Industry leaders look
into their crystal balls…
what will 2014 bring?
Zelda Coetzee, national
chairperson of SAACI
GAZING into the proverbial glass ball, I see
mixed – but mostly positive – signals for the
business events industry for 2014.
I know most industry members will agree
with me that we have not quite turned the
corner on the tough economic times we’ve
found ourselves in over the past few years.
Chris Prieto, CMP, regional
director Africa of ICCA
I BELIEVE the industry will see a slight increase
in meetings and events in 2014. People are
ﬁnally realising business events bring in more
revenue than just tourism, and that is making
people see it in a different light.
However, although the number of meetings
will probably increase, I think the number of
attendees will drop as companies become
more budget-conscious and concentrate on
Business Events Africa
Clients – including corporates, government
and associations – continue to demand more
return on their investment. Budgets are tight
and expectations are high.
I am willing to bet this will still be the
scenario in the foreseeable future, which tells
me 2014 will be just as challenging as 2013.
The upside is that we are constantly being
innovative, forging new relationships and
breaking barriers to deliver seamless and top
quality conferences and events. Combine all
of that with the good old ‘I can’ South African
spirit, we have a winning recipe.
Another positive factor is the fact that
more and more international business
opportunities are opening up. I worked in
China earlier this year, for instance, and
South African organisers are really soughtafter. The conference industry in the rest of
Africa, in particular, is growing phenomenally,
with lots of prospects.
Which brings me to SAACI’s focus for
2014. Our new national board has a number
of ambitious, yet reachable goals, aimed at
entrenching SAACI’s position as the leading
events industry organisation in the region
Without letting the cat out of the bag
entirely, I can mention that we are looking at
establishing new branches, not only in South
Africa, but also in the rest of the region.
The fact of the matter is that southern
Africa has an integrated economy and that
conferencing has a vital role to play in
We are also taking a hard look at
SAACI member beneﬁts and will make
announcements early in 2014 as part of our
new business strategy.
So, despite a challenging and tough
business environment, I believe 2014 has a
lot going for it. It is up to each and every
one of us to arm ourselves with knowledge
to understand the industry better, including
the latest trends, so that we can get down to
My wish is for 2014 to be an exciting and
prosperous year for us all.
sending less people, but with more relevance,
as delegates. The length of meetings might
also become shorter. Instead of having
three- or four-day conferences, we might see
shorter ones. If the corporate world continues
to organise conferences and meetings on a
regular basis, but in smaller numbers and less
delegates, association meetings are the ones
growing in a fast, steady way. Not only are they
growing in numbers, but also in number of
The location of meetings will probably also
change to “closer to home”. Venues will have to
be more creative and ﬁnd ways to differentiate
from each other in order to secure business.
The loyal repeat clients are no longer
accepting just anything. Their loyalty is there,
but they expect to see value for each meeting
or event they have. Unfortunately, some venues
take these clients for granted and think because
they have always come back, they don’t need
to do anything new to keep their business.
They will have to ﬁnd ways to maintain
these client’s interests focused on their
venue, besides ensuring that service offered
is faultless. Sustainability and ecological
considerations are also growing concerns that
will be very important on the choice of not only
venues, but also organisers.
Other important factors that I think will
prevail above all, will be service. The better
the service offered, the bigger the chance of
securing the business. Also, with new large
convention facilities being built around Africa,
competition will be stronger between African
Conference programmes will have to be
attractive and interesting in order to attract
delegates. Networking opportunities also plays
a very important role when people are deciding
whether they should attend a conference. When
speaking to some delegates at a conference
recently, I was told by quite a few of them that
they considered the networking even more
important than the educational programme.
And, ﬁnally, social media and technology will
also inﬂuence the number of meetings, as with
webinars and virtual conferences becoming
more popular, companies might just change
the way they think, mainly when it comes to
smaller meetings and use the available virtual
opportunities to save money.
Vol. 33 No. 12
Nigel Walker, chairperson
IT is an exciting time to be involved in the events
industry. Clients know what they want, although
they may not be able to verbalise the needs in the
format of a brief. Special events, in particular, are
now, more than ever, being used as a competitive
tool for engaging with a particular focused target
audience. This has created a new dynamic for
event organisers which signiﬁcantly impacts
on how an event is organised; what is expected
from the organiser and, lastly, the experience the
attending guests will walk away with.
