Page 1

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2019 • Issue 82

Event 5 Technology Trends in 2019

New and Bespoke Offerings The Business of Magic

“We can make a difference and we believe that if you meet in South Africa, this difference will be even greater.”


strengthens its value proposition in 2019

Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo Chief Convention Bureau Officer of the South Africa National Conventions Bureau

R50.00 (incl. VAT) ISSN 1684-9264

Everyone went the extra mile and worked together with our team as ‘partners’ to ensure the success of our Annual Congress event. Amanda Stops

CEO South African Council of Shopping Centres (SACSC)

Nestling in the shadow of the majestic Table Mountain, and overlooking the spectacular Atlantic Ocean, the CTICC is a magical place where the imagined becomes real, visions turn into strategies, consumers become customers, and strangers from across the globe become colleagues, partners and friends. So much more than a multi-purpose event destination, this African icon combines expansive venues, impeccable service, cutting-edge technology and the finest global cuisine, to transform your convention, conference, exhibition, banquet or meeting into an extraordinary experience. For more information, or to book your event at the CTICC, call +27 21 410 5000, email or visit

january/february 2019




CONNECT WITH US The Planner @theplannerguru @theplannerguru

BEST PRACTICE 12 Making it hang together While the range of decor options available to the world of eventing is seemingly endless, making your decor make sense for both your event and budget is what will determine the final look and feel.

14 E ngineering outcomes John Arvanitakis,

In this special focus section, Meetings presents the industry’s new, recently launched and unique offerings that aim to entice and excite the events industry. We showcase the leading venue and service offerings in 2019’s installment of New and Bespoke Offerings.

founder of Chat’r Xperience, is upbeat about the year ahead for the South African business events industry and gives Meetings some critical insights into where we need to focus our energies.

17 5 event technology trends to look out for NEW AND BESPOKE OFFERINGS

The King Kong of content


The industry man

04 Craig Newman, CEO of the JEC and the first person to be elected from an African country to be president of UFI, weighs in on the game-changing role the JEC plays within the local exhibitions industry.


The content and messaging behind your event or conference can make or break your occasion. Meetings informs your content strategy.


in 2019 Ultimate Data Science’s Brad Montgomery lists his top five meeting and event tech trends for 2019.

28 Technology on tap The advent and adoption of information and communication technologies and the internet of just about everything has revolutionised events in particular. Meetings delves deeper.

FEATURED 27 The Business of Magic Magic: the very word conjures whimsy and delight but how can it be used in a corporate space? Master illusionist Ilan Smith demonstrates.

33 Gallagher Convention Centre Established in 1993, Gallagher Convention Centre has since become a benchmark venue in the events industry.




No shrinking violet

08 Meetings looks at the last few years of meetings and business events with the SANCB’s Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo and takes a sneak peek at what the future holds for the industry.


REGULARS 02 Ed’s letter 06 Tidbits 35 20 Questions 40 Miss Meet

Tour in South Africa (TiSA) Tour in South Africa (TiSA) is a newly formed travel company based in Pretoria, offering various tours throughout South Africa.

+27 (0)82 579 5646

We also do group transfers, transport to and from big events, single weekend breakaways, golf tours etc.


Tour in South Africa

Publisher Elizabeth Shorten Managing Editor Shanna Jacobsen ( Digital Editor Mpinane Senkhane Chief Sub-Editor Tristan Snijders Sub-Editor Morgan Carter Head of design Beren Bauermeister Contributors Aloysius Arlando, Michelle Hinrichsen, Lisa-

A better you

Jade Merven, Brad Montgomery, Rudi van der Vyver, Leatitia van Straten Client Services & Production Manager

Antois-Leigh Botma Financial Manager Andrew Lobban Distribution Manager Nomsa Masina Distribution Coordinator Asha Pursotham Advertising

Vanessa De Waal +27 (0)84 805 6752 | published by 46 Milky Way Ave, Frankenwald, 2065 PO Box 92026, Norwood 2117, South Africa Tel: +27 (0)11 233 2600 Fax: +27 (0)11 234 7274/75 Meetings January/February 2019 © Copyright. All rights reserved 2019. subscription R330.00 per annum (incl. VAT) | 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.

member of

in collaboration with

Take the online Q&A test and start gaining credits.

“Great leadership usually starts with a willing heart, a positive attitude, and a desire to make a difference.” — Mac Anderson


his year, I am seeing more determination than ever before – from individuals and industry alike. As Miss Meet can attest to on page 40, 2019 will not be any easier than last year, but perhaps with a combination of head and heart, we can aspire to much greater heights. As Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo, one of the industry’s most prominent figures, says in this issue’s Big Interview, we should be driven towards co-opetition. Bids across our country are done on a rotational basis so that the opportunity to host an event is available to everyone – why not do the same for service providers and venues? John Arvanitakis, CEO of Chat’r Xperience, weighs in a little more with possible angles, on page 15, for wider inclusion of the various aspects of the industry. In this issue of Meetings, we are also looking forward to the new and bespoke offerings from the industry – from venues to incentives, international and local. Turn to page 18 to unpack this exciting section that also includes a feature on structuring content and messaging for your market. In a similar vein, while the emphasis is very much on the how and why, there are subtle psychological tools that can be used

to enhance your event – read on page 12 how decor and lighting can add unique flair to your event by creating a strong visual experience and make a positive impact on your attendees that will leave them feeling as if they have been immersed in an engaging experience that cannot be bought elsewhere. An expert in the art of subtlety is Ilan Smith, master illusionist and mentalist (page 27). Ilan has made a career out of tapping into people’s minds and imaginations to inspire us with his brilliant tricks and sleight of hand to create our own magic in everything we do. Lastly, a continuing trend during this year, particularly within the world of events and business travel, will be eventing with a purpose. Whether you are driven towards sustainability or social upliftment and empowerment, nothing we do is ever without meaning. This year, whatever we do, let’s ensure that it creates genuine meaning and has a wider impact than how much money we make. Let’s make that the world is a richer place while ensuring that we do no harm in the process.


TROPHIES - AWARDS - MEDALS +27(0) 12 327 5885 | | 




The Industry Man Craig Newman, CEO of the Johannesburg Expo Centre (JEC), is the first person to be elected from an African country to be president of the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (UFI). He weighs in on the game-changing role the JEC plays within the local exhibition industry.


he year gone by was a tough one for the exhibitions and, more broadly, the events industry as a whole. This was seen not just locally in South Africa but globally, where a tightening of budgets has been witnessed across the board. “Under the circumstances, 2018 went relatively well. The economy is tough. Exhibitions and events around the world have been tough and we see the trend in the numbers, with companies and organisations cutting down on spend,” says Craig. This in no way means that the JEC is going to slow down during 2019 and event organisers and attendees can look forward to more emphasis on client satisfaction over the course of the year. “One of the aspects we need to focus on is



Craig Newman CEO, JEC

being more proactive for our clients and visitors by anticipating their needs and providing the necessary support. Ultimately, we need to step up our game to offer a more complete service to our existing and potential client bases,” says Craig. “Special attention should be paid to existing clients with whom we’ve built a rapport and whose specific needs we have come to understand over multiple events. However, it is equally important that we show as much attention for new clients, whose hands we need to hold as we guide them through a seamless, first-time experience with us,” he adds.

Switching it up Craig has envisioned a clear way forward to navigate the current tough economic climate and

Johannesburg Expo Centre

the challenges the market is experiencing. As well as a more focused approach towards the JEC’s clients’ needs, in its quest for new business, the venue is also adapting how it interacts with its market and is placing an increasing emphasis on this through its existing channels as well as social media. “The contribution made by big international exhibitions has been affected by the current economy, which is under strain. This has impacted the movement of people and enterprises towards exhibitions. This has made it very challenging for people to travel and attend exhibitions or conferences around the world. As such, there has been a trend of shrinking of participation at events,” notes Craig, highlighting that this in itself presents the JEC with a golden opportunity.


