FROM THE HORSE’S MOUTH

Conference organiser

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Article written by Rosalie Howard at Venue Pages (www.venuepages.co.za)

THE PCO’s ROLE

Q: What is a PCO? A: A Professional Conference Organiser

Sales and Marketing … there IS a difference and they work well together

I was employed in senior management in a fine hotel for over 10 years and the area I loved most and succeeded well in was the field of Sales and Marketing which in my position included Banqueting and Conference Coordinating, every aspect of sales, promotional golf days, exhibitions, educational site inspections for PCO’s, Travel Agents …. You name it.

From this platform, due to a back injury, I changed direction and the wind blew me into the PCO industry, which until a little while before, I bore a little bit of a grudge towards. Why? Because quite frequently in my position I would find that events I had been toiling on for weeks, liaising with my client on a personal one-to-one basis suddenly became the possession of a leading local PCO ! … When I raised this matter with our Operations Manager, who doubled as our General Manager, he had quite a time persuading me to take a different stance and to look at business from another angle …. This didn’t come easily to me at first because I guarded my successes in sales very closely and to suddenly find that my Operations Manager had given my bookings away to a PCO who was going to be earning 15% commission on these was indeed a bitter pill to swallow! In retrospect, Heaven knows why I reacted thus, as I didn’t earn commission. I was paid a monthly salary! I questioned whether it was jealousy or whether I was merely doing my job in support of my hotel, hanging onto every cent I could… After I ‘got it’, I understood ;though didn’t quite accept yet, that the value of the said PCO and for that matter any PCO was much greater than I had ever given them credit for, for the client in question, a large Blue Chip company had become her ‘client’ and she was their ‘guru’. She actually had it in her power to sway her client anywhere she chose!! That’s quite something right? … She was good, she was successful and she served me, I had to concede.

Conference organiser

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Now …. I am a PCO and have enjoyed fair success over 15 years … and I can now genuinely understand or have removed the blocks around this subject for I am on the other side now and ‘get’ just how valuable my Operations Manager’s words were at that time!

The Market Place …
Every PCO has a list, miles long of clients, either current or past and they are movers and shakers in finding future clients – they never rest … they are sales people, people! Believe it, they are! They are also marketing minded people, or they wouldn’t be in this industry. A reputable PCO will not market or sell a venue he or she does not believe will suit their client. It isn’t anyway in his or her interest to do so. We (I generalise) only promote venues we have tried and tested, who have good reputations or have been highly recommended to us and who meet expected standards. We build relationships with our clients, who come back again and again if they have received good service. We are a one-stop shop for them, their personal nanny if you like, because we relieve them of a lot of donkey work. A perfect solution for the PA or Secretary who works for 8 bosses, all of whom think his or her work is top priority. In return for their loyalty and support, we continue to offer them superb service, and I am sure I speak for most of us. It’s not an industry where one can make an easy or quick buck, take it from the horse’s mouth!! “We work hard for our money!”

Venue Support – Win-Win or Win-Lose?.
Just as the PCO’s serves their clients, they serve the venue as well. How?, you might ask – because, to ensure the success of the event, to ensure the satisfaction of our clients, we fully coordinate every detail from enquiry stage, to departure from the venue, making sure that every t is crossed, that every i is dotted. The task of gathering facts, itineraries, rooming lists, conference materials and papers, money, ordering gifts and conference bags, making name badges, transport, exhibitions, entertainment, décor, buying and installing the latest on-line registration programmes for our computers for efficient and professional management of the event … the tasks are endless, can be tedious and can take a year or longer to conclude, depending on the size and content of the event. Banqueting Coordinators in hotels and conference centres do not have time or experience in attending to all the requirements that are called for. That is not their job. They are experts at carrying out instructions from the client, they are highly qualified to make the event happen, either via the PCO or direct, depending on whether a PCO is involved or not. The hotel management can only do what they are asked to do. This begs a question … why is it that there are still many venues out there who do not appreciate what the PCO does, who believe that the PCO is overpaid and frequently try to beat them down in commission and it does happen! Seriously it happens! Any PCO will vouch for that or we are made to feel that they, the venue are doing us a favour by offering some sort of reward other than hard cash!

