Meetings March April 2020

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MARCH/APRIL 2020• Issue 90

DOWNINGS MARQUEE RENTALS Creating spectacular spaces and innovative venue solutions


Wilderness experiences in Africa

Top Women in Mice Awards VERSION 2.0


We strive to deliver flawlessly with our hands-on approach. We have the knowledge and expertise to do it all ourselves, and the capabilities to service the organiser as well as the exhibitor.”


Jack Smit & Gabi Babinszky, Directors at Brandex

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CONNECT WITH US The Planner @theplannerguru @theplannerguru

FOCUS 10 Like a glove In an increasingly competitive space, uniquely tailored events that are most suited to your audience will be the differentiator.

HOW TO… 13 Tailor your events like a boss



More than marquees

Downings Marquee Rentals is celebrating a major milestone, as the company turns 20 in 2020!



OP-ED 14 Local transformation on a global scale The MICE and

greater tourism industries are representative of our country, but let’s look at transformation from a broader perspective, encourages Thami Nkadimeng.

BEST PRACTICE 15 Delectable delights 38 Planning priority MEETING PLACES 22 Venue variety Large and small, who can do it all? PROFILE 24 Self-made man Kopano ‘Kops’ Lebethe has come a full circle from where he first started.


DESTINATION 27 Cape Crusader From the Northern and Eastern to the Western Cape, Meetings goes on an exciting expedition.

SUSTAINABILITY 40 Your checklist to exhibiting sustainably The Event Greening

Forum provides training sessions on how to be a ‘green’ exhibitor.

EXPERIENCES 46 Take a walk on the wild side With a vast amount of wilderness, Africa offers some of the best natural experiences in the world.



With capabilities to deliver a full AV solution and a can-do attitude, Brandex is working to position itself as a leading industry player.

important role in environmental conservation.

#TOPWiM2020 58 A WiM win The Top Women in MICE Awards for 2020 was officially launched. Meetings sees what’s in store for this year’s instalment.



Elevate your brand with the experts

CONSERVATION 56 Driving conservation Private game reserves play an


REGULARS 3 Ed’s Comment 7 Tidbits 19 20 Questions 60 Soundbite 64 Miss Meet

JHB 23206

As seen on DStv

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ED’S COMMENT Managing Editor Shanna Jacobsen ( Digital Editor Pippa Naudé Chief Sub-Editor Tristan Snijders Head of Design Beren Bauermeister Contributors Aloysius Arlando, Glenton de Kock,

Michelle Hinrichsen, Lynn McLeod, Thami Nkadimeng, Projeni Pather, Arnold Tanzer, Gary van der Watt 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 | PUBLISHED BY

Publisher Jacques Breytenbach

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Meetings MARCH/APRIL 2020 © Copyright All rights reserved 2020 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.



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t is with sadness that I am writing this ed’s comment, as it will be the last in my capacity as editor of Meetings magazine. After working with my team for two years to produce 12 wonderful editions of Meetings, it is only fitting that I leave you with an issue I can be proud of and that I hope inspires you to deliver the most exceptional eventing experiences. Our very own showcase on page 58 of our upcoming Top Women in MICE Awards 2020 features a stellar line-up of truly inspirational women and industry partners. They are the reason why we bring this event together each year and it has been incredibly rewarding to have been part of a growing and evolving story that is setting the standard for the meetings, incentives, conferencing and exhibitions industry. Deriving key outcomes utilising business events as a platform is a unique blend that is both an art form and exact science. To help inform these outcomes, our focus feature on page 13 explores just some of the aspects to consider when producing an ideally tailored event to engage with and invigorate our audiences.

An element that is often hit or miss among attendees is food, so identifying and selecting what sort of sustenance you are going to provide for your guests is good to have checked off. Our Best Practice piece on page 15, with accompanying menu suggestions, is certain to satisfy all appetites. Having worked with numerous venues across the industry, I can say with conviction that a venue is hugely important to addressing the bulk our concerns around event preparation. On page 22, we profile an array of offerings that offer both large and small capacity options that are suited to a range of events, limited only by imagination. As is the case with most events and venues, hosts aim to create a memorable and longlasting impact, and for those looking to incorporate a travel experience for their delegates, look no further than page 46. Closer to home on page 27, we travel to the Cape provinces to unpack all that the region has to offer. I would like to thank the 3S Media team for all their hard work in bringing together each issue of the magazine because they are the beating heart of our operation. And now, without further ado, I bid you, our readers and valuable stakeholders, adieu – and my best to you!




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

+27(0) 82 044 2900


Downings Marquee Rentals is celebrating a major milestone, as the company turns 20 in 2020! Meetings talks to the Downings team to understand what it takes to deliver an exceptional service offering that has stood the test of time and become a market-leading marquee infrastructure company.


tarting out with just one small marquee tent in the year 2000, Richard Downing launched Downings Marquees. The company has since grown to be a leading marquee infrastructure supplier in South Africa, owning some of the largest temporary structures to exist in the country. This includes a structure that - at 50 m x 220 m – is larger than two rugby fields, and then some. “In 1998 after I had finished studying civil engineering, I worked abroad for a marquee company. On returning to South Africa I saw the potential in the events industry for tents and started Downings with a traditional peg and pole marquee tent. During my time in the UK I was exposed to the use of aluminium frame marquee structures and their advantages for events. Using my technical drawing knowledge, theory and practical experience, I designed our

GIVING BACK Giving back is an important part of the Downings culture. Each year, a percentage of client spend is donated to charity and community upliftment. In addition, Downings works within its local communities to increase their knowledge of marquee installations and create jobs. The company also donates the use of older structures that are no longer suitable for their clients’ events to these communities, who can put them to good use. Over the past 20 years, the company has both delivered its services to the highest of standards and seen to it that people benefit on every level of engagement. It has been this combination that has helped to take Downings Marquee Rentals to the top of the industry.


first aluminium marquee structure, which we manufactured ourselves and installed in 2001,” explains Richard Downing, CEO and founder of the Downings Group. The capacity and know-how to fabricate its own structures in-house have been part of the business from the get-go. By the time it was established as a fullyfledged business, Downings Marquees was able to design, develop and deploy a solution for any temporary structure. This included the frame structure, tent, glass marquees, flooring, level interlocking decking system, solid and glass sides, doors and more. “I found that the best way to meet my clients’ demands and high expectations was to design and manufacture in-house,” Richard explains. The success of this manufacturing and fabrication initiative lead to the founding in 2005 of the group’s manufacturing company, Speed Structures.

FROM INCEPTION Richard’s love for metalwork and creating structures was nurtured from an early age. “My dad had an equipment and tool hire business that he started in the 1980s, and every weekend I would be involved in some sort of metalwork project, whether building or welding. I’ve always been innovative and proactive in finding and creating the best way of doing something,” he says. Innovation is what excites the team at Downings the most and, although he’s been with the company for less than half a year, having been part of the Downings story has been an interesting journey for the new group COO, Gerald Steyn.

Downings Marquee Rentals downings_marquee


“Having come from a range of industries – from services to IT and manufacturing – and seeing how Downings is at the forefront of innovation is massively exciting,” says Gerald. The marquee business certainly presents an interesting growth opportunity, with some of Downings’ most recent projects including the recent wedding of our former Miss Universe, Demi-Leigh, and her husband Tim Tebow, as well as the Match in Africa between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal that took place in Cape Town. “This saw a new world record being achieved with 51 954 fans attending the tennis match and we provided the hospitality marquee and infrastructure for 1 800 VVIPs,” says Francois Marais, branch manager at Downings Cape Town, proudly.

ONE OF A KIND Downings Marquee Rentals works hard to ensure the materials it uses are of the best quality available to the market. This has also enabled the company to provide some of the most creative and beautiful structures in the country. “We don’t accept the norm – we want to offer our clients and their guests something unique and memorable while making it something that is proudly South African. That is not something you can put a price on… I knew when I started working with Downings that I would be aligned to an industry-leading marquee company in South Africa,” emphasises Richard Mons, branch manager at Downings Johannesburg. Downings’ marquees are at the cutting edge of the offerings available to the market in South Africa, Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands. Operating to European standards, Downings offers structures that exist nowhere else in

these territories. “Our marquees are really architecturally distinct and just about everything we do is different to what is available, which, I can assure you, goes a long way in enhancing the overall experience for our clients and their guests,” says Richard.

SETTING THE BAR At Downings, the training and the upskilling of its team are important, especially where health and safety is concerned. “We adhere to the highest regulations in safety; the way in which we train our staff to work at height and with scaffolds is an aspect that we cannot overlook,” says Richard Mons. To ensure its reach extends as far as possible, Downings Marquee Rentals has branches in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth, allowing for delivery and installation nationwide. From its impressive range of marquee infrastructure options and exceptional client service, to the management of its marquee staff and all the finishing touches, it is no surprise that Downings has distinguished itself from its competitors.

Visit our new website at

+27 (0)81 365 6777

Follow us on social media Downings Marquee Rentals




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Meetings’ must-know minutia

New luxury hotel in Sandton to launch end 2020 JB Train Tours to close JB Train Tours has announced it is closing, with operations ceasing as of Saturday 15 February 2020. A statement on the company’s Facebook page says, “After more than four decades in the tourism industry in Southern Africa, we at JB Train Tours (since 1975) have decided to call it a ‘halt’. “We’ve had long discussions, various meetings, alternative plans and some

sleepless nights before we made this decision. “As from Saturday 15th February 2020, we won’t be operational anymore – unless an energetic entrepreneur would like to continue this successful business!” The company’s statement ends with, “Keep on traveling and enjoy life.” JB Train Tours will reimburse bookings that have been made in 2020 and clients will be contacted directly to arrange this.

Newmark Hotels, a leading hotel management company, is opening a luxury hotel in Sandton, Johannesburg, at the end of 2020. The Catalyst Hotel will service both business and leisure travellers, with 207 rooms, a fully equipped conference facility, stateof-the-art gym and full-service spa. The hotel’s location is close to the iconic Gautrain station, providing a quick and easy connection to O.R. Tambo International Airport, as well as Gautrain stations across Johannesburg and Pretoria. It is also on the doorstep of Sandton City and Nelson Mandela Square, which boast a range of shopping, dining and entertainment options.

City Lodge expands in Maputo City Lodge Hotel Maputo opened its doors on 7 February 2020, making it the 62nd hotel in the City Lodge Hotel Group (CLHG). Located on Rua Para o Palmar in Mozambique’s capital city, the hotel is a quick 12-minute drive (6.5 km) from Maputo International Airport, as well as being conveniently located close to Costa do Sol beach, the city centre and various other business, entertainment, shopping and cultural attractions. Andrew Widegger, CEO, CLHG, says, “We are excited about growth prospects in Mozambique and our new City Lodge Hotel Maputo is ready to accommodate both business and leisure travellers.” City Lodge Hotel Maputo has 148 rooms, including one suite. All guest rooms feature en-suite bathrooms with maxi showers (selected rooms have baths), a queen bed or twin beds, air conditioning, Wi-Fi, television with selected DStv channels, tea- and coffeemaking facilities, a safe, fridge, USB ports on either side of the bed, and work desk with lighting and plugs for easy connectivity. Three of the rooms are designed for universal access.




With capabilities to deliver a full AV solution and a can-do attitude, Brandex is working to position itself as a leading industry player. Meetings talks to the company’s directors, Gabi Babinszky and Jack Smit, about their plans to get there. Brandex directors: Jack Smit and Gabi Babinszky


fter more than a year in the industry under its current model, Brandex’s unique selling point is that, through its offering, it can deliver a complete AV solution for all events and occasions. “We strive to deliver flawlessly with our hands-on approach. We have the knowledge and expertise to do it all ourselves, and the capabilities to service the organiser as well as the exhibitor. And, if we do run short, we have industry partners to assist us at any given time, day or night,” says Jack Smit, director at Brandex. Brandex understands how important it is to deliver an impactful experience that is even better than the last, and the company is not only able to supply and install the equipment but also operates as an agency that is able to help conceptualise the look and feel your event, with sound and lighting to suit every occasion. It sets itself apart from the rest as being the go-to for any and every AV requirement with its solutions-driven attitude, with no task proving too big or small. “We provide full-on AV solutions that can cater for all requirements within this scope; from a basic LED screen set-up to the infrastructure that can support any exhibition, conference and gala function – we will always make a plan,” highlights Gabi Babinszky, also a director at Brandex.

FACTORS TO CONSIDER In as much as Brandex is about putting up a great show, there are multiple considerations that need to be factored in when it comes to the planning of a project and the behind-the-scenes set-up. “This can take some time; you have a client to keep happy and a budget to manage, and we always want to give our clients the best solutions for their budget,” says Gabi. “Budget and design go hand in hand but, first and foremost, we need to understand the venue’s capabilities because its capacities need to be taken into consideration to suit the design, factoring in stage and visuals for the event,” adds Jack.



Customer service is at the heart of Brandex. The company operates under a model that sees Gabi and Jack personally involved in each project and besides their “yes, we can” attitude, the businessowners are

Brandex adheres to the highest standards – not just in its service delivery but in health and safety too. Working with heavy equipment, electricity and wiring can be occupational hazards and the company takes its safety very seriously in this regard, with procedures in place to mitigate any risks as far as possible. Weekly toolbox talks and weekly checks are key, and all equipment is sent off to be serviced every 12 months. “We prepare all gear before a show and work closely with all on-site engineers. And when projects are really big, we run all work past the engineers in advance to double-check they are happy with what needs to get done,” notes Jack. “Brandex does a full assessment of the requirements needed for each of its installations well in advance. We manage the transportation and logistics of each project down to a T and leave no stone unturned,” emphasises Gabi.

TRENDING FORWARD The world is changing at a rapid pace and the directors of Brandex pay close attention to the way in which the industry is evolving. “Expectations play a big role when it come to trends. We know that the current economy is challenging for both business and the consumer, so being able to afford the top trends out there is tough, particularly when we are talking about purchasing new equipment in dollar terms. With the local economy being what it is, we will grow conservatively and still deliver a wicked solution with superior customer service to all our clients,” says Gabi. “Budgets are tight, and clients don’t have the money for too much – they would rather keep it small, focused and intimate, which works just fine for us,” explains Jack. In the next 5 to 10 years, say the directors, they would still like to be an industry leader, with the bulk of their attention being on their clients, rather than on the growth of their business. “We will not lose focus on the most important aspect of what we do, which is, of course, our clients,” concludes Gabi.

based on-site to help deal with any challenges that may arise, as well as manage the day-to-day running of the business while being able to give their full focus to their clients and staff. “The event services knowledge and experience within the industry of both directors is of huge benefit to Brandex and its clients,” says Gabi. +27 64 655 6122





In an increasingly competitive space, uniquely tailored events that are most suited to your audience will be the differentiator. Meetings understands the ways in which you can get this spot on.


here is no doubt that conferences and exhibitions, when done right, are a potent marketing tool. And as we can see with our local industry associations, the MICE acronym is gaining popularity. “Together, we will position this industry as part of every marketing strategy,” were the words of Projeni Pather, chairperson of the Association of African Exhibition Organisers (AAXO), which resonated with everyone attending the ROAR Awards held at the end of January this year. We live in a world that commands perfection and on the tightest of budgets. This means that we must be creative not just in terms of bringing together all the elements required to deliver an exceptional execution but also in how we find the resources to bring together

10 • MEETINGS l MAR/APR 2020

an out-of-this-world experience. An event only happens once and, coincidentally, this is also the precise number of chances we have to get it right.