Realising that clients don’t have growing budgets and that, going forward, this will be the trend, the JEC has had to rethink how it positions its own offering. “We can’t only put up our pricing so we need to look at what we can offer, as a venue and as a service provider. We want our clients to know that we understand that times are challenging but that we are still here for them and that we are more determined than ever to go the extra mile to make sure that, for the people who are still able to attend events and functions, their experience is great. Therefore, this interaction with our clients is critical. We need to secure and sustain the business going forward, which is only going to happen if we are giving our customers that seamless experience,” says Craig.

An inclusive agenda The JEC is a firm believer that no player is too big or too small to be part of its network and it strives to ensure that any person or company working on a particular event shares its passion and dedication to client satisfaction. “In everything that we do, as far as delivering events and exhibitions goes, we try to find ways to bring the smaller organisations and service providers into an advantageous position where they can deal with top clients,” says Craig. The benefit of such an opportunity is made evident in how the JEC has helped expand the operation of its plants supplier who, as a small business owner, in the last year has tripled his stock after becoming a preferred service provider to the venue. Craig highlights how this

sort of drive is very much in line with UFI’s own objectives, which are rooted in inclusion and expansion of the industry at an international level. Despite being a global body, UFI’s policies are consistent across the world, but Africa especially is currently a major focus for the organisation. “The advantage with me leading the organisation is that we can look at how we can grow and sustain the industry players in Africa,” Craig elaborates. South Africa has already achieved global acclaim for its status as Africa’s foremost exhibition destination and is seen in international markets as the gateway to the rest of the continent – and the country is now competing on a global level. Underscoring this, Craig points out: “We have the infrastructure, we have the expertise and we have the experience. It puts us in the lead as far as destinations go on the continent and if we assist within UFI to expand the events and exhibitions industry, it’s going to benefit South Africa from an investment point of view.”

+27 (0)11 494 1920



Meetings’ must-know minutia

R1.6 billion investment into Golden Mile bolsters Durban tourism offering Waze partners with TGCSA Immensely popular navigation app Waze has partnered up with the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa (TGCSA) to allow users to see the graded venues in the areas in which they are travelling. The initiative seeks to promote graded venues across the country and the partnership with Waze, the world’s largest community-based traffic and navigation app, will be a means to supporting this. “We are on a constant drive to continuously enhance the benefits of getting graded by the TGCSA. This partnership not only assists consumers with locating our graded establishment members, but also drives traffic to them,” says Darryl Erasmus, chief quality assurance officer, TGCSA.

Sun City recovers following freak storm The North West province was hit hard by a freak hailstorm in mid-December that caused severe damage to the Sun City resort in particular. While much of the fallout from the deluge was cleared within two days following the storm, the main hotel remained closed into the new year to allow for an extensive clean-up and refurbishment of the lobby area that sustained significant damage. “The Soho Hotel, the resort’s main hotel, suffered the greatest damage to its rooms. An insurance assessment indicated that damage is greater than anticipated,” said Raul de Lima, group executive at Sun City. Up to 200 rooms at Sun City’s hotels were damaged but operations were expected to be fully restored by January 7.

JMIC enters 2019 with a new charter and constitution The Joint Meetings Industry Council (JMIC) has set the course for the year ahead and during its final meeting of 2018, members reached a consensus on a number of key structural changes that are intended to guide the ongoing development of the industry representation body. At the same meeting, JMIC members elected a new president,


Durban’s Golden Mile – the popular stretch of beachfront that runs from uShaka Beach to Suncoast Casino Hotels & Entertainment in the north – has received a R1.6 billion investment, courtesy of Tsogo Sun’s refurbishment of Suncoast. Tsogo Sun’s footprint on the Golden Mile includes five hotels spanning 3.3 km and represents a total investment of R370 million in renovations in the last five years. The Suncoast redevelopment project is Tsogo Sun’s largest single investment into a property in its history and provides Durban with a world-class entertainment destination that will attract both local and international visitors. Commenting on Tsogo Sun’s strategy of unlocking growth through capital investment, Glenn Joseph, COO of Tsogo Sun Gaming, said: “Tsogo Sun has spent over R4 billion on casino and hotel refurbishments in the past five years, R1.6 billion of which has been invested into Suncoast in the last 24 months. It has been the bulk of our capital expenditure focus and is testament to our confidence in South Africa, and Durban in particular.” Tsogo Sun has a portfolio of over 100 hotels and 14 casino and entertainment destinations throughout South Africa, Africa and the Seychelles.

British Airways goes big in Africa Kai Hattendorf, CEO of the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (UFI), who will see the Council through the next two years of activities. The JMIC presidency is taken in turn by leaders from the Council’s member organisations, and as a long-standing member of JMIC, UFI is well positioned to help advance the overall industry agenda. “We now have a clear and collectively accepted picture of what we all feel are the most urgent priorities for the organisation. With this in place, JMIC can begin to drive implementation of projects and activities that further drive recognition and relevance of our industry at large,” noted Hattendorf.

British Airways’ £4.5 billion (R80 billion) investment plan is delivering dividends for its African customers, with the airline increasing routes and capacity on the continent and introducing new onboard products and services. Most recently, it started three flights a week from London Heathrow directly to Durban, South Africa’s largest port city. Such was the excitement around this that a flash mob welcomed the inaugural flight. The Durban service began just after the airline added four 787-8 flights a week between London and Johannesburg to complement the existing double-daily A380 schedule. It has also increased its daily Cape Town winter schedule to provide double-daily summer flights from Heathrow as well as offering three weekly flights between Gatwick and South Africa’s Mother City. “With 38 flights a week, this is the most choice and capacity we’ve ever offered between South Africa and the UK,” says Sue Petrie, trade commercial manager for Southern Africa, British Airways.









No shrinking violet Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo has been at the helm of the South Africa National Convention Bureau (SANCB) since its launch in 2012. Meetings looks at the last few years of meetings and business events with her and takes a sneak peek at what the future holds for the industry.


obody can do it quite the way Amanda does. The year gone by was a fruitful one for the SANCB and the city and provincial convention bureaus around the country, which, in FY 2017/18, submitted 94 bids for international and regional events, growing the number of submissions from 78 the previous financial year. The combined economic value of these 94 bids is a staggering R1.9 billion. Amanda, chief convention bureau officer for the SANCB, has been pivotal in driving the bidding process that has seen a number of large-scale international events being hosted in South Africa, also bringing about a shift in the type of events that the country hosted. “There was a bit more variety in 2018. Whereas there has typically been a big focus on medical and science, other sectors also came up. A major event in line with this is the World Ophthalmology Congress in 2020, where we are hoping to attract 15 000 delegates,” says Amanda.

In 2017, a national bid support programme was launched at Meetings Africa, with the aims of assisting the South African business events industry in bidding for MICE events. National government pledged R90 million over three years towards this programme to bring events to South African shores and, having been so impressed by the local business events industry’s efforts and achievements in this regard, it plans to renew its commitment after this period.

The year ahead For 2019, the SANCB will be focusing more on strengthening its partnerships with national associations and working with them to rotate their conferences around South Africa. It is also looking to help associations prepare for their bids for international or regional conferences. “Let’s get the understanding from our academics and professionals to ensure that there is support so that we can bid for these


international events,” insists Amanda, at the same time emphasising the importance of ensuring education behind the support that the SANCB is able to provide, through both its expertise as well as its funding. “We want to assist our academics and association professionals to become leaders in their industries and sectors. This will ensure South Africa becomes an international knowledge hub for the global community. This success story is often not told as well as it should be,” she remarks. Amanda feels we ought to take a lesson from the likes of Rwanda. Its MICE sector is still in a nascent stage but the way in which the country is promoting and driving the industry is attracting events and the numbers. This story, Amanda points out, is key in highlighting to decisionmakers how these meetings and business events can contribute to the knowledge economy of the country and will form a part of the SANCB’s priorities during 2019.