One day, we hope in the not too distant future, all hotels and conference centres will appreciate the value of a PCO to them from marketing and selling their specific venue to their client, to carrying out the numerous duties expected of them by the client AND the venue and that they will gladly pay what is essentially a pittance comparatively speaking if we take the entire event into consideration. Why is there often so much reluctance to acknowledge a PCO’s worth? My old Ops Manager, being a marketing minded man could see their value a long time ago and he changed my impressions and my stuck ideas of what a PCO truly represents!

For a free no obligation on a conference venue in South Africa please contact us on 082 055 0102 or complete the form below.

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Conference venues in Pretoria

Conference venues in Pretoria

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A little History on conference venues in Pretoria and Pretoria as a city

PRETORIA was founded in 1855, by Marthinus Pretorius, a Voortrekker leader. He named what is now, a bustling metropolis after his father, Andries, who was instrumental in the Voortrekker victory over the Zulus in the monumental Battle of Blood River.

Today the area has been renamed the City of Tshwane, but the CBD still keeps the name of Pretoria (which continues to be the administrative capital of South Africa)
The Union Buildings, central to South African history now represent the change South Africa endured. While the city is a governmentally significant city, it is also alive with culture, housing museums, monuments, theatres, hotels and conference centres as well as being the hub of industry in the region.
Affectionately known as “Jacaranda City” because of the over 50 000 Jacaranda trees that line Pretoria’s streets and carpet the city in purple in October. The first Jacaranda trees were imported from Rio de Janeiro in 1888 and became Pretoria’s signature. It is alarming to hear that the Jacarandas are threatening to become extinct in Pretoria soon. One can’t imagine Pretoria without the purple sky-line and floor …

The general area is also home to many nature reserves, parks and gardens, including the National Botanical Gardens and many small parks scattered across this pretty city.

The rich history of the area is also captured within several museums within Pretoria, such as the Transvaal Museum, National Cultural History Museum and many solid, old buildings that have been preserved as gems of the past

As with many of South Africa’s conference venues, those in Pretoria are of a high standard, with custom-built venues designed to international specifications. Pretoria, being centrally located as it is, is very popular as a conference, seminar and congress destination.

Central to the Midrand, Irene and further afield, one need look no further than the multitude of conference venues available from small intimate venues to the large, top-class hotels and conference centres in and around Pretoria.
Some venues, perhaps un-tried and certainly worth considering are:

The Owl’s Nest Wedding & Conference Centre (Rayton Conference Venues)

Set in the natural bush of the area, in the rolling hills of the Maghaliesberg, with a serene country ambience, The Owl’s Nest Wedding and Conference Centre provides professionalism plus a home-from-home atmosphere for delegates in conference.

Diep in die Berg Conference and Function Centre (Wapadrand Conference Venues)

The renowned Diep in die Berg Conference Centre is the ideal facility for the out-of-the-office conference, training or Bosberaad. Their all-purpose conference centre offers 7 conference rooms which can accommodate up to a maximum of 450 delegates.

PROTEA HOTELS offer a variety of venues throughout the area including Pretoria, and Midrand, all of which have a standard to uphold and are therefore reliable, consistently good with excellent service.

At Irene there is IRENE COUNTRY LODGE and LERIBA LODGE AND SPA at Centurion. The latter has, in recent times been thoroughly refurbished to a fine standard.

For all your conference requirements, visit our site on http://www.venuepages.co.za and send us your enquiries for conferences, seminars, meetings and related accommodation.

