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.
The biggest trend would be personalisation - social media and the mobile generation has resulted in a new type of traveller and these new travellers are growing exponentially, not only throughout the world, but particularly here in South Africa. Regardless of star grading of the hotel, guests are coming to expect a certain increasing degree of personalisation from hotels, and this expectation is going to increase over time: from the time they book their accommodation directly, via mobile phones, tablets or social media platforms, until the time they depart.
It’s been a week of GOOD news, but our most significant experiences in the last few days have stemmed out of Nigeria.
Having spent a few days on a fact finding mission whilst we tie up our joint venture agreement, the prospects for BON hotels in one of the largest countries in Africa are most exciting. Although many opportunities have already been snapped up by the major hotel management companies in Lagos, our focus will be on properties in the capital, Abuja and Kano.
Returning to Cape Town from a business trip, it became apparent to me whilst observing Chinese travellers and their confusion at signs and seat numbers, inevitably sitting in the wrong place, that we as a country and as hoteliers, as far as our approach is concerned have not managed to maximize our engagement with the Asian inbound market (and other foreign markets).