Clients and organisers more than ever want
originality; they want their event whether social,
corporate, exhibition or conference related to
be unique, engaging and different enough to be
remembered well into the future. This dynamic
manager: Convention Bureau &
Event Support, WESGRO
CAPE Town, in particular, will experience
much excitement as the city celebrates being
World Design Capital 2014. The Cape Town &
Western Cape Convention Bureau is poised to
go to the next level as a cohesive team that
collaborates well with its many and varied
In addition, work on the extension at the
CTICC will be underway meaning that the city’s
ﬂagship venue will enhance the destination’s
poses a very real challenge for the future of our
industry, and the people who work in it. More is
expected from us, often for the same fee, however
underpinned by a new set of competencies
embracing higher levels of knowledge, expertise
and trend setting.
The expectation of the historic event organiser
has been revolutionised; clients rely on us to
not only be the experts in creating the ultimate
experience, but also to be the experts in terms
of governance, health and safety adherence and
As competition continues to increase within
the industry and the number of, not only national
organisers, but also international organisers
continues to grow, these areas of expertise may,
in fact, become the most important competitive
edge we all strive for.
These areas of emerging competencies
are difﬁcult to master, in part because of the
challenging operational environment we all
experience in terms of the wide variation in
the application of and interpretation of the
“legalisation” and “house-rules” between
venues, consultants, organisers, and companies.
We are all aware of how technology and, in
turn, social media has shaped, and will continue
to mould, the world we live in. The experience
becomes immediate, the assessment and
judgement levelled at the organiser and the event
itself is instantaneous and dynamic.
Event organisers need to be constantly on their
toes, tuned into the event and their audience
like never before. The need to be ever-mindful
of ideas and solutions that could dramatically
enhance a client’s event is essential.
Exhibitions have always recognised, and social
media has now built on the fact, that “face-toface interaction” will remain the cornerstone
objective of our industry.
Success will come about by providing
solutions that are integrated with every touchpoint the target audience comes into contact
with. That is why there is such strong synergies
between these two mediums and, as such, both
mediums will continue to exhibit strong growth.
One thing that remains evident is that as
our industry will continue to need to bring into
it new, young and aspiring talent. The newlyformed Young Professional Forum within EXSA
was in direct response to this. Professional
recognition, skills development and training
will remain crucial, not only because of
their understanding of both new technology
landscapes and target audiences, but also to
ensure we continue to shape the industry into
one which is not perceived to be glamorous, but
rather one to be perceived to be essential in how
we communicate in the 21st century.
The continuous investment in training and
development for individuals in the industry
remains an important dynamic to ensuring we
meet our client’s expectations of providing the
ultimate experience for their target audience
and positioning their brand cleverly in the minds
of those who interact with them.
We expect to see Africa come into its own
even more, with Cape Town entrenching its
position as “Easy Africa”.
Nationally, I think we’ll experience strong
co-operation between the main convention
cities, while the SA National Convention
Bureau matures and continues to support us.
In doing so, South Africa will secure its place
on the global stage as a sought-after business
Still on the national front, we are optimistic
the partnership between the public and private
sectors will strengthen and become even more
Association events are likely to require more
delegate boosting. The very large events are
likely to be even tougher to secure. Convention
centres will be under pressure as hotels and
other meeting venues continue to regain
popularity. Hybrid meetings will increase, but
not replace face-to-face meetings. Free Wi-Fi
will be non-negotiable.
Incentive business will continue to grow, and
we should expect to see particular attention
being paid to emerging markets and how we
reach them. Traditional source markets will
need to be carefully maintained.
Corporate meetings are likely to increase
too, although this growth is more likely to
come via the private sector and their efforts.
Exhibitions will be more attracted to Cape
Town, particularly with the additional facilities
on the horizon. Sponsorship for exhibitions
will be hard to secure and the organisers will
need to focus on partnership, in combination
Greening will remain important, but cost
will be a factor to consider, meaning budget
will take precedence over greening. Healthy
food at business events will be the norm and
not an option. The days of chicken wings,
sausage rolls, ﬁzzy drinks and fruit juice are
over. Delegates will insist on smaller, quality
portions which can be easily accessed, rather
than rude buffets with poor trafﬁc ﬂow.
More attention will, hopefully, be paid to
skills and stafﬁng. We have highly professional
people in our industry, but there are not
enough. The business events industry is one in
which experience cannot be under-estimated,
and so mentorship needs to become popular.
Lastly, for Cape Town, it is likely that the
rewards of the Convention Bureau being located
within Wesgro will be felt more signiﬁcantly.
The co-operation between the Bureau and the
Trade and Investment Promotion Units within
the Agency will simply be good for the Western
Cape and its economy.
