUSTRY NETWORK

A SHOCK TO THE SYSTEM After coming to a near halt, Lisa Roos from LIMO Networking talks about where the recovery might be for businesses in the hospitality and events industries that have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

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his is a rather sad time, seeing the business we have built over the years grind to a complete halt and, for me personally, the client retainers I had have been either cancelled, frozen or reduced. Working from home is something we have been doing for years but this is an all-new spin, as you have no break from home, the driving time to think and have telephonic conversations, visiting clients, running workshops. Perhaps the greatest impact on us all is the freedom and decision-making that we have been fortunate and privileged enough to enjoy, and that many of us have possibly taken for granted for so many years. Our days are now filled with Zoom meetings, webinars, and unending online and social media posts. Our roles as parents, teachers, business

Strand Hotel Swakopmund

Le Franschhoek Hotel and Spa

professionals, spouses and cooks are now culminating in one space, with little to no change of the current environment. You find yourself researching online classes, joining forums on Facebook groups, creating presentations and trawling through databases, all in the hope that when we get the call to lift the lockdown, we are ready to get cracking. Your mind may play tricks on you; one minute you laugh and share memes, then you start getting the shakes and your throat closes with the thought that you are losing everything you have worked for...

WHAT LIES AHEAD? Right now, we all need to prepare for a new normal. Thankfully, the portfolio of properties we have has started reopening. O&L Leisure

Mokuti Etosha Lodge

Amanzingwe Lodge

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Chobe Water Villas Hotels and Lodges have opened their doors to their locally based guests and we already have corporate travellers checking in. Strand Hotel Swakopmund, Mokuti Etosha Lodge and Midgard Country Estate all reopened their doors in early May, while Le Franschhoek Hotel and Spa used the lockdown for maintenance around the property. It reopened its doors as an essential services accommodation provider on 18 May. Chobe Water Villas will be reopening in June, while the family-friendly Amanzingwe will potentially be used as a Covid-19 quarantine venue over the next few months. Sadly, the HB Connect Conference and Events Centre, which is 90% conference and events dependent, will not have a reopening date for the foreseeable future. As our properties prepare with sanitising and cleaning, and we eagerly anticipate the return of our patrons, many are launching attractive specials – our Namibia properties, as one example, are extending the Namibia rates (SADC rates) to travellers. While it is clear we still have a long road ahead of us, let us also be grateful for the small victories and gains we are currently making. And with everything we do, let us be mindful that this is in the best interests of our clients and guests in the long run.

Midgard Country Estate

HB Connect Conference and Events Centre

Chobe Water Villas

Lisa Roos lisa@limonetworking.co.za +27 (0)82 700 0600

www.theplanner.guru


STANDBUILDER&MANUFACTURER

NEW ERA D

espite how some choose to ignore the rules and the conditions set, perhaps thinking they are infallible, I am sure that, by now, most of us know the lockdown drill – so I’m not going to talk to you about washing your hands and practising social distancing. Have you ever found yourself in a situation – pre-Covid-19 – that was actually of your own making, perhaps through lack of attention, care or responsibility, and where your very life was in peril? It may have seemed that there was no way out at the time, and yet, here we all are. We are exactly where we have placed ourselves as a species. The current circumstances are certainly not ideal but we are masters of our own destiny and captains of our own ship, so it is up to us what happens going forward.

FROM THE ASHES The exhibition, event and retail landscape is already forever altered. Buzzwords and catch phrases abound: the new normal, navigating uncharted territory, unprecedented, business unusual, trying times – to name a few. However, if we were to look at the situation in which we find ourselves from a slightly different perspective, we would also realise that there is a new dawn on the horizon. The legend of the phoenix begins with a spark falling from the heavens and igniting a great fire that consumes both a bird and its nest. Within three days, the bird – the phoenix – rises from the ashes, born again. A legendary tale indeed, famous for the many elements that it represents: life and death, creation and destruction, even time itself – but also, a new era.

ConCept G’s Gill Gibbs on how to be a Covid-19 survivor.

HOW IS CONCEPT G SHOWING UP? As a group of companies, we are studying, learning, researching, developing, ideating and innovating – digesting everything and transforming. We have played out the various possible and relevant scenarios, then applied solutions to each. This is a societal shift like none seen in our lifetime and our focus is on rebuilding and restoring, boldly and imaginatively, as we move further into the next decade.

We are a registered and certified ESP – Essential Service Provider – and we are developing customised, sustainable products for the long haul, with longevity and opportunity first and foremost. Connectedness is paramount, as is understanding that the world will never be the same again. New is good. We look forward to flattening the curve with you and, eventually, we will venture out into the new normal.