January/February 2020), we can ensure no stone is left unturned, and that nothing is left to chance. From here, we can start applying the four Ps of marketing – product, price, place and promotion – to ensure that our event doesn’t


FIRST THINGS FIRST… The most crucial aspect of how an event comes together is planning – if challenges arise during the organisation and management of an event, bringing together other elements such as creative content and nifty experiential ideas may not necessarily be hampered but poor planning can lead to a multitude of issues, which could overshadow these sorts of innovations. With the availability of the numerous tools available to conference and exhibition organisers (see our review in Meetings

 U nderstand and prioritise your stakeholders  S et clear objectives that are in line with those of your stakeholders  Pick the right team  Plan ahead  Target your event  P romote your event with an effective marketing campaign  Track satisfaction  Know what is happening when

#TAILOREDEVENTS because in trying to put together an event that is different from all the rest and unique in its own way, we could omit part of our audience – so more traditional formats and experiences are sometimes still best.

DON’T BE SHY TO BE NOVEL Some of the most talked about events in history were those bringing something novel to the world at the time. Events are an effective way to showcase new products and discuss the latest market developments to a large audience. This could also be used to secure the buy-in of a potential sponsor who may have just the gimmick we’re looking for to excite and invigorate our audiences, but it is important that we don’t lose sight of why we’re including this in the first place. The more interactive elements we can build into our events to create engagement and to understand our audiences, the better. Networking is still one of the top reasons for event attendance, where the delegate believes he or she may not be able to enjoy the same

CASE STUDY: DANISH SOCIETY OF ENGINEERS Event Anne, as she goes by, is an events fundi in Denmark. This is her take on just one way you can tailor your event. “When we design conferences at the Danish Society of Engineers, we have several different tracks for the attendees to follow – even for one-day conferences. We bundle the presentations in clusters that match a theme, but make sure that the presentations are equal in length for the delegates to pick and choose which presentations to go to. The model we use is this: All speakers get 20 minutes to present, then there are 5 minutes for questions, then 5 minutes to switch between presentations. This means that all time slots on the programme are 30 minutes each and start and stop at the same time.”

level of interactivity anywhere else in the world.

BOOSTING ATTENDANCE AND SPONSOR BUY-IN The more people who know about our events, the better it is for overall attendance. Any marketing done around an event should whet lose focus of its objective, which is to deliver the right message, at the right time, to the right decisionmakers and those with buying power.

PURPOSEFUL AND IMPACTFUL The unique selling point of each of our events lies in its purpose. The scope of what delegates might be able to gain or achieve must be clear to them and these reasons must be clearly laid out ahead of the planning process (see sidebar for some key planning considerations). While it is imperative to understand our target audience, the information we are presenting and the way in which the event is packaged needs to be broad enough that it can be accessible to a wide-ranging demographic. This is a tricky balance to strike




EFFECTIVE PLANNING FOR EXCEPTIONAL MARKETING Craig Evans, an Australian marketing expert writing for The Marketing & Growth Hacking Publication, emphasises the value of research for anyone organising an event. “It’s important that you don’t skip this part; putting on an event is complex and has a lot of moving parts, and without in-depth research, you will risk missing things,” he says. This research must define our goals and objectives by outlining the purpose of our event – what are we hoping to gain from the event as well as what the attendee will get out of it. Outlining what our event will entail will help us understand whether an execution of this nature is feasible or not. Determining our audience can have a major influence on the way the event is formatted and packaged. The way in which millennials absorb and retain information compared to their baby boomer counterparts will impact on how we interact and engage with our audiences, which is why getting to know who your audience is will result in more effective communication.

would-be delegates’ appetites by giving them event snippets and highlights they can look

BONUS TIP: Our event campaign extends beyond the lead-up and the days it runs, and we can create a post-event impact that is long-lasting in the hearts and minds of our delegates and stakeholders.

coverage, the event has a better chance of securing repeat business and sponsorship. In much the same way we are promoting the event to our delegates, we also need to promote the event meaningfully among our potential stakeholders so that they can see and understand the value within the alignment between them and our event. Together with effective planning, our event can be an allencompassing success.

forward to, getting them interested in finding out more information. Further to this, impressing upon them how the event fills specific needs is essential so that they feel as if the event is not just a high-level talk shop occasion but one that is necessary to attend. After an event has run once or more, it has a track record that can be leveraged to create a stronger brand presence, ideally attracting attendees and media to future events. Through better traction and

Once the event concept and approach has been established and all relevant parties – from the client to the behind-the-scenes service providers – are in agreement, we can create a pre-production timeline. These will differ depending on the nature and size of the event but, ideally, this timeline should be done in advance, with enough time to book the venue together with other service providers and start creating a hype around the event. Lastly, events are always budgetconscious, especially if you’re putting on an event on behalf of another business or brand. Working to a budget will ensure that you effectively prioritise your spending and it determines what your event can offer. By having these most crucial objectives in place before we roll out our marketing strategy, it will safeguard budgets and, with our efforts less focused on money and resources needed in order for our events to run smoothly, we can focus on developing a powerful and creative campaign to market our event more effectively.

AV Active is a supplier of events and conference services including corporate video production, AV sound & technical production, and business centre conferencing. AV Active is based in Johannesburg with branches in Pretoria, Cape Town and Bloemfontein, providing AV, technical and smart conferencing nationally. Our aim is to exceed your expectations and ensure you have peace of mind with a smooth and hassle-free event. TEL : +27 (11) 656 6494

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Meetings has been on a mission to bring you some top tailoring tips.

During this initial process, discuss the purpose of the event with your client and team. Build out your concept or theme and start reviewing budgets and timelines that also include a roadmap for engaging with your attendees and what ROI or metrics will be used to determine the success of the event.



Your event design will be heavily hinged on venue sourcing and/or site selection. This is also when you will need to start identifying service providers for the elements that make an event an event: audiovisual, catering, decor and on-the-ground staff such as security, which will also form part of your safety and security planning. Identifying possible sponsors for these aspects will also help your budget.



This is where you can really go to town – from logos and graphics for branding to meeting tools and sourcing speakers and entertainment. Aim to create a seamless experience for delegates from the get-go with an online registration process, website and mobile app that is downloadable ahead of the event, and roll out a social media campaign that engages and informs. Have a plan in place for on-arrival kiosks and information desks during the event and think about how you can create a buzz around photos and videos with social walls and video booths.

Leading up to the event, have a final production meeting to go over what on-site logistics must be factored in and who is responsible for managing which aspect of the event coming together. Ensure that all terms have been met with your service providers and confirm bookings for accommodation and transport. Bed down your show flow and engage with speakers and any other VIPs on their requirements.


CHECK MY NAILS Post event, you will need to reconcile all your invoices and payments and produce an analysis on the budget and spending. For your client, show ROI and for delegates, consider something like a resources booklet or section on your website with surveys and reporting on the metrics for better future planning.



O P- E D

LOCAL TRANSFORMATION ON A GLOBAL SCALE The MICE and greater tourism industries are representative of our country, but let’s look at transformation from a broader perspective and not just a local, South African viewpoint, encourages Thami Nkadimeng.


n the last edition, we touched on the new decade upon us and the innovation and technology needed to achieve the Industry 4.0 vision. Using the analogy that no meal can be cooked without a chef, the requirements and delivery to reach our tourism goals for the next decade need to be fulfilled by our people. Not just warm bodies but rather, intelligent and capable beings with varying capacities, experiences, skills and, especially, thought processes. It is encouraging to see that issues such as gender, race and economic status within transformation are receiving attention, as this ensures a holistic and encompassing view that history may have previously omitted. As an industry, tourism is a representative of our country and we need to look at transformation from a broader perspective – not just a South African viewpoint.


I found it profound to borrow the next steps of transformation from a maths geometry theory, considering that the words used in this theory have a direct description, overtone and undertone to the transformation we refer to in tourism. First, let us discuss the theory of rotation; in maths, this requires movement of a shape in either a clockwise or anticlockwise direction. To have an effect and propel us forward, we need to understand the changing facets around us and implement transformation with revolving pieces in mind.

14 • MEETINGS l MAR/APR 2020

Second, there is the notion of reflection – we need to reflect on the strides we have taken previously and make a decisive but settling decision on whether the methods used in the past are indeed working for us, or whether we need to rethink this. In order to do so, we need to look at the tools required, such as language and communication skill sets, as well as the mindsets of individuals and talent gaps while appreciating all that embraces diversity.


For transformation within tourism to be effective, we need to look at the direction of our partners and investors and ensure our objectives are aligned. Conversely, as an industry, it is imperative we map out the stakeholders who have an influence on our objectives and move together with them in a similar direction. We cannot even begin to consider transformation without inclusive growth of everyone – from key global players to our local communities, we need to consider how the growth affects all stakeholders for it to be inclusive. The transformation phase is not an easy one; it is not quite black and white… but the grey parts leave room for greater innovation. This phase is necessary for the reputation of the industry, both locally and internationally, and different perspectives increase creativity. With diverse outlooks and frames of mind, it is inevitable that there would be better solutions, resulting in increased profits. Given the impact of tourism, diversity carries a lot of gravity because, while many hands make light work, without diversity, how can we truly understand if this is working effectively to impact all?

An experienced writer, speaker, moderator and MC, Thami Nkadimeng is a message architect who conceptualises, creates and delivers messages to a wide range of audiences, across borders and boundaries, using a variety of tools and platforms to reach objectives set. For opportunities with Thami, contact her on


LARGE TO SMALL, THE CTICC HAS IT ALL The Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) has established itself as a destination of choice for conferences, exhibitions and business events on the African continent. This is why.


he Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) attracts a range of events from across the globe in key economic sectors outlined by the Western Cape Provincial Government and further augmented by the City of Cape Town. This host venue is ideally located in the central business district of Cape Town and is only a 20-minute drive from Cape Town International Airport, ensuring the 141 000 m2 complex is easily accessible to both local and international delegates. The purpose-built complex consists of CTICC 1 and CTICC 2, which are seamlessly connected by the Skybridge, allowing for multiple events to be hosted concurrently across meeting, conferencing, exhibition and auditoria spaces.

delegates. This flexibility enables the conference centre to host everything from smaller meetings of 10 pax to events such as the MamaMagic Baby Expo and the Cape Town International Jazz Festival, which boasts multiple stages with over forty artists performing and welcomes in excess of 34 000 festival-goers over two show days. Another significant event, the Investing in African Mining Indaba, saw the event organisers make use of over 50 venue spaces over four days for the annual get-together – proving once again that the CTICC is the ideal venue for a variety of events and a driver of the knowledge economy. The centre’s timely expansion has further bolstered the CTICC’s position as the venue of choice in Africa. To this end, the centre was able to secure hosting rights to the World

Ophthalmology Congress, which promises to attract 8 000 delegates.

COMMITTED TO SUSTAINABILITY Clients are assured of a venue as committed to the planet as they are. The centre provides event organisers with every opportunity to ‘green’ their events, reducing their environmental impact and carbon footprint. The CTICC sustainability practices are actively aligned to and its operations based on the United Nations Global Compact principles, contained in the UN’s sustainability goals for the year 2030, which facilities the centre’s triple-bottom-line approach to sustainable business: people, planet and profit. As an industry leader, the CTICC’s facilities and passionate staff enable it to deliver extraordinary experiences to a broad audience and clientele, no matter the size or type of event.

ENDLESS FLEXIBILITY The CTICC offers more than 21 000 m² of dedicated exhibition space, across 10 subdivisible exhibition halls, two auditoria seating 1 516 and 612 delegates, respectively, as well as the centre’s vast array of breakout rooms of varying sizes, which can accommodate from 25 to 320



16 • MEETINGS l MAR/APR 2020


2020 – A SEESAW OF POSITIVE THOUGHTS AND DOOM AND GLOOM PREDICTIONS What does this mean for us as an events company, where our services are usually seen more as a commodity than a necessity, asks Event Wizards.



n the Event Wizards’ inner chambers, it creates the breeding ground for new, innovative ways to deliver cost-effective events that meet the requirements of our clients within their budgets. While perfectly executed decor is a good benchmark, the magic only happens when you succeed in conveying the greater message – being a thank-you to staff or building brand awareness. It is not always about cutting costs for clients but getting more value for their money, as marketing becomes an even more powerful tool during economic downturns. The success of an event must be measurable and become part of a greater plan within the client’s marketing structure. For this reason, our event specialists will always seek to establish the ‘why’ of each event. A few of the trends and some creative ways to ensure that these event objectives can be implemented are: • an event app • a unique venue spaces • interactive event experiences • sustainability and recycling • inclusion is the new buzzword. Make Event Wizards a part of your team and we will help you achieve all your event objectives!




What important event aspects are often forgotten/neglected? Not having a backup plan for those unforeseen aspects like rain, more attendees than you planned for, the comfort of your guests and complying with health and safety regulations. What are your strategies for dealing with irate clients? Keep them calm no matter what! I always reassure my clients that we can deal with any challenge that confronts us. How do you keep your event budgets on track? Proper costing and keeping an eagle eye on expenditure! If you are not at work, where can you be found? Probably on the dancefloor, or in the kitchen.

What sort of events are you able to assist with? Meetings, awards, product launches, health and wellness events, anything – I love it all. How do you keep your event budgets on track? Through proper planning and procurement. By following the right channels, choosing the right suppliers and negotiating the best rates. Do you read any specific blogs or websites? Yes, I do enjoy the Event Managers Blog and Bright, which is very insightful on an international scale. To check what’s going on locally, I visit SAACI’s Facebook page or website, as well as the Event Greening Forum. Tell us about your favourite event? I love all of them. I think it’s all about passion, which I pour into every event that I do.

What type of events do you like to plan? I definitely like lifestyle events, exhibition stand building and private events. What are your strengths? I pay attention to detail and I work very well under pressure. What magic will you bring to an event? The perfect finish to the look and feel of the overall event. What important event aspects are often forgotten/neglected? It is definitely post-event evaluation and reviewing how the event succeeded in meeting the client’s expectations. What are your strategies for dealing with irate clients? I first listen to the client, empathise with them, then try find a suitable solution or suggest alternatives to solve the problem.

Event Wizards exists to design successful experiences. We are resourceful enough to deliver outstanding results where others thought it was impossible and with an agility that seems almost…like magic! • Concept Ideation • Décor • Entertainment • Equipment • Event Production • AV & Tech • Catering & • Event Greening TEL : +27 (12) 4605335


Don’t miss

the boat For Natasha Mostert, who oversees corporate and private events at the Harties Boat Company, it’s about mixing it up and keeping up to date with technology and new ideas that create lasting memories.

and it sparked my passion for the industry.

What was the best piece of advice you ever received? No matter what, show up!

Where do you see the meetings and events industry currently? Energising delegates is a priority! It’s all about creating experiences and building a team through an experience, rather than sitting down.

Where would you like to see the industry in the next five to ten years? Something that excites me tremendously is how the contribution of women in the business and tourism world has increased in recent years. I see this continuing well into the future, which makes the possibilities for all to benefit endless. #SHETrade

What role or influence do you believe your organisation plays in the industry? Hartbeespoort Dam is a lifestyle destination for

everyone close to the city, yet it’s out of this world! Our offering not only provides exciting and unique experiences but we contribute to the local economy and other societal sectors.

