The invitation received by the MICE Academy to attend SA Tourism’s ‘Power of One’ session was met with mixed feelings as to whether we would be ‘talked at’ or ‘talked to’ during the four hour series of presentations.

The pleasant surprise was the manner and attention to detail that had been put into this MICE undertaking to get across the message of domestic tourism incentives to mainly property owners and tour operators.

SA Tourism is rolling out a most ambitious programme with a road show covering 18 towns and cities which commenced a few months ago and carries on well into 2014.

There were some excellent participation aspects contained at the outset.

Each delegate was asked to take one page of a circulated newspaper.  The audience were given time to pick any heading and build a new incentive idea for their particular business. The SA Tourism’s facilitator and MC Akash Singh selected 6 individuals that had an incentive idea and gave each one about 30 seconds to present their specific idea based on the heading selected.  It was an eye-opener to witness – how in a limited space of time – the number of outstanding incentive ideas that emanated from the audience.

The winning gent with his own guest house had seen an advert for a church service and put forward that he would locate all the churches within his area and offer their visiting priests and congregations a discounted rate together with transport to the church if his guest house was booked. This was just one of several innovative ideas.  The cherry on the top was his reward of a brand new ipad.

Very effective and highly impressive.

There is extensive hand-out material within a glossy branded carry bag. From bio-degradable note-pad with inserted pen to Sho’t left well-designed folder displaying the benefits of the domestic tourism campaign. Two publications were also included: one is a 190 page guide on the star grading system which was a tad challenging to navigate through the various indices.  The other was a total winner entitled ‘At Your Service’ which is a must read for the MICE industry. Highlighted in this 100-page wire-bound A5 booklet – in good old plain simple English – are the main sections of getting to know the traveller. Whether French, Chinese, Australian you name it, there are guidelines on food preferences, etiquette and the inevitable manner of greeting.  This is a gem.

The staging and production can only be described as slick, ensuring high message retention for all within the packed room.

The low light was the start time being an actual hour later than advertised.  It is essential that punctuality is instilled into the majority of South Africans.  To quote Orlando Pirates Coach after losing in Cairo this past weekend. ‘We can learn a lot from the Egyptians with fans arriving three hours before the game – so that the teams played to a packed stadium’.

Much work and research plus lots of millions have been spent on this domestic campaign.  It remains for the real challenge of measuring success – which is likely to only be possible over a protracted period of time.

For more details of other Power of One sessions

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