The secret of every rise, every improvement, every success, every progress is to be able to look at yourself from a distance and observe yourself from afar! Mehmet Murat Ildan

www.conceptg.co.za

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H TEAANDDI NBGU I L D E R S

SSQ Design’s Covid-19 SERVICE OFFERINGS The outbreak of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19), and the extreme measures that have been implemented by leaders around the world to delay and reduce the spread of the pandemic, has changed the world as we knew it, writes SSQ Design.

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his has changed the way we think, feel, interact and behave as people. It has also drastically changed the way we work. Apart from those businesses and their employees who have been deemed Essential Service Providers, South Africans have been requested to stay at home and work remotely. People who have never used technology for communication purposes, aside from emails, have become proficient users of Zoom, OneDrive, Teams, SharePoint and the like. Those businesses who rely on face-to-face interaction or mass gatherings in order to operate and generate income have had to close, mothball, or completely pivot their businesses in order to survive and remain viable during this time. SSQ Design operates within the exhibitions and commercial interior design industries, with a specific focus on the design and installation of: exhibition stands; activation sets; mall

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displays; pop-up shops; and office, retail and hospitality fit-outs. None of these are deemed essential services nor can they be offered remotely. Thus, we have been challenged to reinvent ourselves, expand our service offerings and introduce new products in line with the current situation. We have looked at what our clients need now and what they will need after lockdown. We have changed our strategy and our focus in order to continue servicing their needs as they evolve in response to lockdown and the implications of Covid-19. Our new product line consists of: • A range of economic, modular work-fromhome furniture solutions, including: couch desks, wall-mounted and freestanding desks, height adjustable desks, compact desk and shelving units, as well as adjustable laptop trays. These have become very popular not only for personal use but as branded corporate gifts. • Workspace social distancing solutions, including: washable desktop dividers, safety screens and space dividers that can be repurposed as marketing boards. • A range of hand sanitiser units – from industrial stands with foot pumps to beautifully aesthetic hands-free, as well as child-friendly, stands. • A full PPE catalogue including corporate branded masks, microfibre, triple-layer washable masks, KN95 and N95 masks, thermometers and gloves. • Reopening of office cleaning services: full cleaning of your office and complete sanitisation of high-contact areas.

• Office layout redesign to ensure social distancing regulations while optimising space and desk utilisation. • Temporary relief infrastructure, including tents, isolation rooms and ablution facilities. Although we have developed a Covid-19 product offering that offers immediate value to our clients, our core service remains that of the design and installation of exhibition stands, in addition to others. We look forward to our first day on-site with face masks, gloves and hand sanitisers at the ready.

Cara Nortman, CEO +27 (0)79 254 9572 Kim Kitchen, Managing Director +27 (0)82 330 4996 +27 (0)11 792 1241 info@ssqdesign.co.za ssqdesign.co.za

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EVENTS

RESPONDING TO

THE GLOBAL HEALTH CRISIS As part of a major international group, GL events South Africa reveals its response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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he world is currently faced with a health crisis that has urged many sectors to come together as one community in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. Like many other business sectors, the tourism and events industry has been extensively impacted following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement on a restriction of gatherings of over 100 people. This was later followed by a complete lockdown that put a ban on all social gatherings and encouraged people to work from home, with the exception of essential workers. Since then, our industry has taken a huge knock, as most planned activities for the year were postponed.

ASSESSING THE IMPACT In the first quarter of 2020, GL events Group’s revenues declined by 37.3% to €213.3 million (R4.27 billion), including a 0.7% decrease of organic growth. Olivier Ginon, chairman of GL events Group, commented: “After the solid performances of the first two months and under normal market conditions for March 2020, revenue in the 2020 first quarter would have reached nearly €320 million (R6.4 billion) – up 12% at a comparable

scope and biennial basis. However, in response to the evolving situation of the global health crisis and the administrative closures of event venues destined to receive the public, revenue for the first quarter registered a significant decline.”

+27 (0)11 210 2500 info.za@gl-events.com gl-events.co.za

THE RESPONSE In response to the pandemic, GL events has taken measures to protect the health and safety of its employees and stakeholders, Olivier says, and adds: “The group has also taken measures to preserve its financial resources, which include a series of cost-saving measures and the cancellation of its dividend payment. These different actions, combined with the group’s solid fundamentals, and the measures that governments are adopting to support the tourism and event industry sectors, will allow GL events to be prepared to rapidly resume its activities once the crisis has passed.” Following the decline of its revenues, in order to maintain profitability, the group is implementing a cost reduction plan that will generate savings in the period of more than €40 million (R800 million). As a regional branch of the group, GL events South Africa has remained committed to supporting the South African government in its

fight against Covid-19. We have employed our company's wealth of expertise and experience, and have designed solutions that will help reduce risks of spreading the virus. These solutions include a rapid deployment of our shell scheme, marquees and related infrastructure that can be used as medical checkpoints, an overflow for space management and other uses. We have also gone into the market with our innovative solution of implementing a dry shower sanitisation system, with decontamination units recommended for corporates, schools, shopping centres, hospitals and other crowded areas. As an organisation, we strive to be as adaptable to the new normal as possible, until the crisis is over. Our commitment remains the same, and we will continue to take the necessary response measures as a collective and extend our know-how in the fight against the pandemic.

