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‘What singles out specific MICE venues as first choice?’ questioned one corporate event manager at a recent MICE Focus Group. The rhetorical question could have been – how long is a piece of string. Being a leading venue by following what other venues are doing is an oxymoron. Copying what worked at venue A and applying the same methods at venue B purely because ‘we have always done it that way’ is not going to cut it in this day and age of better-informed event managers.

According to the Academy’s data bases, there are over 3500 MICE venues in South Africa – both with and without accommodation. Almost 2000 of these venues are in Gauteng. It means that besides the large capacity numbers – 1000 upwards – in plenary with all the required pre-assembly bells & whistles – the event manager is spoilt for choice.
So what really sets some venues apart from the others and makes the bookings schedule steady and ever-increasing?

There are distinct methods of operating which astute professional MICE venue management should apply by having a sound knowledge-base about the:

Venue
This is the ‘product’. Venue management must know their product in every aspect.

Some of the more important items are:
Measurements: all spaces
** Capacities in all configurations taking account of ‘dead’ space such as: pillars /
ceiling height constraints / service access & egress;
** Location of lighting controls
Potential Client Information:
** Industry sector (corporate / association / government)
** Intelligence on previously booked venues

Differences between marketing & selling

Marketing is ongoing high visibility in the right place and in conjunction with equally high standards. For example the Academy’s best practice philosophy signifies that the co-brands ‘sing from the same song-sheet’ of high standards within a supporting role. Selling is the ongoing liaison with potential clients and indeed existing clients. The building of relationships as well as the offering of special incentives and opportunities from time to time is an important part of the sales process.

Effective Selection & Appointment of Personnel

Ensure that personnel appointments have opportunities for growth. Retaining of effective personnel is essential to a growing bookings schedule. Yet perhaps the most important leading and not following attributes of venue management which must not be overlooked are: enthusiasm and effective communications by all venue personnel. Honesty should always be a venue’s hallmark with a liberal sprinkling of passion. With these criteria in place – the bookings schedule will increase to the ultimate goal of more repeat business to new business.

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