Business Events Africa
Vol. 33 No. 12
Mati Nyazema, executive director of
Sandton Convention Centre
WITHIN the three main sectors in which SCC
operates, namely exhibitions, corporate and
government, there are a number of different
trends we see emerging in 2014.
In the exhibition sector, the established
shows at the SCC are set to return next year, and
those that have invested in their brand equity
Mmatsatsi Ramawela, chief executive
ofﬁcer of Tourism Business Council
of South Africa
THESE are the top trends I foresee for 2014:
• More international hotel brands will
enter the South African market, manly
through management buy-out. Increased
international brands in sub-Saharan Africa.
• The airline industry to remain under
immense cost pressure mainly due to fuel
and encroachment of carbon emissions
control. The need to implement YD will
come into sharp focus with a selection of
African countries opening their skies for
• The hub and spoke policy will come under
threat in South Africa and the rest of the
continent and world, with predictions of
Nairobi or Dar es Salaam being the East
Africa hub and the one in West Africa
between Accra and Dakar. Threat coming
from Middle East airlines and some
Business Events Africa
and developed strong databases and client
relationships are likely to show growth.
We are also looking forward to the entry of
international shows previously held elsewhere
in Africa and other parts of the world, coming
to South Africa and bringing new concepts and
topics to both the trade and consumer audience.
The entry of international exhibition
companies or products coming to showcase in
South Africa gained momentum this year with
events such as Discorp, which will returning for
a second year in 2014, making Johannesburg its
We will also be launching a new show, Days
of the Dinosaur, which is a completely new
concept for South Africa. The arrival of this show
highlights another trend, namely longer-term
exhibitions, which have become a feature for a
number of international convention centres.
These shows generally have an element of
education, as well as being highly experiential
and offering exceptional family entertainment.
The advent of these shows in South Africa
reﬂects the changing proﬁle of the maturing of
a destination, as we move to a higher level of
upmarket family entertainment.
In the corporate sector, it seems we have
ﬁnally put the recession behind us. 2013 showed
the conferencing market is back on track, and
we are looking forward to a strong performance
At SCC, a number of international events will
be taking place, including 21st World Orchid
Conference (WOC21), the 21st General Meeting
of the International Mineralogical Association
and, in 2015, the International Public Relations
Association (IPRA) World Congress.
The outlook in the conferencing sector is
positive and the market is buoyant, with many
PCOs having stabilised their business. However,
from a venue perspective, there is a lot of
product on offer and venues need to remain
Finally, within the government sector, the
trend towards last-minute bookings is set to
continue as procurement policies become
more stringent, thereby placing pressure on
European legacy carriers.
• More airline consolidation predicted with
the US leading, followed by Asia, while
Europe will be lagging behind and Africa
being slow off the mark, ﬁrst with open
skies and then consolidation, if any.
• Tourist arrivals to continue increasing from
Africa as standard of living and income
levels improves due to improved economic
performances, Asia with China leading and
India, then Latin America with Brazil in the
lead. Continued arrivals growth from North
America, while Europe will continue to be
under pressure – UK, etc.
• The South African economy will continue to
struggle mainly due to lingering structural
issues in the economy – mismatch between
employment opportunities and unemployed.
• Technology to continue its dominance in the
sector with operators choosing to use social
media channels such as Twitter, Instagram
for their promotions and consumer facing
campaigns. Facebook losing its appeal and
beneﬁt to these operators.
• South African government to revisit its
stance on sustainable (hunting) use policy
because it’s part of the tourism industry
with positive effect in the four key areas of
our tourism economy – geographic spread,
seasonality, average spend and average stay
for inbound tourists/arrivals.
• An increasing awareness of the importance
of our bio-diversity with continuing
slaughter of rhinos which may affect other
species and the integrity of our natural
• The escalating inequality in our economy
is going to become a big issue in the new
year since we will be celebrating 20 years of
• Corruption will increase for a while before
there is a radical shift in government, which
will usher a new order code. There is a
bright future in the country.
Vol. 33 No. 12
Nonnie Kubeka, executive manager,
Gauteng Conventions & Events Bureau
CONVENTION bureau should pursue local
partnerships instead of big name brands to
boost partnerships with naming rights.
The trend seems to be exhibition, sports and
music venues that generate additional revenue
and economic spin-offs for the destination
through naming rights, so the drive is on for
convention bureau to partner with exhibition,
sports and music venues for new revenue
streams and economic impact drivers.
