It’s good to be back. That was my overarching thought during this past week’s Meetings Africa – the first time in a long time we were able to interact face-to-face as an industry and the start of the trade show season.
We were delighted with the quality of buyers, although I will admit that there weren’t many. I look forward to upcoming shows where we’ll be able to connect more with our industry colleagues both near and far. May 2022’s events season be a productive one for all of us building on the Meetings Africa theme of ‘Shared Minds, Shared Economies’.
On the point of ‘sharing’, some of the lessons learnt during the event were that 2023 is going to be our year for MICE to return in earnest.
My team and I have recently undergone a truly humbling experience at BON Hotels. Having always prided ourselves on not only getting the basics right, but also on setting the bar high, we have been found wanting, and in fact, this time around, have got things very wrong.
There’s something very special about being the ‘small guy’. I mean, though we of course aspire to box in the heavyweight division, at the moment, the featherweight ring is where the exciting stuff is happening!
Being a start-up organisation, we are fairly constrained by slim marketing budgets. This means that we generally steer clear of advertising our brand by traditional and expensive methods. A tough task, however, because as an up-and-coming hospitality company, we want to have our name recognised. We are on the radar of many advertising sales executives, who as we all know, have the tenacity of a pit-bull with lock jaw.
As fledglings in the hospitality industry, my team has travelled the road (or ridden the rollercoaster, I might say!) with me as we have savoured the excitement of new prospects and signing deals as well as endured the disappointment of deals turning sour, falling by the wayside. I have never been one for clichés, but I must to say, in the face of our recent adversity and disappointment over four unsuccessful years in our pursuit of what we were hoping to be our flagship hotel, I can confirm this cliché: when one door closes, another opens.
Networking has not been one of my priorities. I confess it is something I shy away from - I prefer to connect with people one-on-one. While this is perhaps not the right attitude to have being in the hospitality industry, for what it’s worth, I have acknowledged this as a weakness that requires work. To that end, I have made an intentional effort to attend industry events, and once I am in the swing of things, it’s not really that bad and I actually find myself relaxing and connecting – networking!