“We want to assist our academics and association professionals to become leaders and in their industries and sectors. This will ensure South Africa becomes an international knowledge hub for the global community.” “The majority of the association conferences hosted in South Africa are in the medical and life sciences sectors. So, to ensure sustained growth in the business events industry, we need to increase our bidding efforts in the other economic sectors in the National Development Plan. It all starts with a meeting, which is followed by economic development, education and engagement. This provides a platform to showcase our new and existing innovations, thinking and developments, which all yield business opportunities,” she says.

the SANCB launched its Meet Here, Grow Anywhere campaign, which also coincided with Nelson Mandela’s centenary. “Gauteng’s tagline is ‘it all started here’, because of our origins in the Cradle of Humankind, so if you can come to the source – here in South Africa where it all started – and take that knowledge, innovation and new thinking to the rest of the world, surely it will make a difference – in your and other people’s lives. Meet in South Africa, come to the source where it all started and take that knowledge and new thinking – connect, engage and take this to the rest of the world while bettering yourself in your field of expertise. We can make a difference and we believe that if you meet in South Africa, this difference will be even greater,” explains Amanda.

Meet here, grow anywhere As part of its ongoing drive to develop the business events and meetings sector,

South Africa and beyond She maintains that there is enough

opportunity for all and that building connections and networks in this industry is invaluable, particularly for smaller players looking to overcome barriers to entry; however, Amanda cautions that we must all show our commitment and not expect it to come easy. Highlighting the SANCB’s inclusive agenda, Amanda states: “We – as the Convention Bureau and South African Tourism – and as an industry, are committed to small business development. Over the last few years, we have had numerous businesses travel with us to international trade platforms and road shows as part of our market access project to make inclusive growth a reality.” Meetings Africa, meanwhile, will be an important driver for the growth of small to medium enterprises and will continue to be a platform for the SANCB’s own objectives of promoting South Africa as an international destination for meetings, as well as provide an opportunity for knowledge sharing among its African peers. “Find out about our programmes, find out about government policies and what is available to you out there and be part of it,” urges Amanda. 

MEETINGS l january/february JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2019 •



2 months ago

The grand reception staircase gives you a wonderful entrance into the hotel lobby. If you need anything, the hosts will make you feel at home.

Don’t fall for online reviews. Whenever you take a Sho’t Left, always book graded accommodation.





HANG TOGETHER While the range of decor options available to the world of eventing is seemingly endless, ensuring your decor makes sense for both your event and budget is what will determine the final look and feel.


or a swish, gala-type affair, decor elements are an absolute must. While exhibitors and stand builders alike will also be thinking about how decor can be incorporated – either for utilitarian purposes or to add a little pizazz to their exhibition or activation – when used right, decor can visually transform your venue so that it entrenches guests in an exceptional experience. Invariably, decor is high up on every planner and PCO’s to-do list and is simply not something that can be overlooked. Decor demands detail, where absolutely everything – from the draping and centrepieces to the tablecloths and cutlery – contributes to setting the mood for your event. And when you have discerning eyes focused closely on your occasion, it is prudent to ensure no aspect has been missed.

Theme me up Developing a theme, whether it be a Casino Royale evening for C-suite execs or a blush pink palate for a Sweet 16, will very quickly help you narrow down what decor to choose for your event. If you are putting together an event for a business


or corporate client, using an existing brand identity can also inform decor choices. To avoid this being over-the-top or worse, tacky and garish, exercise a degree of discernment when it comes to branding an event and rather opt for subtle elements to bring through a thematic CI. The use of minimalistic decor with neutral tones and small pops of clients’ corporate colours, logos and payoff lines work better for this. Another theme that is becoming more of a common trend within the event space is having an event that is as green as possible. And if greening is the way your event is headed, this will heavily influence your decor’s and look and feel.

Lights, camera… With a theme to guide your decor decision-making, you will need to expand your horizons beyond just tablecloths and centrepieces. It is important, not just from a coordination perspective but also for health and safety compliance reasons, that your decor team also interfaces with the venue as well as other service providers, especially whoever is responsible for

providing access, technical, staging and audiovisual. All parties need to be in agreement on the set-up plan and how this rolls out from a logistical and timing perspective. Wiring and technical layouts have to be done prior to any tables and chairs being moved in or draping being done. At the same time, staging and audiovisual will need to be arranged so that nothing is in the path of walkways or furniture. While lighting and music don’t technically fall under decor, these elements can also work to bring further cohesion to your event theme and enhance guests’ overall sensory experience – all intended to deliver the best possible experience.

…action! Start building a list of what you will need to bring together for your execution and how you intend to source it. Work closely with the venue to determine what is required in terms of furniture as well as other essential items such as cutlery, crockery and glassware. Also, look at how the fabrics you


Decor 1, 2, 3s 1 2 3 are choosing for your tablecloths, seat covers, serviettes and draping go together and work to bring out your theme. If this is part of a service that is offered by either the venue or a preferred supplier, and they have decent options available, it might help your budget. Otherwise, consider bringing in decor specialists who have expertise working with fabrics specifically. Add-ons such as flowers, candles, ornaments, gifts and centrepieces serve as nice embellishments and can bring an event to life but are heavy hard costs. Being specific about your layout and what you want will limit any excessive or unnecessary spend. One eye-catching 

centrepiece used with crisp fabrics, for example, will often suffice if the table has been laid correctly; crockery, cutlery and glassware should also complement your theme.

First, do no harm Events have been known to generate an excessive amount of waste and create a substantial carbon footprint. To this end, in May 2015, the Event Greening Forum (EGF) established a working group to focus on the development of appropriate greening standards. These are in line with ISO 20121:2012, which has set out the Sustainable Event Management Systems.

Decide on a theme/ colour scheme Think about your event space Event decor encompasses everything

Under the chairmanship of Greg McManus, the EGF considered a number of similar international initiatives and came up with standards that address most of the role players within the events industry. And for the first time in South Africa, standards have been set for all role players, in an effort to ensure an integrated and coordinated approach to event greening takes place. Take the time to educate yourself and your clients on the greening aspect of your event by following the Sustainable Events Minimum Standards set out by the EGF. Visit sustainable-events-minimum-standards




Engineering Outcomes John Arvanitakis, founder of Chat’r Xperience, is upbeat about the year ahead for the South African business events industry and gives Meetings some critical insights into where we need to focus our energies.


he business events industry is abuzz with excitement. With more bids than ever being awarded to the various convention centres around the country, the sector is growing rapidly. The South Africa National Convention Bureau, through its government-funded bidding support programme, increased the number of bids it made year-on-year by nearly 30% (20172018). However, there are still a number of barriers to entry for some industry players and the ability to navigate these waters will be the differentiator. “In South Africa, we are in the middle of a watershed moment. With the elections scheduled for May, the current political landscape is undergoing its most major change since 1994 – the outcome of which will determine what happens in 2020,” says John Arvanitakis, startup entrepreneur and founder of Chat’r Xperience, a Level 2 BBBEE SMME. Overall, with an increase in both global tourism and business travel, John believes business events are in for a good year but with cutbacks to marketing spend, particularly to the area of the industry that he services – exhibitions – it means that opportunities are now presenting themselves differently.



John Arvanitakis is the CEO and founder of Chat’r

“Business events is a rather broad and encompassing term that extends to not just the exhibitions industry that I focus on but also meetings, conferencing and incentives. The entire landscape is evolving, and these days, you are likely to find a blend of both a conference and exhibition (confex) together at each event you attend, rather than just a standalone conference or exhibition. This has not only been brought about by economic necessity but also to give increased value to organisers, sponsors, exhibitors, delegates, guests and visitors across the value chain,” he says. Globally, John notes, the trade show market is well established and very well supported, and opportunities for Africa to play a bigger role in this economic sector are becoming increasingly favourable. With six of the world’s ten fastest growing economies on the continent, Africa’s industries are presenting unique prospects that are driving the exhibition and trade show space closer to home.

Support snag Despite marked growth of the business events market, John has seen how small businesses are not able to currently tap into opportunities. “As a member of the SAACI Johannesburg Regional Committee, many of the SMMEs I speak to confirm that, although the pie is growing but so too are the slices for the entrenched role players, SMMEs are clamouring for morsels,” says John. As a result, he says, small businesses are being left behind, but with a more concerted effort towards transformation by the business and public sector, they can actively play a role in ensuring inclusiveness across industry. “All role players in our sector should be encouraged to play their part in placing the



needs of and opportunities for young people and SMME business at the centre of inclusive economic growth and value chain integration. There is currently a distinct lack of cohesion – we have huge opportunities for growth but there is a disparity; business tourism, as such a huge economic contributor, is also receiving attention but these opportunities are concentrated in a small number of hands.” And this is not an issue limited to just the business events industry, says John. “There are no relevant support structures or systems in place to support new businesses. 

