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Pieter Buitendag, general manager of Protea Hotel President in Cape Town, gives us his top conferencing tips.

The most frequent requirements from CLIENTS and PCOs about MICE locations are:

  • Technology  It’s very seldom that one sees anyone at a conference nowadays without tablets or laptops, which are often used as part of the organisation structure such as delegate registration. Unavailability of high-speed internet can nowadays be a deal-breaker, so hotels have to get up to speed.
  • Meeting spaces  Being flexible is key. There’s a large move towards meetings that are less formal, so venues outside of traditional conference rooms need to be options. Being rigid about traditional meetings spaces will lose business.
  • Green credentials  A lot of conference queries, particularly those from overseas, incorporate questions about carbon offsets and they, too, can be deal-breakers. We offer green conference packages that support a number of South African NGOs, but each hotel in the Protea Hospitality Group works with several charities at any given time and those organisations always welcome donations of money, food, blankets and even just time.
  • Entertainment  When the working day is done, while some delegates might just want to kick back in their rooms others will want to work off the stresses of the day. This is why choosing the right location for your conference type is critical. If the idea is to team-build in an uninterrupted fashion, a bush lodge might be the answer. Tailor your venue to your people and the conference will be a success.

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