The competition is ﬁerce across the globe,
but exciting times are ahead and would be
fantastic to see it all pay off.
Julie-May Ellingson TRP (SA),
chief executive ofﬁcer of Durban
International Convention Centre
THE meetings and events sector is
fundamentally stable and has proven its
resilience over recent years and will continue
its growth, albeit slow, in the year ahead. The
industry is not without its challenges at the
moment, but after another successful year of
operation at the Durban ICC, I am cautiously
optimistic about the upcoming year.
The trends and developments taking place
in the meetings industry, which must be kept
in mind, include increased competition, rapidly
evolving technology, and the demand for new
meeting formats. These factors will have a
signiﬁcant impact on the way meetings will be
held going forward.
James Seymour, chief executive ofﬁcer of
Durban KwaZulu-Natal Convention Bureau
The past year has seen increased
competition in the meetings space from
existing players and the entrance of new
competitors from Africa and the rest of
the world will only continue in future.
organisation’s unique selling points will play
an important role in a company’s survival and,
ultimate success, in the year ahead.
Conference delegates are more tech-savvy
than ever before, and the industry must
be willing to embrace new ways of doing
business. Hybrid meetings using virtual
technology are becoming more and more
popular in South Africa, and 2014 will see
more events offering conference content
available via webinars. Applications for smart
phones and tablets are changing the meeting
experience and making it easier for delegates
to connect and retain those connections long
after the conference has ended.
The traditional use of meeting space is also
changing. Innovative use of outdoor space,
smaller areas for limited gatherings and
different seating styles are all popular requests
which are here to stay.
I believe the quality of our team will be an
important differentiating factor in effectively
meeting these requirements in the year ahead.
I believe that if you enjoy what you do, your
enthusiasm will be contagious and your team
will follow suit. I believe that one of the
most important jobs I can do is to motivate
people who genuinely feel their contribution
is valuable and their jobs are more important
From an international events perspective,
the slow-down in the global economy has
negatively impacted long-haul destinations,
and South Africa has not been immune to the
effects of this reality.
In the past, a number of international
associations and organisations consistently
rotated their conferences between Europe
and other long-haul destinations.
However, owing to the difﬁcult economic
times, some of these organisations have opted
to remain in Europe and limit the number of
events they host in long-haul destinations.
Despite this fact, I believe Durban is still
an affordable, value-for-money destination
offering delegates a world-class venue and
truly African experience. This is evident in
the number of conferences coming to the
African continent for the ﬁrst time in 2014.
These include the Congress of International
Union of Architects and the 21st World
Congress of the International Association for
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Allied
Professions. I hope the current buzz around
“Africa Rising” will translate into a real
commitment from more associations to host
their events on this continent in the years
International Marathons. Approximately
200 delegates will attend this event in May.
• International Retrouvaille Council Meeting
and Workshop. Some 400 delegates will
attend this meeting.
• The World Ports Congress. In the order of
400 delegates will attend this event.
• The World Medical Alliance, which will take
place over 8 -11 October, and expected to
attract at least 500 delegates.
• The World Youth Chess Championships 18
– 30 September. Some 3 000 players are
expected to participate.
• The Karate 1 World Cup Leg for the 21 – 23
February 2014 and associated meetings.
Some 1 000 international delegates
and participants from 50 countries are
expected to attend this event. In addition,
approximately 1 000 national delegates
and participants will be involved.
• A “Flexi Exposition” for Pietermaritzburg.
• The Sport and Event Exchange, Africa’s
most important sport tourism trade
show, which is scheduled to take place in
In addition, there are a range of possible
events for Durban and KwaZulu-Natal in 2014,
which are in the decision “pipeline”.
THE Durban KwaZulu-Natal Convention Bureau
is of the view that 2014 will be a reasonable year
from a business events perspective for the City
of Durban and the province of KwaZulu-Natal.
This agency has assisted, with the aid of a
range of partners such as Durban ICC, Tsogo
Sun and relevant associations involved, to
secure the following events for Durban and
the province in 2014:
• Sharks International, a congress of some
200 delegates scheduled for June 2014.
• Congress of the Association of
Business Events Africa
Vol. 33 No. 12
Craig Newman, chief executive
ofﬁcer, Johannesburg Expo Centre
Rashid Toefy, chief executive
ofﬁcer of CTICC
THERE has been a deﬁnite shift towards more
aggressive bargaining terms and conditions as
event organisers are under pressure to deliver
world class events within stringent budgets.