Article complied by Rosalie Howard

Conference venues Durban – Fairmont Zimbali Resort and Conference Centre – Ballito KZN North Coast

Conference venues Durban

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Conference venues Durban – Fairmont Zimbali Resort and Conference Centre – Ballito KZN North Coast

To adopt the fashionable cliché, “Think Outside The Box” …when thinking about hosting a conference in Durban, Think Outside The Box … Think Ballito.

FAIRMONT ZIMBALI RESORT & CONFERENCE CENTRE, BALLITO KZN NORTH COAST

Stunning Location

On the magnificent Dolphin Coast, overlooking the Indian Ocean is the superb and luxurious ZIMBALI RESORT only minutes from the CBD of Ballito, the popular, modern, rapidly growing, village of yester-year, well-known to all who have travelled this coastline. Only half an hour’s drive from Durban and with everything on-tap. Wrapped in the exquisite natural beauty of this are is this premier destination, a tranquil retreat offering style, class and unrivalled service.

Conference venues Durban

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Conferences, seminars, meetings

Zimbali Lodge specializes in personalized conference arrangements for small to large groups. This Conference Centre is practically appointed, purposefully designed and ideally situated for superb views of the Zimbali Estate and Country Club Golf Course. The 280 square metre ballroom can accommodate, in banqueting style seating, up to 300 guests. This venue may be used for multiple functions, requiring space … unlimited in what it offers. In addition “Zimbali” also offers a state-of-the-art business centre, complete with workstations.

Other Conference Venues at Zimbali

Imbiso Room

The imposing Imbiso Room, overlooking the golf course and the Nature reserve, is the focal point of the conference facilities. It can accommodate up to 80 delegates in cinema-style seating, 40 delegates in u-shape, 35 in boardroom style or 60 in a schoolroom configuration.

Conference venues Durban

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Tugela Room

An executive boardroom with an ocean view. The oval mahogany boardroom table dominates the room and this is the perfect venue for management meetings or Bosberaad and can accommodate 10 people.

Umgeni Room

The Umgeni Room is also a small, intimate venue in the main conference centre and can accommodate a maximum of 25 delegates in cinema style seating, 15 delegates in u-shape, 12 boardroom style or 15 in school-room configuration.

Catering for Conferences at Zimbali

The Lodge has capitalized on the glorious KwaZulu Natal climate to offer outdoor catering to conference groups on the Ngwenya Terrace, which is easily accessible from all the conference rooms. Guests may also opt for a formal dining experience in the Restaurant or hold a private gala event at the Country Club which caters for 76 inside the restaurant for dinner and if the venue is extended out onto the verandah 96 or 120 Guests at a cocktail event or launch. 9 food and beverage experiences, and an Internationally acclaimed Willow Stream Spa and fitness centre are also available at the resort.

Conference Equipment

A wide range of audio-visual aids and state-of-the-art equipment is available to conference delegates in the three conference rooms: Zimbali, operating to International standards is the ideal venue for global events, away from the noise and stress of the city, conveniently close to King Shaka International Airport and where delegates are guaranteed peace, security and result achieving conference days and some time for fun in the sun, soaking in the blue of the ocean on this coastline, watching dolphins leap in play.

Accommodation Rooms

These comprise 154 tastefully appointed guest rooms and suites, including a Penthouse and Presidential suites… this is sheer luxury. Local entertainment includes: • Safari outings • Dolphin- and whale-watching tours • Hiking and mountain biking • Historic Zulu battlefields • Exhilarating golf, including the Zimbali Country Club’s Tom Weiskopf–designed 18-hole championship course • Soccer, rugby, cricket and polo Shuttle service may be arranged with the hotel to and from the airport, and being located in this ideal area, this is the perfect venue for up-country delegates, international delegates and for Durbanites. Zimbali also offers unobtrusive yet excellent security.