DECONTAMINATION UNITS LEVEL 1 • Interior cladding • Exterior cladding • Access ramps • Branding LEVEL 2 • Exterior cladding • Branding LEVEL 3 • PVC cladding • Branding

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EVENT EXPERIENCES

CONVERSATION STARTER John Arvanitakis from Chat’r discusses the shock to the MICE industry in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and how his business is embracing innovation to provide creative and engaging eventing solutions.

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ith the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic still ongoing, we are all taking a big step back to understand how business can best survive, both financially and operationally.

The moment President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a nationwide lockdown two months ago, we saw business across the board go flat. Every event and project that Chat’r was working on was cancelled, and this has resulted in the

John Arvanitakis, CEO and founder of Chat’r

shutdown of some of our business. Sadly, for many, particularly those within the travel and tourism space, whole shutdowns have been and will be inevitable. Even with the easing of lockdown measures and a risk adjusted strategy to allow for the phased reopening of the economy, there is likely to still be a limitation on social gatherings for the better part of the year. Not knowing exactly when the meetings and events industry will recover or how this will take place, Chat’r has been closely exploring the means to ensure there is continuity of our activity within the eventing space.

THE TIME FOR ‘NEW’ IS NOW At Chat’r, we are committed to contributing to an industry that delivers rich experiences that

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CHAT’R get people talking. With the increased usage of digital in general that is driving the current engagement we are seeing taking place online, embracing the ‘new’ is going to be a means to keeping businesses ticking over and weathering the storm as comfortably as possible. The demand for digital solutions has been the inspiration for two new Chat’r offerings, which have already led to several successfully executed projects, all online. Chat’r TV is our recently launched production house that conceptualises and hosts digital events of all shapes and sizes, including exhibitions, confexes, product launches and webinars. This particular offering is aimed at supporting our clients’ messaging and – with customisable and brandable elements – we can provide them with a space they can make their own. We will then identify the best platform to run each event, which can either be broadcast live or made available on demand, or both. In addition, we are able to design our own platforms to support more bespoke solutions where there is a demand for it. Chat’r has also launched its own in-house series of webinars called Chat’r Box, which helps us communicate a range of issues that we believe can assist industry. We have already launched our first series that is especially aimed at the tourism and hospitality sectors; we realise that these sectors, together with events, have been among the hardest hit, not just in South Africa but globally. The hidden benefits of using these types of platforms is that our clients can be exceptionally precise in targeting audiences and, because everything is online, attendance and engagement metrics are much easier to obtain, which helps us benchmark the performance of each of our events and keep improving on what we do.

JOHN’S TOP TIP There has been a massive trend towards upskilling – from webinars to online courses, there are so many digital resources available to us that we can utilise to develop new and hone existing skill sets, all from the comfort of our homes. With these resources available to us at the click of the button, there is a huge opportunity to take advantage of what is currently available so shop around for what’s on offer.

RIDING THE DIGITAL WAVE It has been much easier for some to adapt to the sudden shift that was ushered in by the Covid-19 pandemic. A large portion of us are doing business in a way that now seems so far removed from where this virus and the numerous changes that have come with it first began. It has also meant that, for many, they are having to do a crash course in all things digital. With stats indicating that 90% of the world has spent nearly 77% more of their time online in the last two months, it is more important than ever before to be established in the online space and at the forefront of digital growth trends, and to remain connected. Prior to the pandemic, there was already a growing demand for live, or analogue, events to be hybridised with a digital stream running alongside this. What most do agree on is that,

even when restrictions on social gatherings ease to a point where we can hold events such as large conferences and exhibitions again, digital will still be a key feature. Due to its agility and reach, the world of digital is a marketer’s dream, and the pandemic has only thrust the need for engagement to take place in the digital world further into the spotlight.

Come what may from the virus, we at Chat’r believe that we will emerge from this with a much clearer idea of where we should be focusing our attention and that, invariably, it will point to us needing a kinder, more collaborative approach to ensure true sustainability of our business and industry.

+27 (0)83 415 2774 | john@chatr.solutions www.chatr.co.za

@chatrxp

@ChatrXperience

@chatrxp


INSIGHTS

CREATIVITY DURING CRISIS As creative strategists and design thinking facilitators, the Conceptual Eyes team has been designing the delegate experience for the past 10 years, and creativity is now more important than ever.