This has necessitated the need for industry
to enhance their value proposition in terms
of their products and services. Clients expect
services like Wi-Fi to be standard and are no
Tes Proos, president
of Site SA
IT appears inbound conference and incentive
business is in excellent shape for the year
ahead. Some of our markets that were hit really
Business Events Africa
WHILE the local economy is taking longer than
hoped to gain positive momentum, things are
certainly moving in the right direction and
South Africa’s economy continues to grow. That
is a positive inﬂuence on all of South Africa’s
industry sectors, including the exhibition and
2014 is going to be an interesting year for
South Africa. For one thing, we will have our
next round of national elections and the whole
country is ready for positive change and growth.
We believe this will bode well for the local
exhibition and events industry, and also bring a
great deal of global interest to our shores.
Despite 2013 being a very turbulent year in
many ways, we still experienced encouraging
outcomes, and we therefore have an extremely
positive outlook for 2014.
As usual, our focus will be on innovation
and exceptional customer service, as well as
working hand-in-hand with leading local and
international partners to ensure we deliver
world-class events for clients and delegates.
We had a phenomenal start to this year, and
we expect no less in 2014. While it’s been clear
that previously recessionary conditions have
impacted the industry, it has forced us to adapt,
change and focus on strategy and innovation.
These can only bring positive changes to the
industry and force us to keep on our toes and
continue to deliver outstanding exhibitions,
conferences and events each and every time. I
longer willing to pay for these conveniences.
Venues need to be cognisant of this and adapt
their service offerings to suit these needs.
In keeping with this trend, the CTICC offers
complimentary Wi-Fi to all delegates and
guests to the Centre. With Wi-Fi becoming a
standard offering, venues will need to start
looking at alternative revenue streams. One
trend we will see emerging is the development
of innovative conference apps, which can be
a value-add service offering to meeting and
Technology will continue to play a vital role
in changing the current meeting architecture
of events. We believe event organisers will
be increasingly put under pressure to deliver
unique events in order to combat the trend of
declining attendance ﬁgures.
The nature of conferences and events is
evolving and it is important for the events
industry to be ﬂexible and innovate in this
space. Agility is key. Meeting professionals and
venues need to be able to adapt to schedules
and programmes on-site in order to cater to
the real-time immediate feedback of their
International exhibition organisers are also
viewing Cape Town as the springboard into
Africa. Cape Town is seen as the “Gateway to
Africa,” and as an ideal platform to tap into
the one-billion consumers on the African
continent. We have seen a growing trend of
international exhibition organisers partnering
with local organisers to gain a foothold in the
The acquisition of one of South
Africa’s premier food, beverage and lifestyle
exhibitions, the Good Food & Wine Show by
international group, Fiera Milano S.p.A and the
recent joint venture between Reed Exhibitions
and the Thebe Exhibitions & Projects Group
(TEPG), bears testament to Cape Town’s
desirability as a sought-after exhibition
The CTICC will play host to Africa Travel Week
in April next year, which will be comprised of
three co-located shows – WTM Africa, IBTM
Africa and ILTM Africa. This is a fantastic coup
for Cape Town and South Africa on the eve of
World Design Capital.
hard by the global recession of recent times are
carefully coming back. We have seen an increase
in enquiries from the UK and US, and some
of these are ﬁnally converting into conﬁrmed
Some DMCs are experiencing increased
business from European markets which is very
encouraging, as well as an increase on CSR
projects, which is becoming increasingly more
important for these markets. This also gives
us the opportunity to explore new incentive
offerings for our clients.
Peter-John Mitrovich, of Grosvenor Tours
states: “A great year ﬁlled with a good blend of
international conference and incentive groups.
Africa is deﬁnitely becoming more of a meeting
destination with more enquiries into East Africa,
Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.”
While there are some big incentive groups
conﬁrming, most group enquiries from Europe
and the UK have become smaller, between 20
– 60 delegates per group. Daryl Keywood,
managing director of Walthers DMC, said: “We
are seeing signs of recovery and the interest in
Southern Africa at Imex America was high. 2014
might still be a challenging year, but business
for late 2014 and into 2015 is looking extremely
positive with larger numbers and improved
ACSA airport taxes remain a deterring factor
though, as we are still losing groups to other
destinations due to the high cost of airfares.
With the positive increase projected for 2014,
we need to ensure we stay ahead of our game
by ensuring superb service at all levels. Site
South Africa is undertaking a number of industry
workshops during 2014 to discuss trends, share
critical information, as well as present training to
all incentive industry players.
Here’s to a wonderful year ahead.