Brought to you in the interest of efficient and professional event management by VENUE PAGES (www.venuepages.co.za). Contact us for rates and availability on 082 055 0102 / 0861 262 262 or e-mail rosalie@venuepages.co.za, or complete the contact us form below

(Composed by Rosalie Howard, Venue Pages)

Conference venues Cape Town, Western Cape, Ons Genot Country Lodge

Conference venue Cape Town

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The VENUE PAGES is happy to promote the ONS GENOT COUNTRY LODGE to our discerning readers who are looking for that quiet, peaceful, intimate country retreat in the most sought after area along the Bottelary Wine route of Stellenbosch in the Western Cape.

ABOUT THE VENUE

Ons Genot Country Lodge is a luxury country retreat situated on the famous Bottelary Wine route of Stellenbosch, between Hartenberg Wine Estate and Devon Vale Golf Estate.

From this central location, guests may explore the Cape, play golf and enjoy the unique wines of the region.

Rooms:
9 en-suite rooms, all with bath and shower are equipped with a mini bar, TV, safe, telephone, hair dryer, Aircon, a private terrace and all rooms are accessorised in the standard of International Guest Houses.

Rooms are varied and sub-divided into 4 categories:

  • 2 standard, comfortable, budget rooms, with ceiling fan, bath room with bath and shower and a terrace.
  • 5 Comfort rooms, fitted with Air-Con, bathroom with bath and shower, private terrace and access to the swimming pool or garden.
  • 1 Luxury suite, which is very spacious with air-con, bathroom with bath and shower, private terrace with garden
  • 1 honeymoon suite, which is a duplex offering a spacious, luxury bedroom with air-con and a Canopy bed while downstairs offers a cosy lounge and bathroom with Jacuzzi bath and shower. This suite also has a private terrace and is situated alongside the swimming pool.
Conference venue Cape Town

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On-site Facilities

  • Swimming in a pristine, clear pool
  • Tennis
  • Golf at the neighbouring Golf Course
  • Scenic walks through a magnificent garden or through the neighbouring vineyards
  • Hike to the top of the Bottelary Hills and enjoy stunning views over the Stellenbosch area.
  • The Ons Genot restaurant offers a la carte traditional cuisine.
  • Conference/ business facilities able to accommodate up to 20 delegates in conference in a fully equipped conference venue.
  • A WiFi hotspot and ADSL internet-connected PC is permanently available to all guests, at no extra charge.
  • The owners of Ons Genot speak German, French, English, Dutch and Afrikaans and are therefore a home-from-home to European and local visitors alike

Local Attractions

  • Visit the famous wine estates next door.
  • Visit Stellenbosch Town with a myriad antique and gift shops, restaurants and sidewalk cafes, art galleries and museums.
  • Play golf on the several international golf courses nearby.
Conference venue Cape Town

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Services

  • Ons Genot will arrange car rental at the best prices.
  • Airport or city shuttles
  • Laundry or Dry-cleaning

Distances

  • Historic Stellenbosch centre (10 min)
  • Vineyards (next door)
  • Golf Courses (1 next door, 15 10-45 min)
  • Beach (30-60 min)
  • Cape Town International Airport (30 min)
  • Franschhoek (25 min)
  • Whale watching in Hermanus (1 hour)
  • Cape Town Waterfront (30 min)
  • Cape Of Good Hope (1 hour)
  • Nature reserve, hiking and mountain biking (next door)

This article on Ons Genot Country Lodge is brought to you in the interests of hospitality at its best and to further promote some of the finest venues in South Africa.

http://www.venuepages.co.za
http://blog.venuepages.co.za

Win with Avianto Conference Centre in Muldersdrift, Gauteng

Conference venue Muldersdrift Gauteng

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The VENUE PAGES is happy to announce a new competition, this time, sponsored by the magical AVIANTO VILLAGE AND HOTEL in the Muldersdrift region of Gauteng!