What is the most challenging aspect of what you do? Domestic and corporate travel, and general business growth, have been affected by our poor economy. We have seen a decline in overnight stay conferences and an increase in experience-based day activities. This is great for our activity products but not our accommodation sector.

My family. They motivate me to always do and be better.

What are some of your career highlights? Through Tourism Friendly, being part of the Miss, Mr and Mrs Deaf South Africa pageants – which we hosted two years in a row – has been humbling to say the least.

Who was your role model growing up? My grandmother, for the love she had for her family and grandchildren.

What do you enjoy the most about what you do?

Who inspires you and why?

Creating special and unforgettable experiences and memories. I also love marketing our beautiful town and showcasing what we have to offer in this hidden gem!

My husband. He survived cancer a few years ago and, after going through something so traumatic, it changes the way you see and value life.

What was your very first job? I was the guest relations ambassador for Legacy Hotels, Commodore and Portswood Hotels at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town. It was so exciting; I was so naive but gained incredible experience

What drives you both personally and professionally?

What quote best describes your outlook on life? “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

What values will you not deviate from? Always being kind, because everyone is fighting a battle we know nothing about.

What is your favourite thing to do in your spare time? Watching my favourite series with my husband when the kids finally go to bed!

What was your best holiday and why? Zanzibar for our 10-year wedding anniversary – it really is paradise!

What are some of your ‘bucket list’ items? I would love to visit Italy and New York, and take an extended trip on a cruise ship. I would love to learn to play a musical instrument and learn Setswana. I also hope to have the opportunity to drastically and positively change someone’s life.

What is your favourite read? My bible or devotions, Facebook, Instagram and News24.

What three items do you never leave home without? My phone, my sunglasses and water.

What do people most often wrongly assume about you?

What is your most prized possession?

That I don’t have a full-time job!

My family, for sure!






As a world-class multipurpose venue with 22 000 m2 of event space, Sandton Convention Centre (SCC) is focused on delivering excellence at every event, from an intimate 15-person board meeting through to a glamorous cocktail event for over 4 000 guests.


he elegant venue, which this year celebrates its 20th anniversary, is best known for the many large-scale consumer and trade exhibitions, huge sporting events such as the annual Arnold Classic, festivals such as RMB WineX and Standard Bank Joy of Jazz, and major wealth conferences, all of which are constantly attracting the public’s attention. At the same time, the ever-versatile SCC also hosts numerous smaller events every month, providing the identical level of excellent service and attention to detail, the state-ofthe-art facilities, and the renowned food and beverage offering as at every large event. Shaun Bird, GM of SCC, says, “Our core strategy for some time now has been customer focus – being flexible and always listening to what our clients want. Our team

MEETINGS l MAR/APR 2020 Convention Centre 20 •Sandton

is dedicated and works together to make sure that every event – regardless of size – runs smoothly and that our clients are given the best service possible. This strategy is paying off and smaller events are impacting our business growth.”

FLEXIBLE VENUES FOR VARIOUS OCCASIONS SCC has a total of 17 venues, which include two large exhibition halls (Exhibition 1 and Exhibition 2), as well as the Pavilion and the Ballroom, designed for large events of all types. The selection of smaller venues is available for more intimate meetings and events. The Boardrooms can be set up in a number of configurations to accommodate clients’ varying needs and cater for 15 to 80 guests.

@SCC_Joburg #SCCExperience

Adjacent is the popular and stylish Bill Gallagher Room, which is suitable for postmeeting functions and celebrations or cocktail events and weddings. It also features natural lighting through glass doors and a lovely terrace on to which the event can naturally flow. Janine Baltensperger, events manager at SCC, says the range of smaller events hosted by the centre is broad. “We host companies within the financial services sector, training companies, associations, PCOs, corporates, and others, for board and business meetings, team building, workshops, and training sessions, all with their own specific requirements, for which we pull out all the stops.” She adds, “Every client is guaranteed the same level of service, whether they bring us 15 people or thousands.”

“Our core strategy for some time now has been customer focus – being flexible and always listening to what our clients want.” Shaun Bird, GM of Sandton Convention Centre

#SCC Deirdre Caine van Staden, marketing manager at SCC, notes that holding workshops, brainstorming sessions, and other meetings and events off-site has become increasingly popular for businesses. “Being away from the business environment can encourage greater levels of creativity and networking among delegates. There is also often an enhanced sense of occasion in an unfamiliar and inspiring environment, distractions are reduced or even eliminated, and people are more engaged.”

MORE THAN 600 ANNUAL EVENTS SCC hosts more than 600 events annually, from large-scale banquets for up to 2 200 guests in the luxurious Ballroom, 4 500 cocktail guests in the Pavilion, all the way to 10 to 250 people in a range of smaller meeting rooms. Over 10 000 people can be accommodated in the centre per day. Shaun Bird says that SCC’s 20 years of experience have ensured the development of a vast store of expertise, knowledge and industry insight. “We constantly tap into our experience and expertise, we share learnings with each other, and we stay abreast of changing consumer and industry trends. This is an international convention centre, and everything we offer must consistently be world class.” SCC’s easily accessible location is also a key drawcard for the venue, being sited in the heart of Johannesburg’s business and commercial hub, surrounded by hotels and upmarket shopping centres, and a convenient Gautrain station. And as recent testament to the centre’s excellence, SCC achieved the distinction of being the national five-star winner in the Conference and Exhibition Venue category of the prestigious 2019 Lilizela Tourism Awards in November.




VENUE VARIETY Large and small, who can do it all? Meetings looks at the offerings of some of the most diverse local players. JOHANNESBURG EXPO CENTRE

As Africa’s largest, fully-contained, multipurpose facility, the Johannesburg Expo Centre (JEC) is as big as they come. With 20 000 secure parking bays, the venue can accommodate massive crowds – and even a helicopter at its registered helipad landing site for VIPs flying in. However, the centre’s key selling point lies not in its sheer size but in the different eventing experiences that can be had at the JEC. The award-winning venue is able to provide everything from transport and security to audiovisual, electrical and health and safety compliance for large-scale trade shows and exhibitions, conferences, festivals, government functions and private occasions such as product launches, gala dinners and weddings. While it comfortably manages capacities of tens of thousands at any given time, the JEC also offers spaces at its Bateleur and Black Eagle conference centres that can be partitioned and designed for more intimate meetings and smaller functions, with a dedicated team on-site at all times to assist with all eventing needs.




22 • MEETINGS l MAR/APR 2020

Sandton Convention Centre is an organiser’s dream come true and the venue offers options to suit every style and type of event. Host to major shows such as Meetings Africa, Hostex and the Arnold Classic, the convention centre is located within a major hub of the Sandton CBD, where there are up to 5 000 rooms available within walking distance from the venue. Sandton City shopping centre and Nelson Mandela Square are accessible across the skywalk, and attendees can enjoy some of the world’s finest designer labels at the exclusive Diamond Walk. Combined with Sandton City’s parkade, 11 000 parking bays are accessible. As a venue that offers ample space with multiple set-ups, Sandton Convention Centre also provides a range of eventing options in its boardrooms and committee rooms that make it ideal for breakaway sessions, meetings, conferences and other corporate functions such as roundtable discussions and seminars.


The beauty of the Birchwood Hotel and OR Tambo Conference Centre is that it provides different levels of accommodation on-site for its guests, which means you can budget for an international conference of any size without your delegates having to go anywhere. Just 10 minutes from O.R. Tambo International Airport, Birchwood’s free shuttle service to and from the venue and airport makes it easily accessible for anyone flying into South Africa’s most trafficked airport. With 60 well-equipped on-site spaces to choose from, organisers can put up an event of any shape and size, with Birchwood’s largest room offering accommodating up to 3 000 people at a time. The venue offers a full conferencing experience that includes AV and technical support, catering with tea and coffee, and free Wi-Fi. While at the venue, guests have access to Birchwood’s restaurants, pools and spa, as well as its fully equipped business centre, bringing all office amenities to your delegates.


freight handling, registration, security and technical management. For catering, Gallagher’s experienced on-site chefs can provide customised meals for all event sizes, including exhibitions. And with Gallagher’s full generator backup supply and



Gallagher Convention Centre’s popularity is evident in the numbers. Hosting an average of more than 350 annually across its sprawling 32-hectare premises, its offering is as impressive as it is varied. With 27 spaces to choose from at Gallagher Convention Centre, you can tailor any event for between 2 and 7 000 people. The venue is also home to a beautiful wine garden that is tucked away in tranquil surrounds – ideal for private functions. Along with its pre-qualified network of suppliers who are carefully vetted, Gallagher ensures superior service for decor, logistics,

a million-litre water reserve, extended power or water cuts won’t disrupt your event.


With the development of CTICC 2, Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) has extended the unmatched capacity that has positioned the venue as a huge economic contributor to the city of Cape Town. Catering for crowds of up to 20 000, the CTICC has played host to some of South Africa’s most notable international events, with many more coming up over the next year or two, including the World Ophthalmology Congress in June, during which it expects between 10 000 and 15 000 attendees from 110 countries. And with several four- and five-star hotels within close proximity, delegates don’t have to travel far. With up to 38 spaces to choose from, which include several breakaway rooms, the CTICC’s offering is also centred on delivering events using the most sustainable means possible. To this end, it has partnered with several groups to drive various initiatives that uplift the local community by providing them with opportunities through the events hosted at the CTICC.




W E L L- B E I N G


WITHOUT BURNING OUT The people who cater to our every whim in bars, restaurants and hotels often work long hours to ensure that we are looked after and have a good, and happy, experience. Perhaps it’s no surprise these employees are prone to burnout, says hospitality industry veteran Guy Stehlik.


oing the extra mile is part of the job, but all those miles can end up being exhausting. In the hotel business, staff work tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that guests enjoy their stay at any good hotel, and the hotel never sleeps to ensure that every guest has a peaceful night’s rest. Guy Stehlik, CEO of South Africa-based hospitality company BON Hotels, has worked in every sphere of the industry, having grown up in the hotels his father managed and starting out working as a bellboy at just seven years old. A self-confessed ‘hotel brat’, he has acquired a lifetime of industry knowledge working for prominent hotel groups including the Hyatt Group and Protea Hotel Group, before founding BON Hotels. “Hotel employees, including those who work in management and in head office, spend long days and nights pretty constantly on the go. We often sacrifice downtime, quality time with our families and valuable holidays to be on top of our game at work. This, combined with a variety of workplace stresses, can leave you susceptible to exhaustion,” he says.


The WHO lists symptoms of burnout as feeling depleted or exhausted, having an increased mental distance or feelings of negativity towards your job, and reduced professional efficacy. Awareness plays a huge role in addressing mental health concerns. A study by Occupational Care South Africa found that every day 15% of South Africans are absent from work, with only one in three being physically ill. This absenteeism reportedly

24 • MEETINGS l MAR/APR 2020

costs businesses between R12 billion and R16 billion in lost revenue annually. There is an increasing focus on workplace wellness. One recent report by The RAND Corporation in the USA determined that more than 80% of companies in the country with teams of 50 or more people offered their employees corporate wellness benefits. And many South African businesses are following suit.


Guy advises a holistic approach to self-care; looking after your personal health, prioritising time for your own interests outside of the workplace, and planning quality time with loved ones to maintain strong relationships. “Things like being sure to drink enough water throughout the day might seem very obvious but we often forget to stop to drink some water when we are running around looking after other people’s needs – likewise, you need to make sure you are putting enough nutrients into your body,” he says. On a similar note, many studies show that regular exercise boosts energy. It might be the last thing you feel like doing after a long shift, but it also releases endorphins that make you happier, helps to relieve stress and anxiety, and generally keeps you stronger and healthier. It can even help you sleep better – and a good night’s rest can go a long way towards improving your day at work. “Our jobs revolve around catering to the needs of guests, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You must find a balance to perform at your best without becoming exhausted. You have to look after yourself to be able to look after others,” which, Guy says, is easier said than done.


SELF-MADE MAN Kopano ‘Kops’ Lebethe has come a full circle from where he first started as a marketer for some of the biggest global brands. He talks exclusively to Meetings about his journey.


“I learnt my lessons the hard way but was always able to deliver on my commitment to my clients.”

opano ‘Kops’ Lebethe isn’t a man to mince his words. Now in his mid-40s, he has vast experience behind him and his business has managed sizeable campaigns for the likes of CocaCola, MTN and SABMiller. Working as associate brand manager for CocaCola in 2001, Kops spread his wings and ventured out on his own. “When I was serving out my notice at CocaCola, I was handling both music and soccer properties. I launched my business and I pitched a proposal to them for below-the-line experiential marketing, with my first project being to launch Fanta Pineapple in Swaziland, now eSwatini. This was done under my company, Kops Marketing Services,” says Kops. Kops says his strengths lie in being able to conceptualise an idea, pitching it and getting the buy-in of stakeholders but that his greatest downfall has been realising success too young in life. “I didn’t have a child or a wife, and I had very little commitment in terms of my responsibility, which led to some reckless decisions being taken on spending. I learnt my lessons the hard way but I was always able to deliver on my commitment to my clients.”

TAKING A BREAK During 2005, Kops left Johannesburg, which at the time, he felt was necessary for him to regroup to gain perspective and focus on

pursuing his dream of one day founding Kops Inc. “I closed up shop and went home (home home) to Mafikeng to find myself,” he says.After spending two years selling insurance, which Kops refers to as “low-hanging fruit”, and a year consulting to his uncle’s cleaning business, Kops decided to come back to Johannesburg with more clarity – he was contacted by his old manager who was now working at Coca-Cola’s activations agency to work on the Coca-Cola FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour and co-roll out the campaign across the African continent the following year. The lifestyle that the role afforded Kops was opulent but, he admits, was also his demise. “After I quit alcohol for good, I relaunched my business with a new company, Kops Communications & Projects. I then started consulting for the music industry and worked with various well-known artists including Liquideep and Khuli Chana, travelling to every corner of Africa.” Kops Music was eventually born in January 2015, with its own e-store. “I had partnerships with various artists, whereby I would do placements and music sampling for them; I would do bookings for them as well, and this was specifically for unknown artists because I felt that there were so many artists who want to be known but don’t get the exposure. With the launch of Kops Music, this was the opportunity I wanted to provide,” explains Kops.

A TOUGH DECISION A year after launching Kops Music, the business was taking strain financially because, as good as the model was for up-and-coming artists, it wasn’t generating enough revenue to sustain itself. “I continued with Kops Communications & Projects, consulting in the corporate world instead. This then last year gave birth to KOPSMEDIA and incorporated 18 years’ experience in eventing, marketing and project management with a bit of media buying,” says Kops. More recently, he has revived his focus on music and entertainment and represents the likes of the Soweto String Quartet and Seiso Tswak Baker. Currently running several projects that extend to different industry sectors and with his experience managing artists, Kops has some wise words: “An event only happens once – in a moment in time – and never again. There’s only one way it can be done and that is to get it right.”



A Convergence of Business

and Adventure

Didima Conference Centre & Wedding Venue, Cathedral Peak, Maloti-Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site: (036) 488 8000 Ntshondwe Conference Centre & Wedding Venue, Ithala Game Reserve: (034) 983 2540

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.

The Perfect Wedding

Make your big day perfect with unlimited privacy, breathtaking scenery, birdlife, wildlife, scenic trails, comfortable accommodation, delicious food and personalised service excellence. Awaken your senses...