The industry in which I play a significant role is not easy to get into – BBBEE compliance is one aspect, education of the specifics of the industry is another while funding remains among the greatest challenges. And without the contracts being awarded to them, small, medium and even micro players don’t get a chance. Industry bodies and clients should broaden their support and invest inclusively to provide opportunities for SMMEs to make a contribution to the industry and to grow employment in line with the NDP and Presidential YES (Youth Employment Services) programme.”

This, John believes, will go a long way to addressing the skewed economic reality facing not only our industry but the economy as a whole in South Africa.

+27 (0)83 415 2774 MEETINGS l JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2019 •



Didima Conference Centre & Wedding Venue: (036) 488 8000 Maloti-Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site

Ntshondwe Conference Centre & Wedding Venue: (034) 983 2540 Ithala Game Reserve

Let Ideas Expand Beyond the Office

We have the freshest of air, an abundance of wildlife, the best adventure tracks and trails, breathtaking sights and scenery, but most importantly, we have conference centres in these magnificent tranquil surroundings. Didima Conference centre accommodates delegates from 120 classroom style, 60 U-shape style to 120 seated cinema style configuration. Ntshondwe Conference centre offers a cinema style seating arrangement for up to 140, a lecture style for 90 or a single U-shaped for 45 delegates. Ntshondwe’s two breakaway rooms offers a cinema style seating arrangement for 30, lecture style for 18 and single U-shape for 16 delegates. Both Conference facilities offer various accommodation options, are fully serviced and can comfortably be adapted from one-day events to multi-day workshops. Giant’s Castle Wedding Venue: (036) 353 3718 Maloti-Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site Hilltop Resort Wedding Venue: (035) 562 0848 Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park

Make your big day perfect with unlimited privacy, breathtaking scenery, birdlife, wildlife, scenic trails, comfortable accommodation, delicious food and personalised service. 2019  16 • MEETINGS l JANUARY/FEBRUARY w w

Central Reservations: 033 845 1000

best practice


event technology trends to look out for in 2019

With the new year already in full swing, let’s take a look at some of the emerging event technology trends from around the world. Brad Montgomery* lists his top five meeting and event tech trends for 2019.


Artificial intelligence (AI)

While AI has been around for a few years, its use within the meetings and events space is new and exciting. In brief, AI is the simulation of human intelligence processes by machines/computers. A good example of existing AI is Siri, Apple’s own unique search assistant. Chatbots, a simplified AI, are being used on event websites and mobile apps to communicate with delegates every step of the way throughout your event. Large shows and venues are seeing the value in having chatbots engage with audiences on demand, in real time, without them realising they are talking to a machine.


Virtual reality (VR)

VR is not a new technology but, with its advancements over the past couple of years, it has grown in popularity and become more accessible to emerging markets. Modern VR systems have been designed to fully immerse the user in an alternative 

reality that they can interact with. In the past few months, VR has been used at meetings and events to reveal products in a whole new way. Hotels, venues and property managers are using VR to showcase their properties to prospective clients without them ever leaving the comfort of their seat.


Virtual events

In the current global economic state, travelling to and from an event, local or international, is becoming more and more costly, resulting in lower attendance. With faster internet speeds and platforms such as YouTube and Facebook, live streaming has increased in popularity. Technological advancements now allow attendees to engage over live streaming via chat and tag clouds. While some may believe that offering a virtual option will cannibalise ticket sales and lower return on investment, in most cases, adding a virtual event option in addition to a live event can increase

*Brad Montgomery is the creative director of Ultimate Data Sciences, an industry leader in corporate event technology solutions in South Africa.

attendance — provided that your marketing strategy is on point.


Biometric registration systems

Out of all the emerging trends, facial recognition technology is making a mark on international meetings and events. Facial recognition tech can be great for attendee management, behaviour mapping and, most of all, event security – which is indeed a major concern, especially in high-profile meeting events. As promising and exciting as the technology may be, we might not see the likes of it in use at local meetings and events any time soon due to legislation such as the Protection of Personal Information Act (PoPI; No. 4 of 2013).


Big data

Big data, as it is known, can be said to be the way of the future, especially with event technology. Data security plans such GDPR and our local PoPI Act have already been put in motion to protect personal information. With the use of the correct technology, big data can produce insights to help future meetings and events. The importance of this data will be paramount in developing and producing much-needed statistics in the South African events space. MEETINGS l JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2019 •



In this special focus section, Meetings presents the industry’s new, recently launched and unique offerings that aim to entice and excite the events industry. We showcase the leading venue and service offerings in 2019’s installment of New and Bespoke Offerings.


Much ado about



elcome to our brand-spanking-new special focus section showcasing new and bespoke offerings by some of the best players in the industry! In our fast-paced world, where client demands are at an all-time high, it is essential that we understand our market. This means we now have to pay more careful and much closer attention to client needs and wants. One of the key areas of focus for our offering is the ‘why’ of what we do. Whether we are running the event or attending it, this can be unpacked

in our editorial focus on content and messaging on page 23. We see here that how we speak to our audiences is becoming as important as the message and content itself. While new and bespoke offerings are intended to keep up with the latest developments and trends, let us not forget all the aspects of our offering that have driven revenue and cemented our position within our market. We also need to work to ensure that we are servicing our long-standing and loyal client base. As an example, new technologies might get everyone keen to try them out and

eager to incorporate the latest and hottest trends so that they can be among the first to adopt them. However, understanding your market could make the difference between a potentially wasted investment that makes no sense for your audience versus a far more economical solution that is seen as a great add-on to your offering. During 2019, we encourage the industry to be sensitive to client demands but not to ignore the progress made on the basis of their existing offering. Enjoy!


Christine Mansour









BIRTHDAYS WEDDINGS CORPORATE & PRIVATE FUNCTIONS CD Out The Art, The Music, The Love, The Woman Now Contact 073 200 5656


gs in 1 t ee C4 M at tand s tu S



ri Af

Event Checklist Free Airport Shuttle Conference & Breakaway Rooms Boardrooms Vast Culinary Selection Free, Fast WiFi Dedicated In-House Event Coordinators Premium Accommodation Offering Accommodation for Budget Travelers

20 years of experience combined with our unrivalled selection of features and award-winning hospitality means that we are well-equipped to ensure that your experience, is as it should be. There is simply #NothingLikeBirchwood! - Kevin Clarence | Founder and CEO -

Relax, do business!


THE ULTIMATE CORPORATE VENUE IN HARTIES Transform your next event, conference or team building into one that will be talked about for a long time to come.

Bush camp


Combine a festive boat cruise on Danny Bouy, our 100 seater cruiser, get picked up with open safari vehicles for a short hop and game drive to Shingalani Bush Camp, overlooking Hartbeespoort Dam to enjoy our famous Bush Braai and Harties Hospitality at its best. Why not try our new day conference package which ends with a sunset boat cruise.

012 253 5045 Kommandonek Wildlife Reserve Simon Bekker Ave, Hartbeespoort Dam


The King Kong of Content The content and messaging behind your event or conference can make or break your occasion, and a misalignment could have disastrous reputational ramifications. Meetings informs your content strategy.


he world of MICE presents a unique opportunity to every marketer’s conundrum – getting the right people together, in the right place, at the right time. But, if your objectives here are not clear cut, this will compromise key messaging from the onset; structuring content to meet these goals will better frame your event topics, timing and format. “Developing a content strategy for events will always take some time, but if you break it down from the start, things will always run much smoother,” says Josh Naehr, a professional marketer and event blogger.