It’s easy to win. Read this informative article on this magnificent venue, answer the simple question below, submit this to us by leaving your answer in the comments section and voila! you could be the winner ! We will draw one lucky winner on 30 August, 2013.  Remember to hit the like or tweet button too.  If you want to get notified of new competitions in future click on follow this blog on the top right.

BACKGROUND

Avianto is a well established, highly regarded events destination that has become one of Johannesburg’s most popular conference venues and wedding venues, offering luxury accommodation in a peaceful, country setting near Muldersdrift.

Guests are ensured of 5-star treatment at this up-market venue with exceptional standards in all areas.

Conference venue Muldersdrift Gauteng

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The grounds are ideal for team building if this forms part of your agenda.

LOCATION
Situated on the banks of the Crocodile River and surrounded by the Zwarkoppies hills and The Cradle of Humankind nestles this awesome, European-inspired village, set in a relaxed environment; a home-from-home and the perfect conference destination.

Conference venues within this beautiful Village include several variations of venues many of which can be sized according to your needs. The maximum seating capacity in the largest venue is approximately 200.

Conference venue Muldersdrift Gauteng

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Avianto’s professional and experienced events management team will create the perfect ambience for your next event with efficient yet unobtrusive service, attention to detail being of the utmost importance.

Accommodation rooms in the hotel in the Avianto village are set slightly apart from the main function venues comprising 34 rooms, which include 29 luxury rooms and 5 suites, beautifully and individually appointed and have been designed to connect people for the duration of their stay – not separate them into numbered boxes filled with their escape mechanism of choice.

The village by design makes each guest individual, living in a personal space with its own character and yet intrinsically part of a community, a team. This is a subtle but important message to attract conferences for, after all, team bonding is an essential ingredient to any conference or seminar.

Conference venue Muldersdrift Gauteng

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UNIQUE TEAM BUILDING ….. In addition to Avianto’s large repertoire of team building activities, is AVIANTO’S “READY, STEADY, COOK” AND “POTJIE COOK-OFF” (aka Master Chef Avianto), a new and unique addition to their team building activities. This has taken off like wild-fire and ensures the desired result of team-work, support, fun and the spirit of oneness.

This is an experience facilitated by the Executive Chef and his talented and competent team. While creativity is a great part of this event, your team will also have the opportunity to relax, unwind and use their ingenuity both in cooking their own meals and producing a “Ready, Steady, Cook” feast! All the while learning to communicate and bond as a team.

Several different scenarios are on offer. The most popular being the “Mystery Meal Cook-Off” where each team is supplied with a mystery packet of ingredients. Teams are given a few minutes to exchange ingredients with one another and then they have to create a mystery meal using the ingredients supplied. The real test comes in the actual preparing of the various dishes, as well as how the plates for each course are garnished and presented. Teams are judged on taste and presentation of the meal, and their teamwork.
Avianto’s newly built Boma area, hosts a “Potjie Dinner” teambuilding event also facilitated by their creative Chef. This activity is an excellent combination of teambuilding and the preparation of a meal. Potjie pots, fires and ingredients are provided and teams are given the task of cooking a potjie to the judges’ liking. To make it more fun, why not add a “Cocktail Challenge” to the mix? Teams will have to invent a new cocktail which includes mixing and naming the drink. Judging is based on taste, presentation, originality and teamwork.

Competition Corner:

This month, The Venue Pages Blog is running a competition for all readers to enter and the prize for the lucky winner, whose name will be drawn on 30 August is a one night stay for two adults, on a bed and breakfast basis at this haven in the country, plus a lovingly prepared picnic basket for lunch on the Saturday. Don’t miss this opportunity; follow our Blog until the draw takes place. Simply answer the question below, leave your answer in the comments section and hit the like or tweet button if you like this post and Voila! you could be the winner ! Good Luck !

HOW MANY LUXURY ROOMS DOES AVIANTO VILLAGE OFFER?

Brought to you in the interest of professional hospitality by VENUE PAGES (www.venuepages.co.za)