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he team at Conceptual Eyes (CE) has supported large sector expos, corporate conferences as well as off-site innovation/brainstorming sessions and now virtual events. Lindy Scott, creative director at CE, suggests that, based on her experience, the three common factors that determine event success are creative content, knowledge and relationships. Lindy

believes this remains true in the virtual space – and perhaps more critical than ever during the Covid-19 crisis. Allow delegates to navigate content, knowledge and relationships as easily as possible by creating a clear, simple message. The use of metaphors and concepts should be unambiguous and relatable to the audience. Design your virtual conference or meeting with the user in mind, being aware of eye strain and colour palette. Use visuals and storytelling tactics to keep your audience engaged.

Contact us for creative strategy, remote graphic recording, innovation services and creative tactics.

+27 (0)82 415 2771 conceptualeyes.co.za

CONCEPTUAL EYES EVENT INSIGHTS Event type

Creative content

Knowledge

Building relationships

Expo

Social media press releases and trending hashtags are key for any expo agenda. The more shareable content given to the delegate, the better.

Expos deliver high-level information/knowledge. Expos attract the best speakers, companies and delegates. Expos pride themselves on facilitating thought leadership.

Expos offer quality lead generation and networking. Most expos host large afterparties or exclusive events, giving delegates and exhibitors the opportunity to build relationships.

Corporate conference

Clear, high-energy content that will inspire delegates but also have longevity to be used as visual reminders post event.

These events bring together key individuals to discuss business, share critical information and strategy. Keynote speakers and leadership are vital.

These events are designed to create camaraderie, break down barriers and build trust.

Innovation sessions

For these types of events, cocreated content is vital. Providing a framework or creative resources is a good tactic and ensures delegates have an active role in creating the content.

Information for innovation sessions needs to have clear governance. Innovation sessions require guidelines and outcomes.

Innovation calls for leveraging diverse thinking and bringing together different perspectives. The relationships formed should inspire new ways of thinking and partnerships.

New world of virtual events

Content needs to be clear and simple. Have a bold message and low-saturation colour palette. Virtual content requires high-speed internet and well-thought-out curation of content. Video or audio recording of sessions is important. Low-resolution content is key – be mindful of file sizes and data usage.

Information needs to be in the hands of the delegate. Allow for different time zones and formats of information to be available. Shorter events with fewer speakers are the common trend.

Building meaningful relationships online can be difficult. Design time and tactics into your events to allow for networking. The comment sections are popular but can be distracting. The use of video is not always possible. Ensure your session is secure, and data is protected.

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TECHNOLOGY

SOLUTIONS DRIVEN With a passion for phenomenal digital experiences, VOD Group is working to find solutions around the Covid-19 crisis through their powerful platforms

A

s the largest hospitality service and guest experience provider in the 150+ room market in Africa, we at VOD Group have taken it upon ourselves to use this time to assist our clients during these tough times and to ensure that, as a company and industry, we come out stronger than ever. Through our array of digital communication and entertainment options, VOD Group is providing an added element its clients to include alongside their existing offerings. Partnered with a vast number of global brands and hospitality experts, VOD Group provides world-class platforms to international and independent hotel groups, schools, universities, retail and corporate clients, which deliver an end-user experience that will exceed expectations and stay relevant and upgradable for years to come. VOD Group has been recognised as an essential business and during this time, will be working to ensure delivery on all client commitments, with precautions taken to allow staff to travel safely to where they need to be.

strengthen our knowledge and expertise on all of our supplier and partner products. We have achieved fantastic results by completing online and e-learning courses provided by each respective supplier, as well as many instructor-led webinars that delve deep into the systems we offer and give us a greater understanding of how each tool can be used to meet our clients’ needs. This in turn will enable us to provide the best guest experience and customer support possible. THE VOD GROUP PROMISE VOD Group is committed to assisting the

hospitality industry wherever we can as a means to protecting not just our future interests, but all those who rely on it. Together with our partners, VOD Group stands with all those who have been affected in these times. We hope that each and every industry, company and individual affected will make a full recovery and that we will see you on the other side.

UPSKILLING We at VOD Group understand the

importance of training and upskilling, and we are utilising as much time as we can to

HIGHLIGHTS SERVING… • 100+ hotels • 25 000+ guest rooms • Leading hotel chains and independent hotels

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For more information, visit the VOD Group website: vodmedia.tv

FUSION TECHNOLOGY SUPPORTS… • 40 million unique sessions per year •1  50 000 concurrent users across partner hotels, with peaks above 200 000

Hospitality TV VOD Media offers a large selection of hospitality TVs and IPTV compatible platforms. Fusion TV provides hotel guests a personalised viewing experience, by linking guest room TV sets to the IP network without any extra cabling.

Managed networks VOD Media’s network engineers will ensure that the infrastructure is of world-class standards, meeting current and future needs to complement the offered solutions.

Cast to TV Enhance the guest experience by enabling your guests to cast their content on to the hotel TV, simply by using their favourite apps on their device.

Internet access VOD Media’s systems are built specifically to address the needs of an increasingly connected world and the demand for strong, reliable Wi-Fi.