Know your audience Defining your event objectives in the context of your attendees’ own objectives will ensure better attendance, according to Josh. This needn’t be an overly complex process; generally, one resoundingly clear and simple message 

will resonate more with audiences; however, measures do need to be taken to ascertain who it is you are talking to. “Be sure that you understand your audience before diving into a complete content strategy. Break down the content creation equation by splitting it in half. Ask yourself a few questions to figure out both your customers’ needs and values,” he says. Research is also essential to developing content for a specific audience and there are a slew of online resources and tools available to inform this. Understanding how your attendees will best absorb information during the time you have them at your event will determine the most effective format. Highlighting just how important your platform is, a young Sidharth Wahi, a media mogul at Africa Business News, once said: “If content is king, then distribution is King Kong.”

Ensure it makes sense for the sort of demographic you are expecting to put audiences at greater ease – a TED Talktype format with a series of short, punchy, powerful or well-known speakers with a few minutes of Q&A afterwards might appeal to a younger audience who prefer fast-paced presentations, whereas panel sessions lasting 45 to 60 minutes might have more appeal among an older audience.

Best-laid plans Put yourself in the shoes of your audience to objectively understand the end-user experience at your event. Looking at what your audience already knows and utilising what resources you currently have will best leverage existing as well as new content. This is known as the skyscraper technique and, within this, there are three principles that apply. The first is the length – whatever content is in existence, the question needs to be asked how it can be made to be even more comprehensive. The second is relevancy – dated, rehashed content will be lacklustre but care does need to be taken to provide enough historical information for context. Finally, emphasise the visual presentation of your





Objectives to get your content strategy right

Heidi Cohen, president of Riverside Marketing Strategies, advises:

1 Generate sales in terms of attendee fees and sponsorships.

2 Build excitement over special keynotes and breakaway sessions as well as attendees – every speaker wants to have a sold-out session to create thought leadership and generate business leads. Similarly, sponsors want to connect with attendees to drive hot leads.

3 Take advantage of the interest to distribute content and build relationships.

Online resources content and how this is packaged – a single, well-timed statement could one day become a famous, impactful quote and tidbits such as infographics can go viral if used right.

Time travelling Your content strategy should not focus on just the day of your event because, ultimately, your content is your drawcard. You will, therefore, need to prepare communication and resources to deliver an education of sorts around your event. Playing up the relevancy aspect of this is going to be a major element in terms of leveraging attendance. Again, throwing the question back to your audience, they might ask what’s in it for them, but don’t leave them hanging for the answer. Make sure this is clear from beginning and answer your audience’s questions even before they are asked. An addendum to relevancy at an event and what can be done to differentiate your content strategy from that of your competition is to plug the gaps. Even if an event has been done before, living in the everchanging world that we do, new developments as well as new ways of looking at our environment are constantly unfolding.


The easiest way to do this, says Joshua, is to ask the question: “But now what?” “Many times, popular content either stops one step short, or does not connect every dot, often leaving the audience with burning questions that no outlet has answered,” he says. This, in itself, presents a new opportunity for event organisers. While there are many considerations to be given towards your content, there is a variable human element where there are no hard and fast rules so building in a degree of flexibility will also prepare you to expect the unexpected regarding how your content will be received.

Understanding the buzzwords and phrases around the theme of your event can give you insights into the important topics around a particular subject. Building a list of search words will ensure that no stone is left unturned.

SEARCH Trendhunter Buzzsumo SEMrush Reddit

f oc u s on

Luxury Accommodation Five Star Conference Facilities Eco-Education & Spa Facilities Community Development Central Reservations for Convention & Individual bookings: Tel: +27 (0) 11 466 8715 Fax: +27 (0) 86 685 8816 E-mail:

A dose of relaxation & excitement...


You have business to take care of, but who’s going to take care of you in case things go wrong? Old Mutual Insure’s travel insurance cover offers exactly what you need and nothing less. It’s simple. It’s convenient. It’s efficient. With our track record and specialist expertise, you’ll know you can count on us, wherever you go. The great things you do tomorrow start with the small steps you take today. Take that step with Old Mutual Insure. The time is now.

Visit to take that first step.



All products are underwritten by Old Mutual Insure, an Authorised Financial Services Provider (FSP 12)




The Business of


Magic: the very word conjures whimsy and delight but how can it be used in a corporate space? Master illusionist Ilan Smith demonstrates.


hen we were children, before the realities of life and all its responsibilities began to impede our imaginations, the word ‘magic’ was one that filled our minds with wonder. As we grew up, we came to realise that magic is usually just sleight of hand – an act of smoke and mirrors. For some, the disappointment behind the deception and realisation that magic isn’t real can be crushing, instantly evaporating any allure it once had. But for one exceptionally talented individual, magic runs through his veins and continues to inspire and leave audiences awestruck. Ilan Smith has been entertaining audiences with magic since he was 16 years old. As an audience member watching one of his shows, it is nigh on impossible to tell how all his tricks are done so smoothly and effortlessly – and it can certainly only be defined as magic. From a card randomly selected by an audience member that apparates as a drawing on a piece of paper to exceptional spot-on guesses that are nothing short of mind-blowing, Ilan sure knows how to put on a good show, with a real wow factor.

Businessman, magic man Having studied a BCom in Economics and Marketing, Ilan could never shake his calling in magic. “I made my way through university with a pack of cards, and an issue of the latest magic magazine. There surely was some mix-up with my university application form and I wound up in the business sector rather than the arts. On discovering this error, I used knowledge gained to build a solid reputation in the entertainment industry,” he says. While this father of five uses magic to make an impact, his shows are not just about illusions that aim to impress but also how the use of subtle tools can be used to innovate and inspire. Ilan hosted a seminar towards the end of last year titled Innovation and Illusion, run in conjunction with Dean Furman, author of Exponential Power and CEO of 1064 Degrees. During the seminar, the audience was treated to a live demonstration of Ilan in action, which had everyone enthralled; however, the messaging behind this was much deeper.

“The definition of madness is doing the same thing over, and over again and expecting a different result,” Ilan says, quoting Albert Einstein. Magic, illusion and mentalism all require outof-the-box thinking and, within this sphere, innovation is at the core of it all. Ilan removes the parameters that limit our current thinking to elevate our psyche to be able to take on new ways of looking at life’s challenges – from dayto-day tasks to managing a major work crisis. The mere idea of magic can put our minds into a different frame, so we are able to approach problem-solving more innovatively. Trained by the best in magic – local South African greats George Moss and Graham Kirk – Ilan is constantly seeking new ways to improve on his shows. “I have made it my duty to travel internationally and surround myself with the world’s best and most creative minds from the world of magic and corporate training,” he concludes. So, where to from here for the marvellous magician? Watch this space!

“I have made it my duty to travel internationally and surround myself with the world’s best and most creative minds from the world of magic and corporate training.” 




Technology On tap The advent and adoption of information and communication technologies (ICT) and the internet of just about everything has accelerated the pace at which all industries operate. For events, it has, in fact, been revolutionary. Meetings delves deeper.


rom automation to apps that manage each aspect of our lives, the world has witnessed incredible change over the past quarter of a century. ICT has meant that the way in which we work, play and live is ever-changing; for events, in particular, technology has drastically

changed how these are managed, marketed, engaged with and experienced. Highlighting why this cannot be ignored, stats released by Cvent show that event technology adoption can increase attendance by 20% and productivity by 27%, while decreasing costs by as much as 30%.

Technology has become an exceptional tool for organising and managing events


Management Technology has become an exceptional tool for organising and managing events. Keeping track of registration and attendance lists online and in the cloud was a technological first for the world of meetings and events. Online registration for speakers, exhibitors and delegates has meant that all details can be captured to the satisfaction of each attendee ahead of the event taking place, with very little input or effort required by the organiser. Attendee registration on the day is now just a matter of a quick sign-in to check off the individual’s name and collect their badge. While event organisers must exercise caution to ensure they have an opt-in in place and avoid sending unsolicited communication, online registration enables them to develop their databases more accurately and engage with a receptive target audience. One-on-one meetings, networking and breakaway sessions are becoming increasingly popular, with events providing the ideal opportunity to get industry heads and key

#TRENDS To app or not to app? There are vast options available for registration services; however, event apps can also be designed to include an area for registration, meetings, programme and speaker information, general information and news, and also draw social media activity around the event so it feeds through to the app. Incorporating technology may very well enhance your event but there are several pitfalls to be aware of as well, according to the Event Technology Bible 2018. Weak assumptions, an incorrect need for the technology, and lacking clear objectives and measurement can lead to a degree of cognitive dissonance or a negative attitude towards the technology. A strategy that takes all of this into account will ensure that there is strong uptake of the technology you have used to support your event.

