The Durban ICC consistently strives to position itself as “Africa’s Leading Convention Centre” – but now it is adding “Africa’s Smartest Convention Centre” to its competitive edge, says Durban ICC Chief Executive Officer, Lindiwe Rakharebe.

Even before COVID-19 was a known disease, the Durban ICC had ventured into hosting virtual events and invested in the latest cutting-edge meeting technology to enable it to live stream events and remote presentations, provide video-on-demand, and host hybrid events (an event with both live and virtual components).

Their first collaborative hybrid event was held in September 2019, for the South African Society for Labour Law’s (SASLAW) association conference which was also live-streamed to a national audience.

Commenting on their experience, Clare Fincham, General Manager of SASLAW, said, “When we hosted our association’s 23rd Annual Conference at the Durban ICC last year, it gave us the opportunity to incorporate the live-streaming element for the first time. This allowed our members who weren’t able to be there in person to experience the event in real-time and not miss out on the excellent content which we had worked hard on arranging.

“Another great feature was that the individual conference sessions were then available for view from the Durban ICC’s website after the event. The members who attended the sessions found them to be very useful and informative and we were delighted to be able to offer this benefit to our members, and also as an extra revenue stream for SASLAW.”

“This solution can provide a financial lifeline to organisations which rely on events to generate revenue.”

Scott Langley, the centre’s Director of Marketing, Sales and Events, says, “We have already had a phenomenal response from clients to our virtual conferencing solution. We are able to assist clients run their events from the comfort and safety of their own homes. We also have a range of online event offerings and pricing models to choose from, depending on the kind of event our clients would normally organise. This solution can provide a financial lifeline to organisations which rely on events to generate revenue.”

Langley adds that virtual events are a viable solution during lockdown and offer advantages such as being able to reach a larger audience than traditional in-person events. Other benefits delegates can enjoy with virtual events include:

  • The convenience of accessing all the content of the live event from the comfort and safety of their homes
  • Watch the speakers via the video feed and view presentations via the picture in picture mode
  • Engage with other attendees remotely, via the real-time chat function or social media channels
  • Directly share the content with others in their organisation
  • Access the event content on-demand
  • Select only the parts of the event programme which are relevant to them
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