T: +27(0) 33 845 1000 E: Online bo o king : Web:

Conservation, Partnerships & Ecotourism



Augrabies Falls

Sun International’s Flamingo Casino offers an affordable and versatile space for conferencing in the Northern Cape. It has a selection of adaptable meeting rooms with state-of-the-art equipment for hire, and ample accommodation. The complex has a range of restaurants to choose from as well as team-building activities and a 24-hour casino to keep guests entertained. Its largest conference venue can seat 240 pax and is suitable for private corporate functions and business meetings. What to see…

From the Northern and Eastern to the Western Cape, Meetings goes on an exciting expedition to unearth some of the best things to see and do when conferencing in the region. Flamingo Casino

The Northern Cape is more commonly known as a vast arid region, but it is home to some of the most amazing natural wonders in the country, including the Augrabies Falls National Park. Aukoerebis is Khoi for ‘place of the great noise’ and the national park is sprawled over an 820 km2 area that stretches across the Orange River, which is a sight to behold in a dry, desert setting. What to do… Visit the Big Hole in Kimberley to learn about an incredibly rich part of South Africa’s history. Not only will you see what is thought to be one of the largest diamond excavations dug by hand, which is impressive by its sheer scale, but you can also experience what it was like living during those times at the Kimberley Mine Museum. And if stargazing is your thing, you are in for a treat in the Northern Cape, which is home to the Square Kilometre Array Project. Where to stay…

Tswalu Game Reserve

The Tswalu Kalahari Reserve is South Africa’s largest private game reserve and covers an area of over 114 000 hectares. The Tswalu Lodge ranges in accommodation options, including a residence once occupied by the Oppenheimer family. It is ideal for guests in need of R&R and offers revitalising therapies at its spa.




EASTERN CAPE Where to meet…

The Garden Route

The East London International Convention Centre is part of the Marine Park Complex on the East London Esplanade and is an ideal venue that is central and fit for purpose for exhibitions, gala banquets, cocktails functions, conventions, conferences, seminars and launches. Its dedicated team can assist organisers with innovative ideas for their next event and, should you need accommodation, the 260-room Premier Hotel EL ICC, as well as the adjacent 175 rooms of the Premier Hotel Regent, provide a range of options. What to see…

Addo Elephant National Park

The official Garden Route starts in Mossel Bay in the Western Cape and extends to Storms River in the Eastern Cape. Dotted with wine farms and quaint towns, the 300 km Garden Route is renowned for its glorious sightseeing opportunities by travellers to South Africa and locals alike. There is plenty of accommodation along this stretch but plan in advance so you don’t end up stranded. What to do… The Addo Elephant National Park is the third largest of South Africa’s 20 national parks. It is home to the densest elephant population in South Africa, with roughly 550 elephants – up from just 16 in 1989! The Addo Elephant National Park is an hour’s drive from Port Elizabeth and is in a malaria-free area. Where to stay…

East London International Convention Centre

Kwandwe Private Game Reserve is a 22 000 hectare private game reserve, north of Grahamstown. Meaning ‘place of the blue crane’ in isiXhosa, the reserve is divided almost exactly in half by the Great Fish River. Spot the big five in this game reserve and choose from the different lodge and villa accommodation options offered by the venue.

Kwandwe Private Game Reserve

28 • MEETINGS l MAR/APR 2020


WESTERN CAPE Where to meet… There is an abundance of meeting and conferencing venues in and around the main city centre of Cape Town but the Cape Town International Convention Centre is by far the largest. For smaller conferences, the Century City Conference Centre provides beautifully lit spaces with fantastic layout options. And, conveniently, it is just across the road from the Century City Hotel, which has 125 rooms. What to see… With so much to explore in Cape Town, it is impossible to choose; however, one of its most famous attractions, Table Mountain, remains a firm favourite. No more is this apparent than during peak tourist season, when queues of cars can be seen wrapped around the hillside to try to get to the cable cars that transport excited passengers to the top. As it is one of the most popular spots in the region, consider going out of season if you don’t want a lengthy wait. What to do… From beaches and outdoor markets to museums and scenic vistas, there is a hive of activity taking place at any given time in the Western Cape. One of the best ways to see the province is with the Cape Town City Sightseeing Hop-On Hop-Off Tour. Depending on how much time you have to see the city, one- and two-day tickets across four different routes are available with audio guide headphones available for Afrikaans, Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish and Zulu speakers.

Century City Hotel

Where to stay… The Western Cape is one of the top travelled provinces in South Africa and offers a range of accommodation options – from bed and breakfasts to luxury, five-star hotels. For an incredible inner-city stay where guests’ every need is taken care of, the Taj Cape Town is not to be missed. Once home to the South African Reserve Bank, the Taj Cape Town has been refurbished with rich marble finishings, while retaining its old-school charm.



Meet The Premier Way

Premier Hotels and Resorts offers a wonderful collection, and new properties, in fantastic locations throughout South Africa - and is renowned for warm hospitality, excellent standards and kind staff. We welcome Mapungubwe, Quatermain, Falstaff and Roodevalley hotels to our family. Book your conference at any Premier Hotel or Resort and be spoilt with special rates, great value-for-money and a customised menu of your favourite homemade meals to enjoy with lunch and tea/coffee breaks.

W W W. P R E M I E R H O T E L S . C O . Z A | 0 8 6 1 1 1 5 5 5 5 | I N F O @ P R E M I E R H O T E L S . C O . Z A W W W. F A I R C I T Y. C O . Z A | 0 1 0 0 0 1 9 4 9 5

Eastern Cape: East London | Free State: Bloemfontein | Gauteng: Johannesburg, Sandton, OR Tambo, Midrand, Pretoria KZN: Drakensberg, Durban, Himeville, Port Edward, Richards Bay, Scottburgh (under renovation) | Mpumalanga: White River | Western Cape: Cape Town, Knysna

Premier Splendid Inn Bloemfontein now open!





2. Site inspection support

In the Bidding Support phase, the SANCB can

Site inspections showcase the elements included

Site inspections also reinforce the benefits of

provide the following support:

in the destination’s bid. Site inspections are

hosting a conference in South Africa and dispel

Pre- and post-bid support such as bid

part of the SANCB’s service offering. The SANCB,

negative preconceived notions.

promotion and handling of requests for

in conjunction with the city and provincial


convention bureaux, organises and facilitates

Independent advice when selecting a destination for your event

site inspections to assist association heads and

The benefits are: •

South Africa is a cost-effective destination with attractive exchange rates

business-event decision makers by introducing them to the event professionals, who will bring

South Africa is a world-class destination

their meeting, conference, event or incentive

Delivery of world-class services and

Bid materials to provide support to members

Government Letters of Support

to life. The SANCB will invite key decision

experiences that are on time and bring

Bid presentations

makers to view options to help confirm the

the WOW factor

Lobbying and promotional support

Meeting planner support services, such as collateral materials, signage and assistance in locating suppliers

conference offering, including pre- and postshow opportunities. Site inspections are a crucial part of the decision-making process for business events. The venue must be conveniently situated

South Africa is a secure and harmonious nation

The opportunity to leave a lasting impression

close to transport routes and important

Political/economic stability

Advice on local issues

amenities and must boast the facilities and

South Africa is an innovative and

Destination expertise through numerous

luxuries that befit a business traveller and

channels including the SANCB’s meeting

conference delegate. The venue must be secure

and incentive planner website, and meeting

and attractive, with state-of-the-art infrastructure

professional. Furthermore, well-coordinated

planner fact books

and technology, as well as excellent cuisine and

site inspections give decision makers key

Co-ordinating requests for bidding

a wide range of culinary and beverage options.

insights into the wide variety of venues

advanced nation •

South Africans are warm, welcoming and

available in the chosen city. This allows decision makers to make their choices based on the facilities and location that best suits the conference attendees

For destination expertise and convention planning support, contact the South Africa National Convention Bureau. T: +27 (0)11 895 3000 E: W:




The SANCB understands that no two events are the same, so they will tailor-make a list of recommended venues according to the specific needs of the event.

3. Convention planning support The South Africa National Convention Bureau,

b) Locating Suppliers

submitting requests for proposals in-house,

with the city and provincial bureaux, is perfectly

A well-planned conference requires the

and carefully monitoring their progress.

positioned to assist with planning a congress,

co-ordinated efforts of numerous suppliers,

meeting, expo or convention in South Africa.

such as stand designers and builders, catering

e) Co-ordinating Site Inspections

Their team has effective working relationships

companies, entertainment, translation services,

Site inspections are an integral aspect of the

with an extensive database of local service

professional speakers, security, transport, graphic

planning phase as they inform decision makers

providers. The SANCB can also facilitate

designers, décor experts, audiovisual experts

on the locations and facilities that will work

collateral materials, government liaison and

and many other technical suppliers. The SANCB

best for the conference. The SANCB works

advice on destination and local issues. Key

works with city and provincial convention

closely with South Africa’s venues and is ideally

services during the Convention Planning stage:

bureaux to propose recommended suppliers and


facilitate business relationships.

to facilitate the inspection of suitable locations.

South Africa has a wide variety of business event

c) Compiling Cost Estimates

f) Advising on Pre- and Post-Tour Opportunities

venues that cater for different types of events.

Conferences require complex budgets that must

South Africa has an abundance of pre- and

The SANCB understands that no two events

be strictly adhered to. The SANCB understands

post-tour opportunities. Conference delegates

are the same, so they will tailor-make a list of

the importance of these budgets, and will

will be able to see for themselves why millions

recommended venues according to the specific

propose Professional Conference Organisers

of travellers flock to South Africa every year.

needs of the event. Whether it’s a conference

that can assist with budget-related matters.

From wine-tasting along the world’s longest

for 2 000 in one of South Africa’s Centres of

South Africa has dozens of excellent (PCOs) that

wine route, to exploring Gauteng’s cultural

Excellence, or a convention for 15 000 in the

are skilled in all aspects of conference organising,

precincts, to visiting the country’s renowned

heart of Cape Town, Durban or Johannesburg,

including costings and budgets.

a) Sourcing Venues

the SANCB will find the perfect venue.

Kruger National Park; the SANCB can advise the organising committee on the most

d) Submitting and Monitoring RFPs

rewarding destinations and activities to

The SANCB and the relevant local convention

consider for their delegates.

bureau will ease the planning process by


4. Delegate boosting

5. On-site event services

The South Africa National Convention Bureau

The evaluation criteria for choosing one

On-site event services are vital as they add

can co-ordinate efforts to increase the number

of these packages includes:

remarkable value to a delegate, especially

of delegates attending a business event in

Being part of an international

if the delegate is visiting South Africa for the

association agenda

first time. On-site services are the little things

partnership with the association. It is in the best interest of all involved to have the maximum number of delegates attend an event, which In turn boosts the success of

Support provided in the bidding phase

Delegate numbers (and the countries they are from)

the event. The SANCB can assist associations

that can happen on site that make a big difference to the delegate’s experience. The SANCB is proud to offer on-site event services as part of its range of support services.

to promote and market a convention in a


The objective of this service offering is to

number of key ways, including promotional


enhance the delegate’s experiences and put

Economic development criteria

into perspective the value of the delegate’s

material, special services and cultural displays. Delegate Boosting Packages

The Delegate Boosting packages include

The SANCB offers three packages to assist

a range of offerings, including tourism

with delegate boosting:

information giveaways, branding, electronic

The Standard Package

The Standard Plus Package

The Elite Package

visit to our country, over and above the value of the conference programme itself.

and print marketing material, destination marketing material, and (in the Elite Package), VIP gifting, wine and drinks activations and customised marketing materials.

“We have to make sure that all delegates have a fantastic time in our country. This will ensure that they tell their friends and families, which translates to further business.” Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo, Chief Convention Bureau Officer at the South Africa National Convention Bureau



EVENT SERVICES? Some examples include; •

Cultural entertainment

Welcome stands and airport transfers

Acivity/local attraction bookings

Travel arrangements and activities for accompanying persons

Personalised gifts



Bid Strategy

Bid Document


Bid Promotion

Bid Presentations


Bidding Site Inspections

Convention Planning Site Inspections

CONVENTION PLANNING SUPPORT PLANNING SUPPORT Planning support • Planning Support and supplie • enue Venue and Supplier recommendations Recommendations Final decision with Final decision with client



Marketing support to promote the SA conference

Delegate attendance promotion


Our value proposition as an industry

The outputs and legacies to be identified and quantified in the SANCB-led studies will cover a broad spectrum, from the value of networks and business transactions arising from an event, to medical advancements like improved disease awareness, research, and treatment practices. Also to be explored are the benefits that hosting events can deliver to the host community, including profiling a particular country or city in connection with key elements of their economic or social agenda or attracting new talent to key sectors. To learn more, contact the South Africa National Convention Bureau, and visit

on delegate and organiser spending to the value of what these events actually achieve for organisers, participants and host communities. As simple as it sounds, this in fact has huge implications, because it places the business-events industry at the centre of both the global economy and the underlying scientific, professional, academic, business and social advancements that drive it.

For destination expertise and convention planning support, contact the South Africa National Convention Bureau. T: +27 (0)11 895 3000 E: W:

Support toward on-site elements of the event


UNPACKING THE LEGACY OF BUSINESS EVENTS has been changing from one based



LIFE IN THE HOSPITALITY LANE Arnold Tanzer, Hostex 2020 ambassador and owner of Food on the Move, shares insights from his 31-year career in hospitality, with lessons learned along the way to inspire and guide young chefs of today.


started my career in hospitality because I was hungry. I was in the Netherlands in 1989 escaping military duty in South Africa and the only job I could get was as a kitchen porter – a fancy word for dishwasher. I was given some sexy rubber boots, an apron, and pointed in the direction of the pot wash. That was where my foray into cooking began. I helped with the unpopular jobs such as peeling onions and dicing potatoes and was soon moved within the company to a fine-dining restaurant as a demi chef and placed in an apprentice system. Three years later, I wrote my final exam and qualified. I then spread my wings and joined Holland America Cruise Lines as chef tournant, which meant relief cheffing on any of the ships where there was a need, which was how I became Michael Douglas’s personal chef while he was shooting a movie.

“My biggest working life highlight is changing people’s lives. Young people who have worked for me have gained a skill, bettered their lives economically and with life skills, and have gone on to change other people’s lives.”

FINAL TIPS • Put your head down and graft • Be curious • Be strong – acknowledge your weaknesses, you can overcome them • Be patient – with yourself, others and your career path • Phone your mother often

I returned to South Africa and became head chef at Londolozi, which was a Relais & Chateaux property, and then travelled across the continent, training local chefs at the expanding group’s new properties. In the early 2000s, I was owner of a delicatessen – a café and purveyor of fine locally produced food in Johannesburg – and I became involved in the SA Chefs Association, on the board as a director and for eight years as vicepresident. In my early 30s, I was elected to the WorldChefs board, still to date the youngestever elected director. The deli was followed by Food on the Move, which started about 18 years ago as a consultancy, evolved into a bespoke catering company, and is now firmly entrenched in the film and TV industry.