Odd Wine Out specialises in customised wines and boutique wine experiences. Our products and services include: • Customised branded wines for corporate gifting, weddings and special events. • Team building events with wine, gin, whiskey, brandy. • Innovative wine products such as wine infused salt, wine popsicles and wine slushies. • Wine consulting for wedding venues, restaurants, hotels and private events. We pride ourselves in: • Helping customers create memories through wine • Providing wine tasting experiences at the preferred venue. • Focusing on wines that is unique and that has a story to tell.

decision-makers in the same room, at the same time. An app or programme to manage and coordinate this process is essential. Virtual project management boards serve as the ultimate to-do lists and can help ensure each aspect of the project management for your event is arranged and checked off according to a specific timeline set out beforehand. Consider any tool that might potentially help you better manage your event.

Marketing Technology has brought broader and deeper access to audiences but marketing your event has become a Goldilocks conundrum, where “not too hot, not too cold – just right” applies. An even greater challenge is that it’s not just one individual you are targeting but an entire audience; reaching your potential attendees and covering all bases without irritating them requires a degree of guile. Develop a strategy to ensure all your important information is accessible in one place – i.e. your website or event app. Have a presence on all social media platforms to create interaction and engagement

Website: Contact number: 074 286 4243 Email:

When shared minds come together, we advance Africa. Connect to one of the fastest-growing and most exciting business destinations in the world, where growing global economies and shared minds unite. Hosting over 3 330 delegates, 306 world-class exhibitors and esteemed buyers from all over the world! See how authentic African imagination and innovation bring business and global events to life. Meet us at Meetings Africa.


26-27 FEBRUARY 2019:


#TRENDS around this and if you plan on using mailers, send them on a needs-only basis, conveying details such as confirmed speaker lists or programmes, last calls to register, information about parking, seating or registration. Exercise discernment when it comes to general advertising and promotion, and avoid mailing your database every day. Excessive or inundating communication will put people off and if this is associated to your event or company, your marketing can backfire.

Engagement and experience Engagement with audiences is at the fore of each event organiser’s objectives. The flipside to this is how delegates engage with the event, which is at the core of their experience. Therefore, all elements of your event should seek to either create or enhance engagement with the attendee because this will enrich their overall experience. Having a social media strategy in place to create this engagement will also form part of your marketing plan. Your use of social media, ahead of and following your event, will almost certainly be informational or promotional; however, come the day of your event, the right call to action can drive much higher audience engagement – this is not an opportunity to be missed. A survey found that 80% of event planners currently place a greater focus on experience creation than over the past two to five years. Conversely, a white paper released in 2017 by IMEX Group and PSAV highlights how technology is a key aspect of developing purposeful meetings and events. Within this, behavioural science, health and wellbeing, event design, and corporate social responsibility also feature, with technology being a catalyst to idea generation and developing social connections. “In overloaded and poorly designed meeting formats, attendees quickly experience increased levels of cortisol (stress hormone) due to an inability to follow the presentations or maintain their attention for long spans of time. Understanding of the brain and how it processes information is dramatically shaping the way in which we engineer experiences,” notes the paper. Event organisers and planners have to be creative with how they package their events, to ensure that their objectives are achieved and that delegates walk away feeling fulfilled and inspired. This experience will ensure that they will want to engage with your event again in the future. Their positive account of the event is invaluable for growing future attendance and keeping stakeholders happy.

Celebrating female excellence across the industry

Coming this August‌ The Top 40 Women in MICE Awards achieved new heights in 2018. With the high calibre of nominees and a beautiful awards ceremony celebrating the achievements of these women, we are looking forward to the next instalment of this exceptional event. To nominate your candidate, please fill out the nomination form below, scan and send this back to Alternatively, download the nomination form from

nominee information Nominee name Is the nominee a service provider or buyer/event planner? Qualifications Is the nominee an association member; if so, which association? (SAACI, EXSA, SITE, PCO Alliance Network, ICCA, etc.)

career information Current company Current position Career to date Significant achievements in the last 12 months







Carefully considering the above criteria, please provide a motivational paragraph about the nominee. Where possible, please provide examples of where the above traits/achievements were exhibited/made.

Your name and contact details Please include a high-resolution photograph of the nominee. All nominations must reach by 31 May 2019. Only nominations submitted on the official nomination form will be considered.



Gallagher hosts approximately 30 exhibitions and 350 events annually. The property offers 5 000 parking bays for ultimate visitor convenience.


Gallagher Convention Centre was established in 1993, and has since become a benchmark venue in the events industry.

CONVENIENT LOCATION Any event planner knows that location is everything! Gallagher is centrally and conveniently located in Midrand, between Johannesburg and Pretoria, near the Midrand Gautrain station.

The Koi Deck The Koi Deck is perfect for a cocktail or wedding ceremony, as it can accommodate up to 180 guests in cinema style, 60 guests for a banquet set-up, or 100 guests for a cocktail.

The Lotus Suite Looking for a smaller corporate or private function venue, for up to 150 guests? The Lotus Suite has an enclosed foyer that leads into two rooms, one of which is subdivisible. This elegant location boasts a cocktail bar and terrace surrounded by lush gardens, offering a serene setting for indoor or outdoor occasions.

27 Venues


The whopping 32 hectare property offers 27 multipurpose venues, which cater to a variety of events such as conferences, dinners, luncheons, cocktails, exhibitions and private functions.

•7  x venues that can cater for 2 – 220 guests • 4x venues that can accommodate between 220 – 700 guests • 4x venues that can accommodate between 700 – 7000 guests

Unforgettable meeting rooms Gallagher 1, 2 and 3 marry luxury, convenience and practicality – these venues are perfect for training sessions, luncheons and conferences. The Boardrooms Gallagher’s five boardrooms can accommodate from 2 to 60 guests for a meeting or an intimate luncheon. Boardroom 5 also has a dedicated video conferencing facility for the convenience of Gallagher’s clients.

Kick-off Conference Special R435 pp (ex. Vat) Valid until 28 Feb 2019

Halaal certified by NIHT

97% client satisfaction with facilities and catering

Special Training Package

R370 pp (ex. Vat) Valid until 31 Mar 2019

2 - 7 000 guests

An in-house network for Professional Conference Organisers

19 Richards Drive, Halfway House, Midrand +27 (0)11 266 3000 GallagherConventionCentreMidrand

Gallagher Convention Centre

The Gallagher Grill With its grandiose marble foyer and outdoor deck, the Gallagher Grill can seat 220 guests for a banquet, 400 guests in cinema style, or 200 guests in schoolroom style. The Marquee Overlooking Gallagher’s beautiful gardens, the Marquee is situated next to the Koi pond and is perfect for a cocktail setting, banquet or wedding celebration. The venue can accommodate 100 guests for cocktails and 80 in banquet style.
















From the sprawling Kruger National Park to Bela-Bela and the rolling hills of the Waterberg area, Limpopo province is blessed with an abundance of indigenous vegetation and wildlife that has been protected and looked after.

Officially named as a city in 1992, Polokwane is the closest major city centre to South Africa’s neighbouring countries of Botswana, Mozambique, Swaziland and Zimbabwe, making it an ideal stop before leaving the country’s borders.

As part of its rich history, discover how the Voortrekkers founded the original town of Pietersburg. Visit the Bakone Malapa Northern Sotho Open-Air Museum to understand the lifestyle of the Bakone people or stop by the Hugh Exton Photographic Museum.

From a bird sanctuary acclaimed for its work in the protection of the rare Cape vulture to a world-famous forest that has the world’s largest concentration of indigenous cycad species, Limpopo is home to some great conservation efforts.

