It’s often quoted that when in doubt, getting back to basics, before heaping too much praise on international appointments can produce a deeper perspective.

Worldwide the MICE sector’s various categories are similar re-market share:

  • 60% Corporate events (mainly national – some multi-national and international)
    •  Capacities (20 to 2000) –  various gathering types
  • 25% Association events (mainly national – some international)
    • Capacities (500 to 2000+) every year, second third or fourth yearly: member gathering
  • 15% Public events
    • Capacities and types: various.
With over 3 000 convention centres worldwide together with over 6 000 various suppliers and services there is no member association fully representative of the association market.  Those that exist, do an adequate duty in member networking.

The association market is the most lucrative from an organising viewpoint. Rocket science is not required to estimate 500 international delegates with travel, accommodation, tours, ground arrangements, MICE facilities et al over a few days to total a conservative R20 000 per delegate.

Multiply the 500 by R20 000 and add a 10% fee on the bottom line for the organiser could amount to well over a million rand before operating expenses are taken into account.

There are over 20 prominent association organisers in South Africa – some ‘imported’ from various countries off the African continent who have a foothold in large capacity international member associations seeking new destinations for their next convention.  There are the home-grown association organisers who have found their own niche – albeit with constant competitive risk – in a predominantly southern African member association market. One should not forget the senior government retiree with a fine pension that have entered the fray mainly within the discipline of the department or public sector entity from which these civil servants emanated on retirement.  Competition is fierce and some fees are cut to shreds in order to get the contract – which can keep a calculating organiser busy for a number of years with ongoing payments for services and time completed..   Registration trust accounts don’t appear too shabby either.

No mention is made in this article of the various convention bureau that sponsor – with taxpayer funding – the bidding for various association conferences or the types of discussions between organiser’s and their international contacts and the compelling bidding process that accompanies these interplay negotiations.  Another aspect is of course the smart associations themselves who are very aware of their bottom-line ability to play multiple offers against being the smiling, blushing bride-to-be.

It is also interesting to note more than one South African association-organising DMC and incentive guru hosting ‘workshop’ discussions on association meetings management and event management designed architecture in order to gain clients by increasing their own foothold in this lucrative sector of the MICE market.   In the words of Thomas A Edison, ‘Everything comes to those that hustle while waiting‘.

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