Digital signage VOD Media incorporates various digital signage solutions into IPTV systems, eliminating the need for multiple suppliers.

Digital headend The Chameleon digital headend offers limitless available channels that can be broadcast to an unlimited number of TV units.

Electronic locks The Hoist RFID lock provides a secure and reliable solution while giving guests a more comfortable and pleasant stay. This is compatible with the Hoist Mobile Key Solution.

Conference tool Take full technical control over your meeting spaces and set up a conference network and customised access codes with just a few mouse clicks.

INTERFACING WITH… • 120 hotel PMS and customer databases, on-site and above property • Third-party services – e.g. telephony and call rating, roaming, building management systems, room controls, digital signage, mobile apps, phones, tablets, etc.

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MARKETING

THE DIGITAL DIFFERENTIATOR Nadia Hearn, founder of Get Published, discusses the importance of creating brand purpose through digital and emotional communication strategies.

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n today’s vast, ever-changing market, it has become vital to connect customers with the business and its brand story. Brands that have clarity on their purpose digitally are known to financially outperform those that do not. Having seen the benefits of shifting and gearing brand communications towards new digital cultures, understanding emotional branding and marketing is more important than ever before. Even during Covid-19 lockdown and beyond, actioning strategic and tactical shifts towards digital communication platforms is crucial to business survival – communication has moved completely into a digital focus over the last few months, particularly as remote working and stayat-home regulations pushed audiences online. Sadly, traditional media houses shutting their doors is a clear indicator that spend has shifted largely towards digital communication media.

38 • LOCKDOWN HEROES | MEETINGS 2020

CONNECT MEANINGFULLY WITH AUDIENCES In order for businesses to still reach their markets and minimise a dip in overall sales, they need to allocate marketing funding and activities to smart digital solutions. It is key for brands to ensure maximum engagement digitally, and the businesses that understand the emotional element of communicating how they support other business, or the public, have in most instances found the increased shift to digital less painful. Not only do businesses compete with innovative trends among their industry peers and need to stay abreast with disruptive technologies that may provide them with leading unique selling points (USPs), but they also contest with consumers’ low confidence and high budgetary caution. The solution to this is to define the brand purpose of the business – an ownable point of view that delivers genuine value to consumers. Those that already understand how to engage and keep their customers emotionally invested in their brand and organisational offerings will have buy-in because it is clear to customers why they need to be part of their brand. This is also often referred to as the brand story. In short, it is the intention of the business as envisioned by its founders. OWN IT As we battle out the economic impact of Covid-19, it is a good time to consider reviewing

ABOUT NADIA HEARN Nadia Hearn is a leading brand authority for South Africa’s small business sector. She is an international speaker, a radio talk show host on 2oceansvibe Radio and the founder of Get Published. If you enjoyed this article, follow Nadia Hearn on social media or sign up for her blog at nadiahearn.co.za. how successful a brand positioning strategy defines the brand as ‘ownable’. What is the actionable impact of the brand? How does it influence the lives of its target market? This positioning resides at the juncture of what the brand offers the world and its intended target customer’s deepest cares and desires. Why is it important to businesses? It is proven that ‘me too’ companies struggle and fail compared to businesses that can connect and engage their target customer with their brand story. With almost all communications moving digital, engagement is the ‘now’ gold currency

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GETPUBLISHED It is not enough just to make a brand promise of low prices, good products, or services; it is no longer what separates one brand from another, rather it is through having a defined brand purpose in branding. This is simply because a brand is the relationship the target market or public have with the brand, including their thoughts and feelings – also often referred to as brand perception. Their relationship with the brand is what will develop into brand loyalty and later brand insistence – the sweet spot any brand would like to be in. The intention of the brand is the key. Think of Apple or Nike, who sell a lifestyle and not a product. Lockdown or no lockdown, do we change our brand preferences? No, not where there is an emotional investment. Their customers insist on buying their products because they have already bought into the brand intention, or story. There are two foundational questions that should be posed to establish the purpose statement. First, what is the brand’s ultimate reason for being? And second, if the brand had to disappear tomorrow, what gap would there be? Working on the purpose statement aligns the brand with its brand purpose. A company whose employees can answer a key question – “Why are we here?” – will also be the brand that makes stronger connections with customers in search of solutions to life’s new challenges. CLEAR PURPOSE The importance of building a brand on a purpose, not simply a promise, is also critical to help employees, or associates – in fact, all stakeholders – understand ‘why they are here’. The key is to work on an internal communications strategy that engages employees to understand their reason for being, and then the reason for being at work. It needs to clarify their roles and signify their intrinsic value to the organisation. Get the in-house in order, as this is where true brand reputation is born. Align the remote work cultures, enable them to be able to pass this on in all daily communication. With the above in mind, people care only about the ‘why’. Why must they trust, try, engage, care, want and share with your brand? Forget about positioning brands around the benefits and ‘what’ it is; focus on this approach,

meetnadiahearn

unpack the ‘how’ it does what it does; this is what makes the brand different. Other tactics include highlighting the consumer pain or problem and connecting how the brand offers an answer or solution. Think digital – you have a split second to catch your audience’s eye and to get their attention. Once an emotional connection with why it matters to them has been established, they will be engaged and listen to what exactly it is that will solve, impact or improve themselves or their business.