Look no further than Limpopo for an unparalleled hospitality experience. With an abundance of hotels, game lodges and guest houses all offering conferencing amenities, one is spoilt for choice on where to meet and stay in the province.

Limpopo’s hidden MICE gem

Facilities 12 hole par 3 golf course,

Conferencing & Exhibiting

team building, tented camp

13 venues (capacity 10 - 1 500)


Sporting High-performance centre and sports fields

Confirm your 2019 booking enquiry in the month of February for a discounted rate. Agents rates are commissionable and other Ts & Cs apply.

Cuisine Fine dining to dining in the bush

Ranch Hotel, Farm Hollandsdrift Polokwane Phone +27 (0)15 290 5000 Email The Ranch Resort

Game drives Big 5 viewing


Accommodation 150 bedrooms

20 questions

A major affair Mark Havercroft, Regional Director: Africa at Minor Hotels, shares his personal insights with Meetings.

Where do you see the events industry currently?

Who do you currently aspire to be like and why?

Who were your superheroes growing up?

What is your most prized possession?

Where there is business, there are events. The industry is thriving across the continent, and Africa is most certainly one of the most sought-after incentive destinations for internationals. The MICE industry is strong.

There isn’t anyone specific I aspire to be like, but I am inspired by people who have a spirit for overcoming different obstacles.

Not sure about the word superhero, but I do admire people from all walks of life who make an impact on people’s lives, be they politicians or sporting heroes.

Time with my family.

Where would you like to see the industry in the next five years? If the above is true, then the industry will only grow from strength to strength. Even with ever-changing technology and means to meet via online platforms, there will always be a need for people to meet face to face and share ideas, experiences and knowledge. It is up to us to create innovative ways of providing this service and enticing delegates with the best offerings available.

What role or influence do you believe your organisation plays in this? Minor Hotels has an ambitious expansion plan, which is detailed and specific to our core brands – Avani and Anantara. We have confidence in Africa and this will aid in raising Africa’s profile.

What is the most interesting client request you’ve had? Ha ha, I would rather not say! 

What quote best describes your outlook towards life? Always be positive – be an eternal optimist.

What do you most enjoy about what you do? Being part of the hospitality industry is dynamic and evolving. No day is the same, which is what I enjoy most about it.

What drives you both personally and professionally? A will to succeed. I am not manically ambitious but when I apply myself to doing something, I don’t stop until I have completed the task.

What are values you will not deviate from? Integrity and always treating people with respect.

I’d love to hike to Mount Everest Base Camp, see an iceberg floating, see the Northern Lights and watch a Formula 1 race.

What has been your best holiday? So far, it has been to Mauritius.

What are some of the favourite places you have visited? Thailand, Hong Kong, London and Paris.

growth in the industry, with over three decades of working in the hospitality industry.

What is the most adventurous thing you have done?

What is your special talent?

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.

I read two to three books at one time, and right now I am reading The Unknown Kimi Raikkonen and Eddie Jones: Rugby Maverick, which is a brilliant book.

What is your guilty pleasure?

What are some of your ‘bucket list’ items?

What are some of your career highlights? My steady

What is your favourite read?

Sitting on the couch for four days and watching the Open Golf Championship from start to finish. A day of golf is about 12 hours a day. I also watch the Ryder Cup from start to finish.

What is your favourite thing to do in your spare time? Spending time with my daughter.

I wouldn’t call it a special talent, but I am a bit unorthodox in resolving obstacles and challenges to get the job done. If we were to call it a special talent, it would be getting the job done.




Ta l k ing points

INDUSTRY views Looking into the future and addressing the growing generation of millennial business travellers

A millennial meeting The millennial generation will soon account for the majority of the workforce. AIPC unpacks the future of events that are now targeted at this audience.


y 2020, millennials will make up more than half of the global workforce and account for the largest segment of business travellers. Millennial travellers are our future and there is no better time for industry organisations, particularly centre management, to explore the potential of this new market.

Keeping travellers actively engaged

Aloysius Arlando is the current AIPC president and CEO of SingEx Holdings. 

Singapore FinTech Festival (SFF), which is held yearly at the Singapore EXPO, for example, relies heavily on its mobile app to communicate with its attendees. To appeal to the millennial audience, which typically have a shorter attention span and many screens competing for their attention all the time, the app was gamified and loaded with heavy and eye-catching images. This required strong support from the venue management, which provided scalable Wi-Fi to support the data requirements of the app.

Events that are powered by data and technology and able to provide differentiated and authentic experiences will appeal to the young business Enhance creativity travellers, as they wish to stay connected In addition, the venue management worked throughout the customer journey. The instant closely with the event organiser to enhance gratification mindset of millennials also means creativity in event space design through that every touch point, both on- and offline, multiple themed zones to interest and engage greatly matters. Millennials want even the young visitors. This to be heard, hope to make a includes the Sandbox, whose The instant difference and crave affiliation gratification mindset design was inspired by the with communities with which Singapore vintage dragonof millennials also they can identify. Therefore, it shaped playground, as well as is critical for event organisers the F&B zone with a Straits means that every and venue managers to keep Chinese heritage theme. touch point, both young business travellers actively This younger group of on- and offline, engaged in inviting spaces, as they business visitors values often have short attention spans personal connections and greatly matters and lose interest quickly. desires to participate and immerse itself in communities USING technology of like-minded individuals. It is thus vital for As millennials are deeply influenced by venues to transform and begin to work more technology and extremely reliant on their closely with event organisers to create and smartphones and laptops, moving ahead, deliver differentiated experiences that leave an only centres that are highly wired and impression on event attendees. able to provide stronger and more reliable seamless Wi-Fi coverage will be able to Evolving needs of customers address the growing needs of these techWhile the orientation of most events is mostly savvy business visitors. Globally, event decided by organisers, as venue providers, it is organisers are also increasingly making use of important that we keep abreast of the needs of mobile apps to engage their target audience the industry. Innovative event designs that are and create customised value propositions. user-centric can only be made possible through What distinguishes a good venue from active collaboration between organisers and a truly world-class one will be how well venues. Venues ought to remain flexible and it allows events partners to harness the evolve their suite of services to suit the evolving potential of technology. needs of customers now and in the future.



destination T A LK I N G P O I N T S

INDUSTRY views Meeting our market’s needs

Create a bespoke visitor experience Thinking about the upcoming year in exhibitions, Leatitia van Straten can’t help but wonder how current offerings measure up to attendee expectations.

T Leatitia van Straten is the chairperson of AAXO.

INDUSTRY views Greening in 2019

he eventing industry is changing all the time and, driven by the needs of our clients, we should evolve to meet those needs. Evolution in exhibition terms just means that we need to ensure we cater to our audience with an offering that connects with them on an emotional level. We need to create a visitor experience that attendees enjoy so much they leave the show feeling their time was well spent and that they will return for more next year. They will also spread the word and actively promote the show on your behalf, so it’s a win-win solution! By doing some basic research into your market’s needs, you’ll be able to create a personalised experience for each visitor. When asked, attendees concur that the real value of attending exhibitions lies in the offering. Does the event offer access to content that they can learn from, access to high-profile personalities, exclusive product

By doing some basic research into your market’s needs, you’ll be able to create a personalised experience for each visitor

Mind your step A new year is upon us and now is the time to ramp up our greening efforts, writes Lisa-Jade Merven.