Vol. 33 No. 12
The Last word
Trends to look out for in 2014
By Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo, executive
manager at the South African National
othing stays the same, least of all in
the dynamic and competitive global
business events industry.
For a destination to thrive and grow, it not
only has to keep track of trends and respond
to them, but must also be a trendsetter itself:
leading from the front and initiating new and
better ways of doing things that add value to the
Having recently returned from global ICCA
conference in Shanghai, I’m going to chat about
trends in the global business event sector, and
what these trends mean for the South African
(and African) industry.
South Africa’s time is now
South Africa’s stature as a business event
destination grows as investment proceeds
apace, and as the business event infrastructure
The Cape Town International Convention
Centre is expanding; the recently opened Port
Elizabeth Boardwalk Convention Centre gives
depth to our capability.
Business-specialist facilities such as The
Maslow Hotel send a strong message to the
world of South Africa’s competitiveness,
ambition and competence.
This time last year, we had two hosted buyers
confirmed to attend Meetings Africa 2013. Right
now, we have 55 confirmed hosted buyers for
Meetings Africa 2014. This interest for our
Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo, executive
manager at the South African National
Business Events Africa
destination comes from all over the world. But
there is especially keen and growing interest
from the Asian and African markets.
New, emerging destinations and markets (such
as South Africa, some other African countries
and also Asia) have arrived on the scene as
viable, attractive and capable business events
destinations, giving considerable completion
to the established Western European and North
This is the result of strategically-directed
hard work and through partnerships across
private- and public-sectors and across cities
and convention bureaux that have traditionally
viewed each other as competitors, rather than
For the next few years, we are going to see
still steady and significant growth in business
for South Africa from China and India. We will
also see the African association meetings rotate
more and more as we go forward.
More African destinations are set to follow
South Africa’s lead and establish convention
bureaux. This is all exceptionally good for the
continent, and gives real substance to our
invitation to the world to “Rise With Us”.
November’s ICCA conference in Shanghai
had record attendance for an ICCA conference
outside of Europe, giving undisputed evidence
that these new and emerging markets have
arrived to take their place on the international
The rise and rise of authenticity
We must never forget who we are, and what we
offer. As our destination comes of age and, as
we attract a growing number of highly profitable
and prestigious global events and meetings, we
must remain honestly authentic to who and what
we are. Uniqueness is what will sell destinations
in the future as the competition is growing and
everyone can deliver a successful event.
Our unique culture and service ethic attract
business to our shores as much as our capability,
track record and infrastructure do.
Nevertheless, consideration and deference to
the culture and traditions of delegates is vitally
important, too. This is very important if we want
delegates to return again to South Africa, and if
we want them to recommend our destination to
Delegates are more demanding and want more
than just one experience when on conference,
and meeting planners seek out destinations
that offer proven capability alongside authentic
and unique experiences. It’s all about
2013 Vol. 33 No. 12
packaging. If you package intelligently, you will
be successful. Package well, and the people will
come. Offer diversity and offer choice: choice
in extra-conference activities; choice in meals;
choice in boardroom set-up. People resist, and
resent being standardised.
While it’s true that technology and digital
platforms have a profound impact on the
sector, face-to-face meetings, conferences and
congresses are here to stay.
In fact, ICCA reports an increase in the
number of association meetings held last year
... not a decline.
Technology comes into its own when it
enhances business events, making them more
accessible to more people all over the world;
giving delegates seamless platforms to connect
electronically; and giving more people an
opportunity to express opinions, ask questions
and engage via the social media and other
“Interactive” is the golden word, where
technology is put to work to make discussions
at business events accessible to millions, rather
than just the thousand (or hundred) people
physically present in the meeting venue.
Apps for your conference are not a choice
anymore. It is a must if you want to be taken
serious. They add substantial value, and are
inevitably one of the very first things that
delegates will expect in the future. Therefore,
free Wi-Fi is no longer a nice to have. It’s
absolutely compulsory and an essential part of
the destination service offering.
Interest and uptake in business events and
incentives return as the business world recovers
from the crippling global recession of 20082010.
But, budgets remain tight, and the demand
in these post-recession days is for resultsdriven events: sales conferences, networking
events that deliver measurable returns
and meetings that quantify growth of the
Post-recession, the industry is also seeing
a slightly longer booking and decision lead
times, especially for corporate meetings and
incentives. Longer lead times give both client
and service provider more time to plan and to
hone and deliver events and incentives that
serve the very specific needs of delegates
and businesses. It gives the industry every
opportunity to shine, and to deliver supern