the core is always the ‘why’ – the very reason for the business and brand’s existence. Ensure the ‘why’ is communicated first in the brand message across all your platforms, so that it can resonate with the intended audience. Then,

nadiahearn

+27 (0)74 923 3835 +27 (0)21 556 3217 nadia@get-published.co.za get-published.co.za

nadiahearn


WHEN THE WORLD RETURNS HOME Africa Travel Week Connect – a virtual hub packed with interesting content, industry news and insights as well as the opportunity to hear from experts on a variety of topics in our new monthly webinar series. All with the aim to keep all of us in the travel and tourism industry connected. ATW Connect will focus on inbound and outbound markets for general leisure tourism, luxury travel, LGBTQ+ travel and the MICE/business travel sector as well as travel technology.

www.atwconnect.com


AFRICATRAVELWEEK

WHERE THE WORLD RETURNS HOME Reed Exhibitions Africa has kept its finger on the pulse and overhauled Africa Travel Week to chart a course ahead for the future of the African travel trade.

O

ver the past few weeks, the Africa Travel Week team at Reed Exhibitions Africa have had their ear to the ground, catching up with all the key players and listening to the travel industry’s needs in this uncertain time. And, what they found was that the industry needs to connect with each other more than ever. It is for this very reason that Reed Exhibitions Africa has revitalised Africa Travel Week (ATW). The rebrand promotes the beauty of the African continent and invites the “world to return home”.

What the current situation has highlighted is that nothing will ever truly replace the importance and benefits of face-to-face interaction – particularly in our industry. We hope that ATW Connect will become a go-to resource for the industry to access critical information and share creative ways to remain relevant. Megan Oberholzer, portfolio director: Travel, Tourism & Creative Industries

ATW comprises World Travel Market Africa (WTMA), International Luxury Travel Market Africa (ILTMA), EQUAL Africa, ibtm Africa, Travel Forward, and the African Travel and +SETE & ATIS. ATW will bring these premier B2B travel trade entities in the host city of Cape Town with WTM Africa scheduled to kick off the week at the CTICC from 7 to 9 April 2021. The event will be more important than ever for the travel and tourism sector to secure business following a devastating halt due to Covid-19.

CONNECTING DIGITALLY In parallel, ATW has been working very hard to bring you ATW Connect – a virtual hub bursting with interesting content, industry news and insights, and the opportunity to hear from experts on a variety of topics. “Events as we know them have been disrupted and we have been forced to embrace new solutions for our partners. Adversity often helps us to foster innovation and our current reality has prompted the rapid development of online platforms,” says Megan Oberholzer, portfolio director for the Travel, Tourism & Creative Industries Department. “ATW Connect is full of information about how to survive, and grow travel-related businesses at a time when at least 146 countries have imposed travel restrictions for the foreseeable future,” she says. It is estimated that 91% of the world’s population, or 7.1 billion people, currently live in countries where borders are shut, or only open for essential travel.

FOCUS POINTS Digital resource ATW Connect will focus on inbound and outbound markets for general

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leisure tourism, luxury travel, LGBTQ+ travel and the MICE/business travel sector, as well as travel technology. A key aim of ATW is to provide ways for travel industry professionals to support each other and share vital information that will allow the industry to survive this tumultuous time – and be ready to grow the industry again when travel restrictions are lifted. The hub will feature four sections: • The Knowledge Centre is comprised of mustread articles with updates and trends from key industry professionals and experts focusing on LGBTQ+ travel, luxury travel, business travel, responsible travel and travel technology. • Industry Connect is a place to share positive news from travel professionals and will contain a library of videos from industry speakers and professionals, offering information and inspiration. • Destination Focus keeps the travel dream alive by putting a spotlight on various destinations that form part of the ATW family. • Armchair Travel showcases the beauty of Africa and ATW exhibitors’ incredible destinations and products.

ATW Connect, in collaboration with travel content and marketing agency Big Ambitions, launched the first part of its virtual series on Thursday, 7 May 2020. To stay up to date on this and more, visit atwconnect.com

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CATERING

CONTACT BARMOTION FOR MORE INFO info@barmotion.co.za 0861 937 625 www.barmotion.co.za

VIRTUAL HOSPITALITY BOXES

Business

UNUSUAL After the events industry changed almost overnight, Barmotion reveals how it is shifting its focus to offering hospitality solutions for the duration of the new ‘normal’.