LIFE LESSONS My school years. I had no interest in the dogmatic, overbearing government school system, and I didn’t excel academically. I learned to knuckle down and get through phases in life that you don’t enjoy – they will pass – and to stand up for my beliefs and rage against the ‘machine’. My pot wash year. Any work is better than no work, and any opportunity offered must be grabbed with both hands. It has become the way I live – listen to the opportunity, if it suits you, go for it. Also, the scullery is still where you will find me if I am super-stressed and need to be on my own for a while. The work is mind-clearing. The ships. Glamour is an illusion and it takes a well-oiled, disciplined ‘army’ of hard-working people to create the comfort that people pay for. My time across Africa. The continent is full of opportunities and beautiful, smiling people who are keen to learn, contribute and live a meaningful life. No business can operate without buy-in from the community. The delicatessen. Retail is probably the toughest sector of our economy. As a small businessowner, the competition is fierce, you’re always on the back foot, you’re required to sacrifice a lot, from personal time to hard-earned cash, and the public can be ruthless in their judgement and expectations.






o you want to prevent ‘presenteeism’ – being present, but lacking energy, focus, memory and productivity – in your meeting and conference attendees?” asks Mari Pronk, a registered dietician and ADSA (Association for Dietetics in South Africa) spokesperson. Awareness about how food affects us, both immediately and in the long term, is driving smarter food choices worldwide. Events are no different, and careful menu design presents an opportunity not only to satisfy your guests’ taste buds and fulfill their varied dietary needs, but also to help them get the most out of your event – whether they are there to present, learn, network or sell.

GASTRONOMIC GUIDELINES There is a lot to consider, but Pronk suggests the following guidelines will put you on the right track: Always establish whether any attendees have specific dietary needs before your event, so that you can cater for them. It is usually best to order halaal and kosher meals from an appropriate certified caterer. The basic healthy eating guidelines will apply to your menu – this will include lowering

36 • MEETINGS l MAR/APR 2020

Food is key at events and here’s how you can keep your attendees awake, writes Pippa Naude.

the intake of sugar, fat and salt and increasing the intake of dietary fibre and whole grains. Avoid high-fat, starchy foods like vetkoek/fat cakes, croissants, pastries and samoosas. Avoid large, heavy meals during lunchtime, as these can lead to drowsiness, seeing that more oxygen is pumped to the stomach instead of the brain. Platters are a great option for in-between meals that can be served at tea breaks, or as lunch during half-day meetings. Variety is key. For example, platters can consist of a mixture of fruits, vegetables, sandwiches, meats, and boiled eggs or cheese. Meat options include grilled chicken, mini skewers of beef or chicken, and mini meatballs. Vegetable options include crudités (cut vegetables such as celery, carrot, cucumber, peppers and cherry tomatoes) served with a tzatziki or hummus dip. Fruit options include pineapple slices, pawpaw, watermelon, sweetmelon, strawberries, small bunches of grapes and fruit

kebabs. Serve sandwiches made with an assortment of whole-grain breads (whole wheat, seed, rye, brown), pita, buns/rolls and wraps. Fillings for these can include a protein such as tuna, egg, chicken or cheese, with salad vegetables like tomato, lettuce and cucumber. Small bran muffins are also a good choice. Lunch meals should have at least one lean meat dish option and one vegetarian option, one starch option and two vegetables options. Pronk recommends that you serve one dark green and one yellow/orange flesh vegetable/salad, because they contain a good mix of important vitamins. Serve low-fat salad dressings with salads. Vegetarian dishes can include vegetable and bean stew, vegetable curry, ratatouille with chick peas, vegetable lasagne or vegetable biryani.

KEEPING HYDRATED Lastly, Pronk adds that hydration is often overlooked but critical in preventing fatigue. She suggests you serve jugs of water or bottled still water as the main beverage, and offer tea, coffee and rooibos tea as an alternative. Don’t forget to provide low-fat or fat-free milk, as well as sugar and sugar substitutes for tea or coffee. Finally, because of its high sugar content, offer 100% fruit/vegetable juice in portions of 250 ml or less.

#FOODFORTHOUGHT HEALTHY EVENT EATING FOR FOODIE FANATICS Catering for healthy eating at events doesn’t have to be boring. Meetings looks at some of the ways you can ensure attendees eat well and feel good.



This is growing in popularity, with many events opting to have bowls of fruit as part of the snacks that are available to guests in conferences and seminars – fruit and veg displays are a fun and attractive way to entice guests to eat more nutritiously. Remember, it’s all in the presentation.

Sushi is still a massively popular catering item at events and, while the rice may be quite stodgy, there are varieties that won’t leave guests feeling overly full and unable to focus. Sushi is also all about aesthetics and can be arranged in beautiful and colourful displays.



Let guests put together their own combinations with a lowGI/gluten-free noodle or wrap station that can be accompanied by a range of vegetables such as avocados, carrots, radishes, onions and fresh herbs like basil, as well as pine nuts and other tree nuts.

Heavy carbs are becoming increasingly phased out from menus for being just that – they’re heavy and delegates generally feel sleepy and lose concentration after a carb-laden meal, so combat this by turning to healthier alternatives such as veggie platters and portobello mushroom steak burgers.



Treat guests to a bit of everything with a range of healthy, smaller meals such as fish and tasty curries and bite-sized portions that they can easily eat standing and socialising without getting their hands dirty.

Avoid sugary and pastry desserts if you can help it and explore other options such as sorbets, frozen yoghurts and dark chocolate as alternatives. With a fruit salad as another option, this should provide guests with enough of a variety for a healthy pudding.





PRIORITY The rules of planning are changing, not because we need to do this differently but because we need to account for the increasing number of elements involved, resulting in more steps and processes to check off on our to-do lists. Meetings delves deeper.


s any planner who has been around for two decades or more can tell you, planning a conference in 2020 is not what it was in 1990s, or even before this. The biggest game changers have, of course, been technology and social media, which have not just shifted the way we organise but the way in which delegates engage with events. From Kanban planners to entire apps dedicated to a single event, organisers can structure, book and mobilise each step of their event from any device connected to the internet, all in the palm of their hand.

REGISTRATION Forget barely legible scanned or faxed forms; everything is now captured digitally, making it easier than ever to account for each of

38 • MEETINGS l MAR/APR 2020

our delegates and plan for more accurate numbers. A seamless registration process that is digitally automated also ensures that the first experience that your attendees have is one that is easy and fuss-free. This sets a positive tone for the rest of your event, but test your system thoroughly so that you can understand the end-user journey and iron out any bugs before launching it.


for the duration of their event, so that they can go to sessions that are of interest to them while organising time for meetings around these. These are set up in such a way that delegates can accept or decline requests and they can also then notify the delegate of upcoming meetings.


Events as a form of marketing Twenty and communication to our years ago, the audiences are becoming term ‘social media’ increasingly popular was barely a blip on our because of how they are able to deliver radars; however, if utilised an omnichannel successfully, this can do experience. While wonders for your event, physical attendees forming a key touchpoint are important for between you and your the success of an event, events can also be delegates

With social media, events can now be more than a once-off, neverto-be-repeated experience. Providing communication platforms for everybody, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are becoming part of every event’s marketing campaign because the exposure generated has taken the engagement of our target audiences with our events to the next level. For many, this is uncharted territory. Twenty years ago, the term ‘social media’ was barely a blip on our radars; however, if utilised successfully, this can do wonders for your event, forming a key touchpoint between you and your delegates.

livestreamed and outtakes packaged in small, bite-sized videos that can then be broadcast. Once available online, video can then be linked to any social media platform, meaning your event can be distributed across the globe in an instant.

MEETING ORGANISERS Delegates can now have a far more focused and strategic approach to their networking, with event apps that allow for speednetworking or organised meetings with the most relevant players attending an event. Apps can be designed with functionality that allows for attendees to arrange their diaries









A unique hashtag just for your event can create a social media buzz, increase engagement and even boost delegate attendance.

The earlier you start promoting your event and making use of its hashtag, the higher your chances are of success. To ensure better reach and traction, experts recommend you start promoting your event at least six to eight weeks in advance.

With over 2.5 billion active users, Facebook is the world’s largest social media network. Facebook can help spread the word about your event so that each time someone RSVPs, Facebook promotes this further by showing it on their friends’ feeds.




Your guest speakers will have a network of their own, some undoubtedly being influencers within their industry. Request that they tweet or share their event experience on their own platforms and encourage this by mentioning them in a post that can easily be shared or retweeted by them.

Line up all your assets to get more mileage out of your event promotion. Pay attention to photos and videos especially because this sort of media is most popular with audiences.







LAUNCH A DEDICATED LANDING PAGE An event landing page needs to act as a onestop shop for your visitors to learn more about your event and, ultimately, all your social media promotion needs to drive traffic back to your landing page.

Think of fun ways to engage with your audience and spread the word about your event by running social media contests with your event hashtag by asking a question that’s related to your event.

# 10 GO LIVE

Live video has proven to be more engaging and it is estimated that this can convert 30% of your viewers into event attendees for the following year.

Source: Bizzabo |


Some social media platforms will perform better than others, so choose the right ones to promote your event. B2B conferences would likely see better results on Twitter and LinkedIn, whereas concerts and festivals will do better on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.


A live social media feed to display social media posts can encourage further engagement at your event while at the same time promoting your event hashtag to make it trend.


YOUR CHECKLIST TO EXHIBITING SUSTAINABLY The Event Greening Forum’s training sessions held in late January – in conjunction with the Meetings Africa exhibitor briefings and sponsored by the South Africa National Convention Bureau – provided an education on how to be a ‘green’ exhibitor. Pippa Naudé explores this further.



orwesi Ramonyai, managing director of Borena Energy, shares insights and tips into how to win a Green Stand Award at Meetings Africa. While her advice was specific to these awards, the guidelines apply to all exhibitors who are aiming to minimise their carbon footprint and have a positive legacy.




CHOOSE A GREEN DESIGN Quite simply, request a ‘green’ stand. The simplest way to do this is to purchase a stand you reuse each time you exhibit. Look for options that are:  robust  modular (can be reconfigured for different spaces)  easy to assemble and transport. Remember – a reusable stand that is not reused is not very green, so plan your purchase carefully.

CHOOSE SUSTAINABLE MATERIALS Opt for sustainable materials, which means things that are:  locally produced  from a renewable resource (e.g. wood)  free of harmful chemicals (e.g. eco-friendly paints)  easily repurposed (e.g. raw wood), recycled (e.g. Xanita board) or upcycled (e.g. fabric graphics can be made into pencil cases) when the stand is no longer needed.



GREEN YOUR OPERATIONS Minimise how much energy your stand needs by:  using energy-efficient lighting and appliances (e.g. LED light bulbs)  skipping appliances that use a lot of energy, like coffee machines. Reduce the amount of waste your stand will produce by avoiding:  handing out gifts to your visitors  anything with single-use plastic – including bottled water  printing brochures – rather share your information electronically. If you really must print, choose smaller pamphlets with recyclable paper and vegetablebased inks.

Build a positive social impact outcome into your exhibition process. For example, you can:  only buy local  identify a local charity that you can partner with and help, perhaps with donations or through your carbon offset project.


Have a plan in place for efficient logistics and:  c hoose a compact, lightweight stand that is easy to transport  a rrange for your team to liftshare or use public transport  w ith travel causing most of your greenhouse gas emissions, consider working out your carbon footprint as an exhibitor and offsetting it.


TELL EVERYONE ABOUT HOW GREEN YOU ARE Communicate all your green actions by:  e nsuring your staff know about it, and are therefore able to understand and support these actions, and can tell other people about them  d isplay information on your expo stand that outlines why sustainability is important to your brand, and what you are therefore doing about it.

BONUS TIP: Think outside the box Look for creative solutions to sustainability problems. At Meetings Africa, for example, purchasing Renewable Energy Certificates and planting trees are encouraged to address challenges such as our dirty energy supply and the necessary travel involved in attending the event.

If you are looking for green products and services for your exhibition stand, visit the Event Greening Forum’s Green Database at It’s a free directory with everything you need – from stand builders to sustainability consultants.


ARE VIRTUAL EVENTS TRULY SUSTAINABLE? Gary van der Watt, director of Resource Design, was asked if he would recommend virtual reality events to avoid the massive environmental cost of flights and travel. In short, the answer for business-to-business events is no. This is why.


irtual reality (VR) applications have been used globally with mixed results. In the gaming environment, it works, but that’s because no interpersonal interaction is needed. As a conferencing tool, it has not been that successful. This is because conferencing is only partially based on the speakers and content. The overwhelming majority of conference attendees list their reason for attending as the opportunity to network with like-minded people from their industry at a focused event. The exhibition aspect is also missed with a VR offering. VR expos have never taken off as it’s critical that exhibitions include human interaction. This is also apparent in retail. People shop online, and this form of retail is growing exponentially, but they will often first go to a store to look at the product, try it on and so on. Hence the success of the ‘flagship’ store concept that holds only the newest, but very little, stock for people to experience first-hand.

HYBRID EVENTS Professional Conference Organisers have tried hybrid events to overcome these challenges,

while keeping their environmental impact down (and often the financial costs, too). Typically, the approach is to set up several venues and livestream the speakers, content and other parts of the programme. Design Indaba did this and implemented satellite venues around South Africa and Africa. This works better than people meeting online from their home or office space, as you retain the face-to-face benefit of events. But this approach still means that there is an environmental cost for the venues, transport of people to those venues, and so on – although admittedly it cuts out the longdistance travel. However, I would argue that this isn’t necessarily more sustainable than hosting large B2B events. There is a misperception about flights and travel. Any given flight won’t stop because 15 delegates did not get on it. With 10 people or 200 on a plane – there is the same CO2 footprint. What is important is how these CO2 ‘costs’ are used. If 2 000 delegates each spend time, money and flights to see another 20 delegates or exhibitors at their place of work, the overall financial cost and CO2 expense would be far

greater than if everyone attends a single conference. By bringing a group of 2 000 people together at a focused space and time, the event can be extremely successful in terms of educating, networking and learning. A delegate will spend a fraction of their sales and marketing budget compared to visiting 20 clients, suppliers or peers individually.

ENSURING SUSTAINABILITY I believe that the real secret of sustainability is making an event successful – while also making efforts to make it as sustainable as possible. This includes event greening planning, implementation, assessment and perhaps even audits. An event could be paperless. An exhibition can use locally manufactured and sustainable materials. All goods could be reusable, resulting in a zerowaste conference. The end result is that a delegate may actually use fewer resources at a conference than at home, or even learn to be more ecoaware. This – combined with the business efficiency of a collective event rather than numerous individual ones – is what, in my opinion, makes an event truly sustainable.

Gary van der Watt, director, Resource Design




A WINNING HAND Russian roulette and slot machines may not be for everyone but at Emerald Resort & Casino, there is something for everyone.


uilt on a sprawling private estate and situated less an hour away from Johannesburg, Emerald Resort & Casino is an unparalleled offering that blends both business and leisure experiences. Located on the verdant banks of the Vaal River, Emerald Resort & Casino provides an ideal escape, with gaming, resort and entertainment experiences that make the Caesars Entertainment-owned property a sought-after destination.

EVENTING AND ACCOMMODATION Emerald Resort & Casino is the largest venue in the Vaal area, providing both the facilities and expertise to host conferences of up to 3 000 attendees. The venue is also well suited for meetings and seminars, product launches and more intimate private functions such as gala dinners. Emerald Resort & Casino banqueting experts are also conveniently on hand to help plan a bespoke menu specifically for your event’s needs. The riverside estate offers a variety of accommodation options that include bush lodges, riverside chalets at the resort and suites at its hotel, meaning your guests won’t have far to travel to get to your event. Through Emerald Resort & Casino’s range of activities and on-site facilities, you can develop a team-building programme that is perfectly suited to your delegates. And the resort’s lively entertainment will ensure your next conference or event is a most exceptional and memorable experience.