T LISA-JADE MERVEN sits on the EGF committee and is the founder of GingerBiscuit.

previews and a bespoke experience they cannot get anywhere else? Some visitors would like to get in, see a handful of preselected suppliers, and get out an hour later. Others come to spend the day taking full advantage of all the attractions, such as celebrities (typically at consumer shows), exclusive show specials, new product displays, competitions or to learn from key industry speakers. Taking the leap and building an experience ‘menu’ your visitors can select from will not only enhance and personalise their show experience but it will also build your own expertise.

he new year is upon us, and along with it comes good intentions, new year’s resolutions and a general positivity. Those who create goals, stick to them and achieve them in the short and long term will attest to that fact that achieving one’s dreams begins with a shift in mindset. But what does this have to do with the industry within which we operate? Allow me to explain – we can see the world is changing on a daily basis. Consumers and clients are becoming more conscious and aware of their impact on the world around them, as well as the impact of the companies they do business with. It has been predicted that in 2019 corporates will be investing in sustainability in a big way, which will include looking at their supply chain. This is where I ask you to mind your step; start the year off by taking that single first step and committing to creating events that are more sustainable in nature. There are many available resources regarding how to do this, including ideas such as minimising single-use plastics at an event, switching to energy-efficient AV, eliminating unnecessary water usage and involving the local community through skills development


and temporary employment at the event. Or you could adopt eco-procurement guidelines and seek out suppliers and service providers who are making an effort to go green. One such tool for sourcing suppliers who are working towards making a difference, either within their daily operations or by offering eco products and services, is the Event Greening Forum’s database ( There are many options and ideas with which to start the journey, and continue on the ever-evolving road of sustainable event management. But all the tips in the world will not make a difference unless there is a shift in mindset first. We need to become conscious and aware of the manner in which we operate, why we do the things we do, what impact we will have (not only on the planet, but also on the people sharing this space with us) and why it is necessary to do so. This year, let’s ensure we make a genuine commitment to move towards a more sustainable industry, and actively work to grow and adapt to the current climate we find ourselves in, collaboratively. Mind your step – start small, think and dream big but, most importantly, start. What impact will you have in 2019, and beyond?

Ta l k ing points

INDUSTRY views Don’t compromise delegates over content

Hybrid events? But I want delegates! In light of the ever-changing event technology environment and creating exceptional value for clients, Rudi van der Vyver believes we must look at new ways to attract and engage delegates.


ne of the single most important elements in any event is content, while the delivery is a secondary focal point. Context is also an element that drastically strengthens the content being delivered. How this is encapsulated is the delivery method. We are often overly cautious with the use of technology and content, with the main push-back being that we need delegates to attend the event. As a result, we tend to shy away from platforms where delegates are not actually present, as we fear this may lead to dwindling numbers of attending delegates.

Hybrid events Research shows we can create a well-designed hybrid event if certain sessions are livestreamed to a digital audience, with the ability to revert to a studio environment for those sessions not being streamed. This, in fact, allows us to provide two complementary events running parallel to each other and not

INDUSTRY views Travelbags continues to grow its network

Travelbags triumphs After celebrating its 60th year in the industry, Travelbags is looking forward to even greater success in 2019, says Michelle Hinrichsen.


s the sun rises on 2019 and we turn our sights towards new horizons, we at Travelbags are very grateful for the fantastic year gone by. Filled with fun, innovative and successful events, 2018 saw us host a St Patrick’s Day-themed event – a first for us

Michelle Hinrichsen is the current president of Travelbags. 

only feeding off each other. This creates additional content offering the chance to discuss context with speakers and other experts. We have also seen that hybrid events increase delegate numbers for future events (i.e. in a series), as well as provide an additional source of revenue to the event should online delegates be charged a small delegate fee. This must, however, be carefully constructed to ensure adequate perception of value for online delegates to pay this fee. Another highlight offered by hybrid events is the ability to create ‘on-demand’ viewing options after the event, to ensure the content is further delivered to an even wider audience. This provides a quasi-marketing drive for future events and sustains the event long after the doors have been closed. Technology like this is extremely useful and, if utilised correctly and included from the planning phase, can be a tremendous driver in the success of an event.

A major milestone for Travelbags in 2018 was our 60th birthday, during which we celebrated and paid homage to all the women who have been and currently are part of Travelbags, the Women’s Travel Club of South Africa

at Travelbags – where we gave away a trip to Ireland, as we enjoyed all things Irish on the day. We hosted our second Amazing Race with Event Inspirations, which included some really challenging but fun tasks and pit stops. Rovos Rail spoilt us to an out-of-Africa lunch on their magnificent train, while we enjoyed a relaxing ride through Pretoria. A major milestone for Travelbags in 2018 was our 60th birthday, during which we celebrated and paid homage to all the women who have been and currently are part of Travelbags, the Women’s Travel Club of South Africa. This year promises to be another exciting and successful one for Travelbags. We look forward to our first lunch on Valentine’s Day at Avianto, plus many more events and lunches confirmed for the year. Travelbags members will also be spoiled with special offers and discounts, so make sure to join Travelbags for 2019 – women and men are welcome. Here’s to an exciting new year with Travelbags!




Welcome to it! New year, new you? Don’t fool yourself into believing that this year will be any easier than the last, writes Miss Meet.


he beginning of each year is one of my favourite times – everyone has dizzyingly high aspirations and there is a wave that

invigorates us and the industry. This, however, is usually rather short-lived, possibly as fatigue, and reality, start to set in. Let’s be realistic: 2018 kicked our butts, but don’t be under any false illusions that 2019 will be any simpler or easier-going. Each year, budgets become tighter and justifying increased spend on ‘nice-to-haves’, like marketing, is nothing short of challenging. We are expected to take on more challenges and have a quicker turnaround with fewer resources, and it no longer suffices to deliver to an acceptable standard.

Whatever our output is, it needs to be exceptionally

It is also all about who you know; being able to call in a

organised and creative. This means that we invariably

favour with a well-known affiliate or doing the same

end up either stressed or depressed, or both, which

for a valuable connection will determine whether you

each have a severe impact on productivity.

just survive or thrive in the industry.

So, what can we do differently?

however, if you fixate on these issues, you will not

Steel yourself because the challenges are not going

be able to focus on the bigger picture long enough

to be diminished. In the face of adversity, we need

to achieve the end goal. Stick to the agenda and deal

to change our attitudes and responses towards

with each issue as best you can without it resulting in

this. Time management, being highly organised and

a total meltdown. And come event day, be aware that

multitasking are key to ensuring we have a firm hold

your guests or audience don’t have the foggiest idea

on what the issues are so we can then prioritise

of what planning and organising crises are unfolding

the most pressing projects and tasks. Relationship

in the background. They are there for the experience

building is equally important – in the MICE industry

and unless it is a glaringly obvious issue such as an

in particular, who you know can make or break your

AV fault or a speaker no-show, those attending

next event. Relying on a network of trustworthy

the event will generally quite happily go along with

suppliers and service providers who can be your go-

whatever is next on the programme. This isn’t an

to when you need it also means that you won’t need

excuse to compromise on the quality of your event

to take on a project where you are the sole resource.

but it does help mitigate the issue somewhat if this

Take into account that things go wrong all the time;

can be contained behind the scenes. Lastly, do it with a smile. Nobody likes a negative

Stick to the agenda and deal with each issue as best you can without it resulting in a total meltdown

Nancy and having a realistic but positive attitude will make sure the experience is made even just a little more pleasant for you, your team and attendees.

index to advertisers ATKV 3

Harties Boat Company

Barmotion 36

Helivac 13

Spier OBC



Tau Game Lodge


The Barnyard


The Ranch Resort



Chat’r Xperience


Christine Mansour



Khoja Group



Meetings Africa


Minor Hotel Group


Odd Wine Out




TiSA 1

Exhibition of Exhibitions


Old Mutual Insure


Two Oceans Aquarium


Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife


SA Tourism


Ultimate Data Sciences


Gallagher Convention Centre




Westin 7

LET YOUR NEXT CONFERENCE BE A LITTLE MORE FREE RANGE. Arrange your next conference in the Cape winelands on Spier farm, just 20 minutes from Cape Town International Airport. Discover ways of achieving a conference beyond the ordinary, using historic venues, unusual farm settings, good farm food and exceptional wines, to make it memorable and professional. Spier has an environmental consciousness that runs through every aspect of our business. Making your conference good in every way. EMAIL +27 21 809 1100 ext 2 CONFERENCING WITH CONSCIOUSNESS.

Profile for 3S Media

Meetings Jan/Feb 2019  

The market leader in the MICE and business tourism sector. News from venues, service and travel providers, industry role-players & business...

Meetings Jan/Feb 2019  

The market leader in the MICE and business tourism sector. News from venues, service and travel providers, industry role-players & business...

Profile for glen.t