B

armotion has diversified its range of offerings to facilitate new ways to help our clients get their message out there. Virtual events are now the way forward until we manage to navigate our way through the Covid-19 pandemic. We have done some out-of-the-box thinking and have come up with a few solutions that we know our clients will love. This will help to get their delegates excited and keep them engaged in their virtual events. We understand the importance of delivering your message across as many brandable platforms for the maximum desired effect – and we have included these options in our Virtual Hospitality Boxes.

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Let your delegates experience your online event, inside their home office, while delivering your message virtually. The value of face-to-face interaction will never go away but, right now, we must readjust our focus and reinvent our product offering for our clients. We have various Virtual Hospitality Boxes available that include, for example, our Health snack pack or our Premium snack pack. These include delicious snacks and premium beverages and all elements can be branded with a client’s logo or message. We will deliver these boxes directly to all participants’ homes so they can enjoy the hospitality provided for the duration of the virtual event.

CLICK AND CONNECT BAR Even when things do start to move further towards normality, it will still take a while before we can interact and engage in the way were – close human interaction will be kept to a minimum for some time to come. To combat this, we have created our Click and Connect bar. Our Click and Connect bar is an innovate way to offer our mobile bar solutions to run with little to no human interaction. • We set up our bar in an isolated area where the production of our fresh premium products can take place; parallel to this, we create an online order platform incorporating the client’s logo and messaging. • This online platform will be shared and circulated among your event participants, who would make their selection from our bar offering and place their order. • The bar will receive the order and produce the product – which would then be left at the pickup point with the recipient’s name on, ready for them to collect and enjoy. We have also created a few alternatives to our delicious hospitality bar solutions such as our Hygiene Stations, which can be used at the entrances to buildings and events. Our care packs can be added to any of the above offerings, and include a face mask, gloves and hand sanitiser pack.

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DESTINATION

MICE IN MAURITIUS Through the careful management of stringent hygiene and sanitisation measures, Mauritius has kept itself insulated from the novel coronavirus pandemic and is open for business.

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he current use of technology to host meetings, workshops and events is a temporary measure until lockdowns and travel bans due to the Covid-19 pandemic are lifted. During this time, the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority (MTPA) would like to reassure the MICE industry that Mauritius is still very much open for business. This is evident as airlines, incentive houses, PCOs and groups agents continue to promote Mauritius as the idyllic Indian Ocean destination to cater for all your MICE needs. Infection rates of Covid-19 have remained low in Mauritius and the country has put in place stringent safety, health and hygiene measures to protect the public. At the time of writing, Mauritius had recorded 332 infections in total, and had announced no new infections for the past 14 days. “We are encouraged by the statistics, as well as our government’s huge efforts to curb the infection rate and put in place effective health and safety measures,” says Arvind Bundhun, director of the MTPA. Mauritius is a vibrant, friendly and beautiful country. Not only does it have some of the best luxury resorts and beaches on the planet, it is also a unique melting pot of cultures that you won’t find anywhere else in the world. The variety of adventure, sports and other lifestyle

44 • LOCKDOWN HEROES | MEETINGS 2020

activities also make it an ideal destination for those who want the unique MICE experience for their guests. The MICE industry is an important cog in the MTPA’s tourism strategy, realising great economic benefits from this segment to the country’s GDP. “We know that the skies will open up again. Those travellers who have come to know and love Mauritius – and those who plan to visit for the first time – will get the opportunity to visit and experience the island’s amazing warmth and hospitality. “Mauritius and South Africa have long enjoyed a magical relationship and we are confident this

will continue as soon as it is safe to travel again,” adds Arvind. PLAN TO MEET IN MAURITIUS Why not plan your next MICE trip to Mauritius? The paradise island offers an array of luxurious venues, staffed by professional and dedicated support teams, to deliver a unique, world-class event, with a touch of island-style colour and flair. Mauritius is fast becoming one of Africa’s tourism and meetings jewels, offering scenic beauty, hidden treasures to explore and an exotic melting pot of cuisines and cultures. Just a short flight from South Africa’s three major

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MAURITIUS cities, it offers visa-free entry for South African passport holders. MICE MARKET Mauritius presents the MICE buyer with all required infrastructure to cater for a variety of groups and sizes, year round. While the MICE market trend is uncertain after Covid-19, there has been talk of a focus on smaller, regular incentive groups rather than larger events. Whatever MICE industry trends hold going forward, as a MICE-friendly destination, Mauritius has all the key ingredients to delight and deliver. The quality and variety of accommodation, the attention to detail in service delivery, state-ofthe-art conferencing venues, professional and friendly staff, and the additional activities on offer all guarantee a unique experience. HEALTH AND SAFETY Currently, the health and safety of all citizens and residents on the island remain the Mauritian government’s greatest concern and priority. However, once the tourism market opens again, this same concern will be passed on to all visitors to ensure they enjoy the full Mauritius experience, while adhering to the stipulated regulations and protocol. All hotels and tourism operators will comply with all local regulations and directives from the government and abide by the recommendations of the local health authorities. Innovative health and sanitary protocols and precautionary measures have been put in place – from arrival in the country and throughout hotel stays, extending to all excursions and activities outside the hotels – to eliminate completely all risk and ensure a safe, warm welcome to all visitors, including those who serve the MICE sector. Social distancing measures can be implemented easily across all experiences, whether it be the beach, restaurant seating, conferencing, eventing or room allocations. Hosting a group or event