ACTIVITIES From rejuvenating spa treatments to exciting outdoor adventures, there are a host of

experiences and exciting activities to delight your delegates. Choose from one of six heated pools at the climate-controlled Aquadome or enjoy the natural surrounds and wildlife on a game drive. If you’re in need of some R&R, Emerald Resort & Casino offers a truly restorative experience at the tranquil Emerald Spa. Unwind with a treatment from one of the spa’s highly trained therapists – ranging from facials and manicures to hot stone and aromatherapy massages, all in a natural setting.

WINING AND DINING Emerald Resort & Casino has no shortage of culinary experiences and, with a range of restaurants that vary in style and dining options, all appetites will be satisfied. If you are catering for discerning palates, the High Stakes restaurant just off the casino floor provides elegant atmosphere and service with a smile that will turn your meal into an extra-special occasion. For bush views and meals that start with hearty breakfast buffets and end with room service, guests at the Emerald Hotel restaurant can enjoy a full assortment of dishes. And if it’s music and a good vibe in a relaxing setting that your guests are after, they can head down to Capello where they can enjoy succulent food, cocktails and premium brands.

Whatever tickles your fancy and whether you're with family, friends or colleagues, we've got an adventure you'll love. Take your pick and prepare to have a truly great time at Emerald Resort & Casino.






Planning an incentive trip to reward your top performers, an international conference for a few thousand delegates, an exclusive high-level meeting for a government delegation or a product launch event? Look no further than the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius.


he island paradise of Mauritius is fast becoming one of Africa’s tourism and meetings jewels with its scenic beauty, hidden treasures to explore and an exotic melting pot of cuisines and cultures. It is a short flight from South Africa’s three major cities, and visa-free for South African passport holders. Here you will find the perfect venue, staffed by a professional and dedicated support team, to deliver a unique, worldclass event, with a touch of island-style elegance and flair.

44 • MEETINGS l MAR/APR 2020

MICE MARKET Mauritius offers the MICE buyer the infrastructure to cater for a variety of groups and sizes, all year round. As a MICEfriendly destination, the island has the key ingredients to host successful meetings, incentive groups, conferences and events. The quality and variety of accommodation, the attention to detail in service delivery, state-of-the-art conferencing venues, professional and friendly staff, and the additional activities on offer all guarantee a unique experience.

CONFERENCE FACILITIES Boasting the largest and most modern convention centre in the Indian Ocean Islands region, Mauritius’ Swami Vivekananda Conference Centre provides all the facilities needed for large, international conferences, accommodating up to 5 000 people. Other venues include the Freeport Exhibition in Mer Rouge (up to 1 000 delegates), and the Trianon Convention Centre (up to 3 000 delegates). Many Mauritian hotels also offer conferencing facilities and can cater for



Enjoy everything that Mauritius has to offer as your ideal MICE destination, combining quality, elegance and style, in a paradise island setting!

The Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority has an attractive incentive scheme in place for the MICE segment. This applies to bookings for large groups of 100 people or more to the island – and includes a 15% VAT rebate, on-the-ground assistance and cash incentives – if three nights or more at a hotel are booked for the group. More details are available through the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority office.

#RatherMeetinMauritius – the idyllic Indian Ocean destination for all your MICE needs

up to 800 people at a time, with spectacular marquees and set-ups on the hotel properties. ACTIVITIES The island also 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.

For more information: Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority – SA representatives: Janet de Kretser / Philippa Piguet – Meropa Communications Tel: +27 (0)11 506 7300 Email:




Zaina Lodge Ghana

TAKE A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE With a vast amount of wilderness that remains intact and protected from development, Africa offers some of the best natural experiences in the world, which, together with your meeting or conference, could make for your best business event yet.


frica is becoming a destination of choice and it shows in the numbers, with international arrivals to the continent among the highest in the world. If you’re looking to include an experience with your next conference, a trip to the furthest reaches of Africa may just be the touch you need to set the tone for your delegates. Meetings treks across the continent to unearth its gorgeous treasures.

Avani Pemba Beach Hotel

46 • MEETINGS l MAR/APR 2020

SOUTHERN AFRICA Not to be missed is The Royal Livingstone in Zambia. Just 25 minutes from Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport, the resort is easily accessible, with Johannesburg just a short flight away. Enjoy a seamless business meeting in one of The Royal Livingstone’s state-of-the-art spaces, with its largest accommodating 450 people. The venue’s dedicated team will help you perfect every detail of your event. And for a not-to-be-missed experience, dine on a classic steam train while travelling through Africa’s magnificent wilderness. For an exclusive luxury bush experience in South Africa’s Kruger National Park, Tintswalo Safari Lodge has every amenity you can think of. The untouched surrounds are worlds away from a corporate boardroom and – with a variety of finedining options, world-class facilities and the pristine wild just a few steps away – it is easy to lose yourself at this incredible venue. Ideal for meetings, corporate functions and weddings, Tintswalo Safari Lodge is as versatile as it is beautiful. Avani Pemba Beach Hotel in Mozambique offers an idyllic white sandy beach setting in which

you and your colleagues can enjoy a meeting or function of up to 60 pax. The three contemporarystyled rooms have flexible spacing options and the venue’s conference offering is supported with multimedia equipment, secretarial services and an in-house team to take care of your every eventing need.

EAST AFRICA Immerse yourself in unspoiled beauty at Lake Manyara Serena Safari Lodge in Tanzania. With five restaurants to choose from and a space that seats 70, your delegates can experience the best of Africa’s natural beauty while discussing pressing industry issues, and they certainly won’t go hungry!

Royal Livingstone

The lodge offers a range of exciting experiences to keep its guests busy, including visits to the local village on a tuk-tuk, nature walks, hikes as well as biking, jogging, painting and cooking lessons. Further down the East African coast is the Fairmont Mara Safari Club in Kenya. Providing 119 m2 of space at its conference tent, its conferencing package includes audiovisual equipment as well as Wi-Fi connectivity for an incomparable meeting experience in the famed Maasai Mara. The venue also offers 51 luxury tents with en-suite facilities and private decks overlooking the Mara River, where hippos are often seen. Guests can also enjoy game drives as well as access to an outdoor swimming pool, lounge, and scenic sundowners and bush dining experiences. Travelling inland, the Akagera Game Lodge in Rwanda calls itself “a contemporary Big 5 experience”. Two hours away from the main city of Kigali and the only reserve in Rwanda where all the big five can be found, it is an ideal escape from the concrete jungle. With 60 rooms, a conference centre, restaurant and bar, the venue forms the perfect home base while guests can find out about and take part in its conservation efforts or simply relax alongside the lodge’s pool.

Hotel du Golf

NORTH AFRICA Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt is famed as a resort town. Situated between the Sinai Peninsula and the Red Sea, its sandy beaches, clear waters and coral reefs make for an exceptional snorkelling experience. The Sheraton Sharm Hotel, Resort, Villas & Spa ticks all the boxes when it comes to conferencing and through the hotel group’s event management tools, planning an event has never been so easy. Morocco, meanwhile, is home to numerous venues offering a variety of experiences, including the

Sheraton Sharm Hotel


Lake Manyara Serena Safari Lodge

Tintswalo Safari Lodge

WEST AFRICA Towards the west of Africa is the Zaina Lodge in northern Ghana. Tailor your business event at its conference centre or opt to make use of the meetings tent that seats up to 40 people – perfect for leadership retreats and intimate board meetings. The venue also caters for team-building events and high-level private functions. In addition, it also offers on-site activities that extend to its community and exciting dining options, including its ‘Moments of Magic’ bush banqueting. The Cape Verde archipelago is an increasingly popular destination for travellers, and international hoteliers such as Hilton understand the benefits of having a venue in such an exciting location. The Hilton Cabo Verde Sal Resort provides personalised service across its six stylish spaces, which are fit for everything from extravagant galas to meticulously run meetings and private functions.

Fairmont Mara Safari Club Hôtel du Golf in Marrakesh. The venue is situated in the Palmeraie complex and can accommodate any event of any scale. The Palmeraie Conference Centre has 5 000 m2 of flexible space that caters for large-scale congresses, conferences, seminars and shows. With 38 meeting rooms, the five-star hotel, together with the Palmeraie Palace, offers a host of activities among its unique natural setting.

Hilton Cabo Verde Akagera Game Lodge




5 MINUTES WITH… Managing director at Hospitality Zone

You’ve been part of the MICE industry for over 25 years. How has the industry evolved and how do you see it growing over the next few years? When I first started in the MICE industry many clients didn’t know what a PCO, MICE or an event manager was. Fast-forward to 2020, and we now work in a multifaceted, multibillion-rand industry that employs over 2.26 million people in our country. Over the years, we have seen huge technological advances, going from nothing more than simple decor and an overhead projector to using projection mapping, facial recognition and artificial intelligence. Technology continues to play a pivotal role when organising even a small conference or event. I believe that we will see even greater growth and disruption in the next 5 to 10 years, with technology again playing a major role in streamlining events and making them ‘wow’.

Clients have also become far more focused on meetings, events, conferences and incentives having to meet set objectives, produce tangible outcomes and have a return on investment. In my opinion, the MICE industry is still one of the most exciting, fun and rewarding industries.

What daily challenges do you often experience and how do you achieve a worklife balance? For me, the most challenging aspect of my work life is wearing so many different hats. Besides wearing the single mom, daughter and friend hats, I also have to switch between being a business owner, relationship builder, sales executive, financial manager and administrator. To balance this, out I make sure I spend quality time with my family be it by preparing a meal, playing a game of cards, reading or watching a movie. Just knowing that we are together makes me happy.

What are some of your career highlights? There have been so many highlights

but I can honestly say that being honoured with a Top 40 Women in MICE award in 2016 was one of the greatest. In addition, I had the opportunity of serving the industry on both the SAACI and SATSA boards and found this incredibly rewarding. I was also blessed to meet former President Nelson Mandela when I was part of the team organising his farewell event from his staff. His kindness and humility will always stay with me, and it is an experience I will never forget.

What most inspires you?

always said, “The greatest tragedy in life is not death, but a life without a purpose.” He has encouraged me to live a fulfilled life.

What do you most value? For me, my relationships with my family and close friends are far more cherished than material possessions – the two most important values in my life are love and ethics. My mother has always taught me that “love conquers a multitude of sins”.

What is one of your favourite memories, and why?

I aspire to be the best ‘me’ In December 2017, my son, possible and work Jordan, and I took a ’Kill towards this by 10-day road trip them with constantly to Namibia. We kindness’ was the pursuing both agree best piece of advice I ever personal and this was our received from one of my emotional best holiday first GMs, Thomas Overbeck, growth ever. Namibia when I worked at the Indaba through is an amazing Hotel many years ago. This training and country with so advice has served coaching. many interesting me well. Growing up, I places to visit, and always looked to we especially enjoyed Dr Myles Munroe as a role model. spending quality time together He often taught about a purposewhile experiencing the stark beauty driven life for true success and of the country.

Celebrating female excellence across the industry

Coming this August‌ The Top Women in MICE Awards achieved new heights in 2019. 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

Nomination Form



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.) Category (select one of the 15 categories listed at

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.


Please include a high-resolution photograph of the nominee. All nominations must reach by 30 June 2020. Only nominations submitted on the official nomination form will be considered.





Hard hats and corporate wear were replaced with black tie glamour, as the South African exhibitions industry turned up for the fifth ROAR Awards ceremony, held on Friday 31 January 2020 at Gallagher Convention Centre, Midrand.


osted jointly by the Association of African Exhibition Organisers (AAXO) and the Exhibition and Event Association of Southern Africa (EXSA), the ROAR Awards (which stands for Respect, Opportunities, Achievement and Recognition Awards) is the biggest annual industry event that recognises and celebrates examples of exhibition excellence. This year, the competition was fierce, and the anticipation to see who would walk away with an award on the night was palpable. CONGRATULATIONS TO THE FOLLOWING 2019 ROAR AWARDS WINNERS: AAXO BEST EXHIBITION AWARDS 2019 Best Exhibition of the Year: World Travel Market Africa by Reed Exhibitions Best Trade Exhibition (under 6 000 m²): Africa Ports and Rail Evolution by dmg events Best Trade Exhibition (6 001–12 000 m²): World Travel Market by Reed Exhibitions Best Trade Exhibition (over 12 000 m²): Africa Utility Week and Powergen Africa by Clarion Events Best Consumer Exhibition (6 001–12 000 m²): MamaMagic Baby Expo Johannesburg Winter by Exposure Marketing Best Consumer Exhibition (over 12 000 m²): Comic Con Africa by Reed Exhibitions

50 • MEETINGS l MAR/APR 2020

FIBO Global Fitness Africa team

Best Trade & Consumer Exhibition (under 6 000 m²): Design Joburg by Media 10 Best Trade & Consumer Exhibition (6 001–12 000 m²): FIBO Global Fitness Africa by Reed Exhibitions Best Trade & Consumer Exhibition (over 12 000 m²): Decorex Joburg by Reed Exhibitions Africa Bound Exhibitions: Electra Mining Botswana by Specialised Exhibitions Best Social Media Campaign: Comic Con Africa by Reed Exhibitions Best Industry Member Venue: TicketPro Dome

EXSA-LLENCE AWARDS: EXSA Hall of Fame inductees: Brad Alder, Jacqui Nel and Patrick Cronning EXSA Chairperson’s Award: Justin Hawes and Chad Botha Best Overall Design Stand of the 2019 Year: Caesarstone stand at Decorex 2019 by Smartbuild Best External Stand (any size): Interoll stand at Propak 2019 by ConCept G Best Custom-Built Stands (12 m² & under): Investec stand at Batseta 2019 by The Exhibitionist; Siemens Healthineers stand at SASUOG 2019 by ConCept G; and Siemens


Africa Utility Week and Powergen Africa team

Africa Rail and Rail Evolution team

Healthineers stand at SMLTSA 2019 by ConCept G Best Custom-Built Stands (13–24 m²): Janssen stand at Biological 2019 by Brilliant Branding; and Kirion stand at ICE 2019 by Brilliant Branding Best Custom-Built Stand (25–50 m²): IFM stand at Africa Automation 2019 by Brilliant Branding Best Custom-Built Stands (51–100 m²): Aberdare Cables stand at AUW 2019 by SSQ; and Caesarstone stand at Decorex 2019 by Smartbuild Best Custom-Built Stands (101–200 m²): PRASA stand at Africa Rail 2019 by Compex; and SA Tourism stand at Tourism Indaba 2019 by Blu Cube Best Custom-Built Stands (201 m² and over): SA Tourism stand at ITB Berlin 2019 by Blu Cube Best Pavilion Stand (any size): IDC Pavilion at RSA Investment 2019 by GL events Best Outdoor Stand (any size): VW stand at NAMPO 2019 by GL events

Note: Where a category did not receive any submissions that reached the required standard, no award was presented in that category. This was unfortunately the case with System-Built Stands (any size).

The ROAR Awards ceremony takes place around the beginning of each year and recognises the achievements of the exhibition industry’s best shows, stands and service providers. This year’s awards took on a 007 angle and its theme, ‘Licence to Win’, saw all agents dressed to the nines. Upon arrival at Gallagher’s Estate Ballroom, guests were served kiwi and strawberry daiquiris, with non-

Comic Con Africa team

alcoholic options available, while organisers of the event kept guests guessing before opening the doors to the beautifully done-up venue. Fitting posters of James Bond himself and striking black, red and gold accents

“Naturally, we’re thrilled to be recognised in this way and we’d like to thank AAXO as well as congratulate our fellow industry winners. We put maximum effort into realising our vision for Decorex Africa and ensuring that our exhibitors, trade visitors and members of the public enjoy a superlative experience with us, whether they’re looking for a commercial opportunity, pure inspiration or practical solutions. We look forward to welcoming everyone back again for our 2020 shows.”

complemented the 007 theme. Dining on the finest meal of brie cheese and ostrich carpaccio starters, followed by a fillet steak and chicken breast duo for mains, with an assortment of delightful desserts to top it all off, guests’ appetites were well satisfied at the awards. Donovan Goliath from the famed South African Goliath family of comics entertained guests throughout the event’s proceedings and kept the pace and spirit of celebration going with his announcements of each category winner and witty one-liners, keeping the audience thoroughly entertained. Meetings magazine would like to congratulate each of the winners of the ROAR Awards. We wish you everything of the best going forward and look forward to seeing you at next year’s event!

Sian Cullingworth, portfolio director: Lifestyle, Design and Retail Exhibitions at Reed Exhibitions



P O S T- E V E N T

A stellar success HOMEMAKERS Expo reports on a year of success for its Johannesburg show.


iving and working in a world that is better connected than ever before, the InHabit themed Johannesburg HOMEMAKERS Expo proved the place to be during the leap-day weekend. The Expo connected visitors with the products and services that help them own the spaces they occupy while mingling with experts and connoisseurs to get the best out of their Expo experience. This year’s Expo was about improving the way people live in their homes and how they connect with everything around them and extended to the topic of the year’s theme of environmental sustainability, supporting local businesses and being better informed about product origins. Hestelle Robinson, COO at HOMEMAKERS, says that the team took a fresh approach to the Expo this year. “We did things differently this year and it paid off. Our 2020 Expo was one of the most successful to date.”

THE HIGHLIGHTS This year’s Johannesburg Expo brought many highlights, making choosing favourites difficult. The InHabit Workshop and The Garden Table were packed every day with inquisitive visitors looking to learn something new. While the Designer Spaces Challenge brought inspiration to visitors looking to add a truly African flair to their home. Here are some of the highlights: InHabit Workshop was another success for the 2020 HOMEMAKERS Expo. Artisans and experts such as Jana Nel, Joe Strydom

MEETINGS lExpo MAR/APR 2020 52 •Homemakers

and the team from Vermont Sales and World of Decorative Concrete gave visitors demos on the best DIY projects for homeowners. Demonstrations included talks on concrete products, techniques for clay and ceramics, woodworking, revamping old furniture and even adult doodling. The Garden Table featured live demos by garden gurus such as Tasha Tollman, Terry Moller, Sandy Roberts, Paul Vlok, JJ van Rensburg, Brenda Niehaus, Jan Lubbinge and Matthew Keulemans, as well as food fundis Izelle Hoffman and Johan Du Preez. The Garden Table theatre was packed every day with visitors eager to learn more! Made possible by DIY Garden Designer, Malanseuns, Bark Unlimited Organics, Fern Lily Design & Landscaping and Lighthouse, the feature entertained and educated visitors on a variety of topics. The Designer Spaces Challenge was a great way for visitors to see how to create the ultimate living space. The theme was inspired by Africa and the designers delivered truly beautiful designs. Visitors had the chance to vote for their favourite designer with the bonus of winning a cash prize. An Expo favourite by far! This year, the winner of the Designer Spaces Challenge was Lindiwe Ludonga from Blooming Oaks Inc. A favourite place for gamers, the best PlayStation console, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) games were found in The Play(AR) Zone. What started as an area dedicated to the magic of AR turned into an


endlessly fun zone for kids and adults alike. Visitors could also decorate and bring their own interactive AR animal to life in real time, which they could take through a fun virtual gaming course right inside The Dome, take a ride on the VR bike or pods, or play their favourite PlayStation games.

Missed the Johannesburg Expo? Find out more about the 2020 Cape Town HOMEMAKERS Expo and Pretoria HOMEMAKERS Expo later this year.

Media contact: Samantha van der Merwe



The CPA and you

The Consumer Protection Act (CPA; No. 68 of 2008) extends to event indemnity and does not just apply to the individual but to everyone in the events industry. Pippa Naudé speaks to Advocate Louis Nel to unpack this further.


ou are likely familiar with the many types of indemnities in the events industry, some examples being: contractual clauses that exhibitors must sign; the terms and conditions that delegates must accept when registering to attend a conference; or the signage at a venue stipulating that, by entering the building, event attendees are accepting responsibility for certain risks. Indemnities are a way for event organisers and suppliers to limit their liability should something go wrong. Typically, they address the issues of ‘any loss, damage or injuries suffered’ while attending their events and using their services. In South Africa, organisers and their suppliers have misused indemnities in the past, and structured them in such a way as to exempt themselves from any liability – even in instances of gross negligence. Carefully worded contracts that did this could be upheld in court; however, this is no longer the case. The CPA has curtailed this legal freedom by introducing restrictions to what an indemnity can and cannot do. “The CPA refers to the liability of the supply chain, and has a very broad and encompassing definition of what the supply chain is,” explains Advocate Louis Nel. But what does this actually mean? Meetings spoke to the man known as Louis the Lawyer to find out what businesses in the events industry

should be doing to ensure they are properly protected against the risks inherent to their work.

THE WHOLE SUPPLY CHAIN CAN BE LIABLE “The first thing I need to stress is that the CPA refers to the liability of the supply chain, and has a very broad and encompassing definition of what the supply chain is,” says Louis. This is: “The collectivity of all suppliers who directly or indirectly contribute in turn to the ultimate supply of those goods or services to a consumer, whether as a producer, importer, distributor or retailer of goods, or as a service provider.” This means that venues, stand builders, decor companies, caterers, security staff and event sponsors could, for example, be held liable for damages suffered at an event. All of these suppliers need to make sure they have sufficiently fulfilled their responsibilities as outlined by the CPA – and it is not only the event organiser’s responsibility to do this.

requires the supplier to bring all elements of risk to the attention of the consumer at the earliest possible opportunity so that the consumer can make an educated decision (‘receive and comprehend’) as to whether or not to continue with the purchase and/or activity. “Accordingly the consumer must be advised at the earliest opportunity of any possible risks (section 49) – such as when the consumer (a) enters into the agreement (e.g. registers for an event); (b) starts engaging in the activity (e.g. attends the event); (c) enters the facility (e.g. walks into the venue); (d) is required to make payment.” This is especially urgent when these risks are dangerous. Louis adds that all communication during this process “must be in plain language, conspicuous and be ‘likely to attract the attention of an ordinarily alert consumer, having regard to the circumstances’.”

PREVENTION AND PREPARATION CRITICAL ALWAYS BE TRANSPARENT ABOUT ANY RISKS Second, it is important that any risks in attending an event be made evident to potential event attendees. “You cannot simply address these risks in an indemnity or waiver clauses in your terms and conditions,” says Louis. “The CPA

Note that merely warning attendees of any risks is not adequate. You will need to do your best to avoid them and be prepared to handle them should they happen. “Therefore, you should also ensure you have adequate risk management practices, trained staff and insurance,” Louis advises.




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VOD Media are the largest hospitality service and guest experience provider in the 150+ room market in Africa. With a passion for phenomenal digital experiences, their quality and affordable solutions will ensure you enhance your guests’ experience through powerful platforms.


side from exceptional service with all the trimmings, it’s the personal touch that can take a guest’s hotel stay to the next level by providing an out-ofthis-world experience. VOD Media is quickly forming part of this success story and, through an array of digital entertainment options, the company

Everything that hoteliers and guests want from the network – delivered through a single company is providing an added element for hotels to include alongside their existing offerings. Partnered with a vast number of global brands and hospitality experts, VOD Media 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.

54 • MEETINGS l MAR/APR 2020

FUSION PLATFORM VOD Media are a premium Hoist partner,

offering a versatile and intelligent network services platform called Fusion. The Fusion Platform covers the most critical guest and staff applications as well as hoteliers’ digital strategy needs, giving them full control over their network and services. It provides shared interfaces with hotel systems, with external digital systems and potentially with any third-party IP application suitable for hospitality. The Fusion Platform is the only converged platform that covers the essential network and application needs for guests, visitors and hotel staff. It combines the most advanced technologies, which it continuously develops in tune with rapidly evolving user needs. The Fusion Platform can serve one to four modules: Internet, Connected TV, Interfaces and Controls. The whole platform is owned, developed and managed by Hoist Group for hoteliers. It builds on VOD Media’s long and close working relationships with many of the world’s leading hotel brands and

HIGHLIGHTS SERVING… • 100+ hotels • 25 000+ guest rooms • Leading hotel chains and independent hotels FUSION TECHNOLOGY SUPPORTS… • 40 million unique sessions per year • 150 000 concurrent users across partner hotels, with peaks above 200 000 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.


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.

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

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.

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.

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 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.

operators, as well as supply-side industry partners. The Fusion Platform is a shared infrastructure and product platform that enables cost sharing among multiple applications. Moreover, managing an array of services through one platform gives both VOD Media and the hotelier centralised control over the network, with all associated IP guest and staff applications. This enables unequalled stability and scalability, higher service quality and consistent service delivery. Developed on technology standards and meeting relevant certification requirements, Hoist Group is bringing together awardwinning technologies and market-leading

solutions to satisfy the needs of both hotel guests and hoteliers, while empowering hotel chains to leverage technology more effectively for their brand and improve guest loyalty. Everything builds on VOD Media’s expertise as a provider of premier networks and profound hospitality experiences.

For more information, visit the VOD Group website:

Some of VOD Media’s happy clients include:




Driving conservation A

ccording to estimates by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), international tourist arrivals increased by 6% globally in 2018 to 1.4 billion – achieving a milestone two years ahead of UNWTO’s initial projections. Statistics from 2019 are expected to show less dramatic results but will still show growth, along with the demand for triplebottom-line benefits – for people, profits and the planet. In the wake of ethical consumerism, travellers are far more conscious than in previous years of their spending power and their contribution to the greater good, although some question how effective their choices are and whether they’re doing all that they can. Joe Cloete, CEO of the Shamwari Private Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape, believes that we can make difference to whatever is

56 • MEETINGS l MAR/APR 2020

spent when we travel, but urges us to make an informed choice. “Conservation in South Africa is a perfect example of the power of choice,” says Joe.


While the Born Free Foundation jointly funds two sanctuaries at Shamwari and provides care to several big cats who have been rescued from poor conditions in circuses, zoos or from private owners around the world, Shamwari has no other source of revenue besides what guests spend during their stay. “Tourism is what funds conservation at places like Shamwari. Every rand spent contributes to a business model that absorbs the cost of wildlife conservation and rehabilitation. Guests are participating in an immensely successful conservation project,

Private game reserves provide more than just an immersive experience. Meetings reveals how responsible tourism is playing an important role in environmental conservation. which arrested the impact of human activity and returned 25 000 hectares to the rich biodiversity for which the region was once renowned,” Joe highlights. Over the past 25 years, the project has restored much of the natural ecosystem by attracting and re-introducing an abundance of indigenous wildlife at Shamwari, from the big five to the red-billed oxpecker and flightless dung beetle. An essential component of Shamwari’s operation is the expansion, management,


and cared for before being released back into the wild. Overseen by a team under wildlife veterinarian Dr Johan Joubert and ecologist John O’Brien, the operation has become exemplary for successful wildlife rehabilitation. The team applies and shares its experience, knowledge and expertise with professionals across Southern Africa and beyond.

development and rehabilitation of its land following years of farming. This effort is costly, says Joe, but has gone a long way in the revival of wildlife that was once endemic to the area. “Wildlife conservation is always costintensive, and especially so when antipoaching security is deployed and wildlife rehabilitation is undertaken, as they are at Shamwari,” he says. As part of a US$25 million (R390 million) upgrade to all aspects of the reserve’s operations, Shamwari, which means ‘my friend’ in Shona, has embarked on major refurbishments with new standards in luxury, service and hospitality. These include new menus and wine lists, as well as a new spa brand and coffee experience. Its accommodation and catering, together with malaria-free game viewing, offer an unsurpassed experience.


In addition, Shamwari opened a R5 million wildlife rehabilitation centre in 2019, where injured, ill or abandoned animals are treated

“The reserve’s wildlife rehabilitation operation has been essential to this success and has gained local and international recognition for its pioneering work. Our continent’s once-bountiful wildlife is under pressure as never before, so the rehabilitation of sick, abandoned or injured wildlife is an important component of wildlife preservation,” concludes Joe.


incident. The teams were able to save

Game Reserve and Spa are heavily focused on

one of the three, while one had already

protecting its rhino population. Visitors are in

succumbed to its injuries when discovered

for a treat with a possible sighting of a new

and the other later died. This left the reserve

white rhino calf. The arrival excited rangers

with no male rhino bulls to continue its

as they spotted the calf with its mother on

breeding programme.

14 February 2020. Aquila has played a major role in

In May 2014, Aquila acquired a new bull to continue its breeding programme at the

conservation and in February 2005, it saw

reserve and by the beginning of 2016, Aquila

the first rhino born in the Western Cape in

was proud to announce the births of four

250 years. Fifteen years later, the reserve’s

rhino calves at the reserve.

conservation team was delighted to announce

The Valentine’s Day arrival is important

the birth of another baby rhino at Aquila’s

for the conservation teams at Aquila as they

10 000 hectare reserve. Three of Aquila’s

continue to conserve, protect and preserve

rhinos were attacked during a 2011 poaching

these species for future generations.




A WiM win The Top Women in MICE Awards for 2020 was officially launched on 26 February 2020 at the Sandton Convention Centre. Meetings sees what’s in store for this year’s instalment.


ow in its seventh year, in the lead-up to its next chapter, the Top Women in MICE (WiM) Awards 2020 promises to be the best yet. The event has, over its years, evolved to ensure that it takes all strides necessary to uphold the excellence of women within the meetings, incentives, conferencing and exhibitions industry. This year is no different and – with the announcement of its new

58 • MEETINGS l MAR/APR 2020

theme, judges, mentorship programme and its inaugural brand ambassador – the WiM Awards will continue to recognise the women who are upping the ante and propelling the MICE industry forward.

VERSION 2.0 The theme for this year’s Top WiM Awards is Version 2.0. This signifies a new dawn for the format of the Awards, which, historically, have recognised 40 women within the industry along with special category winners. “The Version 2.0 theme was chosen because we are ready to take these Awards to the next level and refresh how they are done with what we want to achieve through them,” commented Jacques Breytenbach, general manager at 3S Media. This is defining for the Top Women in MICE Awards because, going forward, they will be fully categorised (see Categories sidebar). “We believe that these categories embody and reflect the qualities we see in women within the MICE industry and we could not be prouder of the strides we are taking in order to recognise women in this way,” announced Shanna Jacobsen, editor of Meetings magazine, during the launch of the Awards. The announcement took place at a ceremony held at Sandton Convention Centre on 26 February 2020, alongside the 15th annual Meetings Africa event, with industry heavy-

WIM AMBASSADOR During the launch of the Top WiM Awards 2020, it was revealed that Thami Nkadimeng would be representing WiM as an initiative. As a Top 40 WiM recipient in 2016, Thami embodies the qualities that the Awards uphold and will bear the flag for WiM across South Africa, and beyond.