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in low season (May to September) can be well accommodated, as occupancy is lower and rooms can be allocated with this precautionary measure in mind. CONFERENCE FACILITIES Boasting the largest and most modern convention facility in the Indian Ocean region, the Swami Vivekananda Conference Centre provides all the amenities needed for large, international conferences, accommodating up to 5 000 pax. Other venues include the International Conference Centre in Grand Baie (up to 600 pax) and Trianon Convention Centre in Trianon (up to 3 000 pax). Many Mauritian hotels also offer conference facilities and can cater for up to 800 pax at a time, with spectacular marquees and setups on the hotel properties. ACTIVITIES The island boasts a variety of activities specifically geared for MICE groups, ranging from golf to adventure sports such as quad-biking, trekking, mountain biking, trail-running, zip-lining, fishing, kite-surfing, parasailing, canoeing and sky-diving, together with a host of water sports. The island also offers stunning outdoor locations for interactive and adrenalin-fuelled activities and adventures perfect for team-

building exercises. There are also many cultural festivities and spiritual festivals that take place on the island that can be enjoyed. WHEN TO VISIT Mauritius has a tropical climate, with warm weather all year round. The best months to visit are from May to December, when the weather is cooler, dry and sunny. Enjoy everything that Mauritius has to offer as your ideal MICE destination, combining quality, elegance and style, in a paradise island setting!

Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority – SA Representative: Janet de Kretser / Philippa Piguet – Meropa Communications +27 (0)11 506 7300 mauritius@meropa.co.za tourism-mauritius.mu ratherbeinmauritius.co.za

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LOGISTIC S

At a time when it is needed most, Avis has stepped up its hygiene standards and service offering to provide customers with peace of mind and exclusive offers.

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he safety of Avis customers and staff is of paramount importance to us, and we are closely monitoring the news, information, advice and guidance from the World Health Organization regarding the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic. To keep you safe during your rental experience and minimise the risk of exposure to Covid-19, our staff are continuing to enforce the strictest hygiene and preventative standards, as well as using enhanced car cleaning processes. For our vehicles, we have enhanced the already robust cleaning techniques used for our vehicles after each rental – giving special attention to places that people often touch, such as door handles, steering wheels, controls and other hard surfaces, by cleaning these with an alcoholbased sanitiser. We also clean all our facilities frequently with recommended sanitising products. This includes work surfaces, telephone handsets, computer keyboards, laptops, tablets, cell phones and frequently handled equipment. We have placed hand sanitisers at key points in all our sites to encourage customers, suppliers, visitors and employees to constantly clean their hands. Avis is taking steps to ensure the welfare of our employees and this includes instructing all those who feel ill to stay at home and consult

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their healthcare providers. All our staff are informed to be vigilant about frequent handwashing. We strongly advise against direct personal contact such as handshakes and hugging, as this could also transmit the virus.

ADDED MEASURES As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to dominate the economy, we at Avis are committed to taking the weight off the shoulders of our valued customers with the phased re-opening of our rental locations for your convenience. To assist with essential travel during these challenging times, we have put in place offers for you and your loved ones to get home safely or wherever you need to be. Essential workers can rent vehicles from R150* per day and customers need only provide the correct paperwork and authorisation for long-distance travel. We also have our Avis Chauffeur driven transfer services with authorised permits to assist with essential services and transportation requirements. Our professional and experienced chauffeurs are available to drive you or your loved ones to and from essential shopping, giving you complete peace of mind. We are also here to assist with transportation for repatriation.

STAYING SAFE In an effort to keep both you, our customer, and our Avis Brand Ambassadors safe, you are kindly requested to comply with the following before entering our rental locations: • Wear a suitable mask • Allow temperature screening • Maintain social distancing principles at all times • Provide proof of authorisation to travel • Apply hand sanitiser provided • Don’t touch your face • Cough into your bent elbow

Visit avis.co.za

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VIRTUAL EVENT HOSPITALITY SOLUTIONS

Hosting a Zoom meeting? Webinar? We have you covered for any

VIRTUAL EVENT

Our new range of virtual hospitality boxes will keep your delegates smiling and engaged! Your logo here!

Enjoy your Zoom Meeting in

style!

0861 WE ROCK (93 7625) | info@barmotion.co.za | www.barmotion.co.za


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Meetings - LOCKDOWN HEROES 2020