CATEGORIES hitters such as Cape Town International Convention Centre CEO Taubie Motlhabane and Durban ICC CEO Lindiwe Rakharebe in attendance. Guests were welcomed by chief convention bureau officer of the South Africa National Convention Bureau Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo.

TOP WOMEN IN MICE MENTORSHIP & DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE In addition to the announcement of its new format, Shanna also revealed that the Top Women in MICE Mentorship & Development Initiative is partnering with Queen Ramotsehoa, founder of the Tsheto Leadership & Coaching Academy, to roll out an exciting programme over the first quarter of 2020. The mentorship programme has specifically chosen to partner with Queen and the Tsheto Leadership & Coaching Academy for its

empowered and empowering approach to achieve high-performance results. Together with Queen’s expertise, this will ensure that the mentorship programme is effective and delivers real benefits to the young women who are starting out in the industry. “We hope that the programme gives back meaningfully to our valued women in MICE. Our aim is to equip them with the skills and tools needed to better give back to our young up-and-comers and help shape our future leaders,” said Shanna on the significance of the programme. The audience was left feeling inspired when Jane Linley-Thomas, East Coast Radio presenter and co-founder of KindnessCan, delivered the official keynote to underpin the overall messaging for the morning. “Kindness can change the world and that starts right here, with us,” she said.

The categories for the 2020 Top Women in MICE Awards will be as follows: 1. Small Business Owner of the Year 2. Enterprise Team of the Year 3. Service Provider Representative of the Year 4. Venue Representative of the Year 5. Certified Meeting Planner (CMP) of the Year 6. Incentive Planner of the Year 7. Professional Conference Organiser (PCO) of the Year 8. Certified Exhibition Manager (CEM) of the Year 9. Mentor of the Year 10. Young Achiever of the Year 11. Rising Star of the Year 12. Male Supporter of the Year 13. Inspiration Award 14. Industry Crusader 15. Lifetime Achievement

MEET THE JUDGES The organisers of the Top WiM Awards 2020 are immensely proud of our judging panel, which is a powerhouse if ever there was one. This year, we welcome the participation of: • Nonnie Kubeka Executive Director, Gauteng Conventions & Events Bureau • Sonto Mayise Acting Head, KZN Conventions Bureau

• Corne Koch CEO, Western Cape Tourism, Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Wesgro)

• Sonto Ndlovu CEO, Limpopo Tourism Authority

• Vanessa Perumal Managing Director, JT Communications

With thanks to all our partners and sponsors:






CULINARY APPRECIATION Chef Norbert Gertse from ATKV Goudini Spa shares his insights on food trends as well as his top tips for catering for your delegates.

ABOUT CHEF NORBERT GERTSE Passion for the food industry runs in the Gertse family, and Italy, Los Angeles and Zanzibar are just some of the places that Chef Norbert has worked. The flavours from the unique cuisines he has learnt to prepare are used as his inspiration for each meal and menu item.

How has the food and beverage industry changed over the past five years? Presentation and attention to detail have vastly improved – we really are setting the bar on these standards.

What are some of the current trends in the food and beverage industry? Sustainable gardens that grow fresh, organic produce are becoming more popular for venues. Also, less is more.

What would you identify as the primary mistake

60 • MEETINGS l MAR/APR 2020

people make when catering for conferencing?

What is your favourite food?

Opting for quantity over quality.

Cape Malay curry.

How can one present ‘plain’ food in a way that appeals to delegates?

Are there any foods you just don’t like?

Clever plating and garnishing. Freshness is key!

I don’t enjoy pork.

Did you eat your veggies as a child?

What is your favourite dish to make?

Yes, I did.


What is your favourite food memory?

What is your number one catering tip?

Cooking with my brothers for a wedding.

Preparation, preparation, preparation.

What is your favourite piece of kitchen equipment?

What is the proudest moment in your career as a chef? Seeing the smiles on people’s faces when they tuck in to a good meal is the most rewarding feeling – and it never gets old!

Who in the food world do you most admire? Gordon Ramsay.

What is one ingredient you cannot cook without?

What are your favourite foods to cook with? Seafood.

What do you think is the most challenging ingredient to work with?

My chef’s knives.

I love cooking with a range of flavours but salt is probably the one ingredient I can’t cook without.

What dish are you asked to make most often?

When did you know you wanted to be a chef?

What’s your ‘death row’ meal, as the late Anthony Bourdain put it?

Roast beef.

When I was eight years old.

Lamb chops.

Perhaps a rack of lamb.


INDUSTRY VIEWS Coming off an economic high

Are we ready for the next downturn? With a globally growing expectation of economic downturn, if not recession, it is an interesting time to reflect on what we may have learned through the last cycle, notes Aloysius Arlando.


ALOYSIUS ARLANDO is the president of AIPC and the CEO of SingEx.

ecent industry surveys have shown some of the highest levels of business performance and confidence we’ve ever recorded, so adapting to new conditions could well be more demanding this time around! We must now consider what we’ve learned over the course of the last cycle that we can apply to planning for the next.

beat, with few cancellations and only a bit of an attendance drop, even at the nadir of the crisis. It seems reasonable that this kind of a pattern would likely be repeated in the event of another downturn – in fact, there’s an argument to be made that at a time of any kind of crisis, the need for gatherings to deal with the aftermath and plan for the future is actually likely to increase.



First, all things eventually pass – and we can be assured that any downturn will be a transition we need to bridge rather than a permanent new set of operating conditions. Having said that, we also saw how some things that change during an economic slump will never return afterward, at least in the same way. As an example, one thing many of us experienced during the last downturn was the increasing reliance many event organisers had on centres to help take up the slack in service delivery, as their own cutbacks took hold – and that still holds in many cases today, where centres find themselves devoting more and more time to coming up with ideas on how clients can get the most out of their facilities. It was the same case with client expectations for concessions and subventions in many parts of the world – first, a kind of ‘emergency measure’ but ultimately just an ongoing fact of life that persists today.

Third, we all learned the value of revenue diversification – of pursuing other revenue sources to help mitigate the effects that a loss of traditional streams could have on everyone’s bottom line, and that applies as much to organisers and association executives as to industry suppliers. The result back then was a flurry of new and creative revenue ideas in almost every aspect of event development and management – and while these slowed when traditional revenues started to rebound, they will most certainly be a factor in any future scenarios that generate financial challenges.

LESSON 4 Finally, we all – suppliers and clients alike – learned the value of good communications and a partnership approach to event delivery. In fact, pursuing these kinds of relationships is a good idea under any conditions and can be particularly valuable when economic conditions lead to more constrained budgets and everyone needs to become a bit more creative in driving cost-effectiveness.

LESSON 2 Second, we know there will be a shift in our business mix. The corporate business that was so strong prior to the last financial crisis evaporated overnight in many parts of the world, and took many years to rebuild to its current position at the top of the ‘business potential’ list. In the meantime, we all learned just how stable association events were – the general experience being that they barely skipped a

IN CLOSING The big lesson here is that while we can all still hope that the predicted economic downturn will not in fact materialise – or if it does, it will be short-lived – history suggests that a bit of advance preparation can’t hurt. To find those lessons – and to think about what strategies they might suggest as we look to the future – we need look no further than the last downturn!




INDUSTRY VIEWS Upskilling the industry

Growing young professionals In order to grow the exhibitions and events industry, AAXO believes that its members need employees with the right skills to provide service excellence, says Projeni Pather.


PROJENI PATHER is the chairperson of AAXO.

INDUSTRY VIEWS It’s time for change

o address the skills shortage, we are proud to launch the AAXO Young Professionals membership. In alignment with our efforts to ensure more opportunities for development, this is the perfect chance for young individuals whose companies are not members of AAXO to be part of the association and have access to mentorship, resources, training and education grants. In line with AAXO Young Professional membership, a key component of our objectives as an association to grow young talent is the AAXO Education Outreach Fund. This fund will provide grants to young professionals who want to uplift their career in the exhibitions and events industry but lack the financial means to do so. These grants will offer young individuals the opportunity to further their growth and uplift their skills by funding their journey in the industry. All grants awarded will be based on merit and will require a detailed application for review. In support of the AAXO training and development mission,

Register for the AAXO newsletter or follow @AAXOSA on social media to keep up to date with all the details our education programmes, membership, grants and more. For more information, contact Molebogeng Masote on

EGF Conference debuts in Cape Town! But that’s not the only reason you will want to attend it, writes Lynn McLeod.


LYNN MCLEOD is the secretariat at the Event Greening Forum.

grants awarded will provide individuals with access to two new programmes – the internationally recognised IAEE Certified in Exhibition Management (CEM) programme and the AAXO Exhibition and Event Masterclass – and any other supporting activities or programmes that are consistent with the aim of the AAXO Young Professionals Programme. AAXO Young Professionals membership is open to individuals who are eager to develop their skills in the exhibitions and events space. As part of our mission to invest in the exhibitions and events industry, we are committed to recognising deserving individuals who will be assets to the industry.

he year 2020 marks the eighth Event Greening Forum (EGF) annual conference, and the first to be held in Cape Town. The decision to host it in the Mother City is based on the excellent support our event greening training and networking events receive there, the levels of interest in sustainability in the local events industry, and the enthusiasm of our Cape Town members. Previously, our conferences were co-located with Meetings Africa, and only became stand-alone events from 2016. At the time, Johannesburg was the obvious host city choice, simply because it represents a significant majority of the EGF’s membership base, and we wanted to make it as easy as possible for as many people as possible to attend. But it is time for a change.

DISRUPTING THE NORMAL This is a fitting decision, given that the theme of our conference is ‘Disrupting the normal’. Under this banner, we will explore the ideas and innovations

62 • MEETINGS l MAR/APR 2020

driving the sustainability movement in the business events industry, while challenging conventional practices and mindsets.

The theme of our conference is ‘Disrupting the normal’ We don’t promise to have all the answers, but we do promise to bring you leading experts who can share their knowledge and experience, leaving you more informed and better equipped to deal with these kinds of challenges. For those of you who aren’t based in Cape Town but don’t want to miss out, we will be offering a carbon offset for travel, to help reduce our environmental impact. Please save the date: Thursday, 9 July 2020. We will also be running a Master Class session in Cape Town on the afternoon of Wednesday, 8 July 2020. To stay up to date with the announcements for these two events, please subscribe to our newsletter at under the ‘Contact us’ tab.


INDUSTRY VIEWS Everyone can play a part

Many hands make light work Glenton de Kock explains how SAACI’s efforts are a testament to the above 14th century proverb, which is still relevant today.



INDUSTRY VIEWS Travelbags up the ante

he truth of the matter is that we live in challenging times – politically, socially and economically – and that setting clear goals and charting a path to achieve them is no longer optional. This also applies to business events, of course, where we all continue to learn and will keep on growing through collaboration. In fact, this forms the foundation of our entire focus at SAACI. We are rolling out a carefully plotted plan of collaboration this year, to help our industry grow and prosper. We recently announced a student outreach programme, which will educate students about the basic elements of the business events industry and connect them with industry professionals. It will also see the establishment of SAACI student chapters. With this pilot project, we are currently working closely with the Cape Peninsula University of Technology as

Much ado about everything Staying true to its value proposition, Travelbags is striving in all ways to connect and inspire the industry, says Michelle Hinrichsen.


MICHELLE HINRICHSEN is the current president of Travelbags.

partner. Through close collaboration, we are matching industry requirements to skills development and, ultimately, suitable candidates for professional positions. Eventually, our members will have a reliable one-stop shop to fill internships and, what is more, build up a solid, reliable BBBEE rating. I do believe the business events industry requires a unique and demanding combination of knowledge and skills. On the one hand, business events professionals need to have a high level of logical thinking and on the other, an equally high degree of creativity. Focused collaboration will help us to find suitable individuals and develop them into the industry leaders of the future. We will announce further details as the student outreach programme rolls out, but members will also hear more – and find ways to participate – at our annual congress in Johannesburg from 26 to 28 July.

he new decade has already brought with it some new, and interesting, challenges to Travelbags; however, this is nothing we cannot handle. Change can be challenging but, at the same time, it can be as good as a holiday and it is a sign of the times of the changing world and trends facing event organisers; however, we want to ensure all the events we organise and put forward to our members and attendees offer an experience that is valued and treasured. Some trends we have noticed that are defining how our events move forward have been a continued focus on sustainability, as well as an increased focus towards personalising content and resources. In a world with an abundance, if not an inundation, of content it is critical to personalise your content in whichever ways possible in order to stand out. Understanding the importance of this, Travelbags’ own communications with our members and attendees will see a more personal touch going forward.

Travelbags’ own communications with our members and attendees will see a more personal touch going forward We are also working towards providing more unique venue experiences by ensuring Travelbags events and lunches are hosted at only the most sought-after, top-class, stand-out and trendy venues, with interactive live event entertainment. This is another big trend that Travelbags will be paying attention to, as we recognise how this encourages networking and engagement. This is just some of what we are intent on nailing during the course of this year, so look out for our event invites – we would love to see you at a Travelbags function soon!




LEAVING A What will yours be?


ften, I go to presentations or conferences where there is a fantastic speaker whose take on a matter really resonates with me and can leave a long-lasting impression. I think about the journey of this individual’s life and what they may have seen or done to have the mindsets that they do. And, not being one for public speaking, I generally have a lot of admiration anyone who is brave enough to get up on a stage and remain so calm that they can articulate an idea with such eloquence. My aspirations to leave a legacy don’t quite extend to being a great orator – by this point in my life, I know where my talents lie and while it is possible that with years of practice I might one day be able to deliver a great speech to a live audience, it is more important to me knowing that the people I come into contact

with on a daily basis are inspired, uplifted and feel more positive as a result of me having been present in their day.

DRIVING CHANGE We are living in a time where the hustle is real and everyone is clamouring for their piece of the pie. This is a mentality that seems to permeate throughout society and at all levels of business. It has become a system of dog eat dog and, worse than this, it has become an accepted form of survival. Nowhere is this more evident than in places like our roads, where the playing field is levelled; anyone is fair game, and everyone has somewhere they need to get to, often at recklessly mind-numbing speeds. I’ll frame this analogy slightly differently: I was travelling down a road I don’t generally take in peak

traffic, where I had right of way when I was approaching an intersection. There was a queue of cars behind a person trying to get across into my lane but they simply couldn’t with the steady stream of traffic. I came to a gentle stop to let this person in ahead of me when I observed the most incredible thing: the car directly behind me also stopped to let in the next person stuck at the stop street. It may have been that this is what is done to ensure that cars can actually get a space in the traffic but I like to think that this small act of kindness was contagious – that the person behind me saw what I did; it resonated with them and they followed suit. Sometimes in life, we have to yield to others and allow them into our lane in order to allow the world to move forward. Recognising your role in this is what will define your legacy.


Event Wizards


Multichoice DStv Business

AV Active

Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife


Premier Hotels & Resorts


Barmotion Brandex


Downings Marquee Rentals


Hospitality Zone




Emerald Resort & Casino

64 • MEETINGS l MAR/APR 2020

OFC 42 & 43

48 16 & 17

Khoja Group



30 Pull-out (31-34)

Sandton Convention Centre

20 & 21


Le Franschhoek Hotel


The Westin


44 & 45

VOD Group

54 & 55