Don't let loadshedding pull the plug on your conference

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The venue is a key aspect of any conference. Make sure your venue has a back-up plan when loadshedding strikes.
The venue is a key aspect of any conference. Make sure your venue has a back-up plan when loadshedding strikes.

Loadshedding is a thorn in the side of many a South African. It can be a huge hindrance, especially when hosting a conference or function.

However, in the planning stages there are certain measures you can put in place to ensure your conference goes without a hitch. 

Edmund Beukes, owner of XL Events, says you should start by choosing a venue equipped with generators.

“Many of the larger conference centers all have generators by now that switch over automatically. The other option, of course, is to have your own generator on standby or to have your conference run on a generator from the get-go. It is important to know what equipment should be powered by the generator – like the kitchen (ovens use a lot of electricity), LED screens and sound equipment. For large groups we usually use two generators.”

“I’ve even organised conferences in the countryside where we opted to prepare lunch on the braai.”

Beukes reckons with the correct planning, loadshedding shouldn’t catch you off guard. “In other words, always have a generator or other options at the ready. Of course, this decision rests with the client who will have to cough up between R12 000 and R30 000 just in case.”

He says there are many clever plans to be made, but you’ll have to delve deep into you pockets and pay!

 

A successful conference

Elouise Cloete, owner and managing director of Shift Ideas, says a solid conference plan is detailed, but also highly organised and easy to follow.

“It includes clear goals, milestones and timelines for achieving them. It covers everything you need to do before, during and after the conference.

“Most importantly, creating a conference plan is not a one-and-done activity — it’s a collaborative effort that needs to be regularly reviewed and updated as necessary.”

Before you start planning your conference, Cloete says there are a few essential decisions you need to make and tasks you need to complete:

  • Understand your client’s objectives thoroughly.
  • Come up with a workable theme and format.
  • Carefully think about the format of your conference. Will it be in-person, virtual or hybrid?
  • Identify and select a suitable venue.
  • Set up a budget.
  • Assemble a project planning team.
  • Develop your project plan, identify milestones and assign tasks to certain team players.
  • Select your suppliers and put in place service level agreements with key stakeholders.
  • Put together a risk assessment analysis and plan.
  • Communicate throughout the process. This includes communication with your client, your team and all suppliers.

According to Cloete a well-designed conference room creates a solid first impression.

“It should convey the brand, strength and confidence of the venue. A well-designed conference room should be soundproof and includes tools such as a screen, projector, built in PA system, an all-in-one video conferencing solution, whiteboards for impromptu writing, drawing, stationary and more.

“A room with adequate natural light, the furniture and sizing of the furniture used in the space, is key to a perfect conference room. It allows for comfort and eases conference fatigue.”

Cloete concludes that the success of an event not only lies in the team who runs it, but where the team runs it. “A venue can make or break any event.” 

This story was sponsored by Kievits Kroon, Lagoon Beach Hotel, Nederburg, Ruslamere and Vredenburg Manor.


SPONSORED

Kievits Kroon

KK

Kievits Kroon is a luxury country hotel with conference rooms and a wellness spa. They offer state-of-the-art conference facilities that are fully equipped with audio visual equipment, delicious cuisine and professional support personnel who will ensure that your corporate event is a resounding success.

With 22 indoor venues and multiple outdoor spaces, they can host large conferences, awards events, meetings, training or strategy sessions. They are recognised as one of the top conferencing destination venues in Gauteng and was nominated one of Africa's leading meeting and conference hotels by the internationally recognised World Travel Awards.

Various day/stay packages are available. For enquiries email yvette@kievitskroon.co.za or reservations@kievitskroon.co.za. For more information visit www.kievitskroon.co.za. Use the promotion code M242022 to qualify for discounted rates.

Lagoon Beach Hotel

LB

The Lagoon Beach Hotel located in Milnerton, offers business clients and holidaymakers 229 stylishly equipped rooms as well as 53 two-bedroom apartments. Breathtaking views of Table Mountain, the city and the Atlantic Ocean, combined with direct beach access, make cocktails and meals popular at the hotel. The Brasserie Restaurant offers breakfast, lunch and dinner and the menu is based on proudly South African dishes. With 16 conference and reception venues and dedicated staff, the hotel offers various entertainment options. There is also a Thai restaurant on site and the Camelot Spa offers further refreshment for body and soul.

For bookings email sales@lagoonbeachhotel.co.za.

Nederburg

N

Take in magnificent views of lush gardens, verdant vineyards and the majestic Drakenstein mountains, when you host your next conference or meeting at Nederburg in Paarl. Outstanding hospitality and flavour-packed food (and wine) come part and parcel with the well-equipped venue that features a flexible spatial configuration to suit a variety of needs and group sizes. You can choose from a variety of refreshments according to your taste, with meals and drinks served in the conference areas, outdoors (weather permitting) or in the historic manor house.

Go to www.nederburg.com for more information.   

Ruslamere

R

Celebrated for its facilities, atmosphere and service, Ruslamere offers luxury hotel accommodation and four conference venues in the heart of Durbanville. Set in a tranquil environment for both business conference and leisure guests, the venues can accommodate anything from 5 to 60 people at a time. Ruslamere has break-away capabilities, ample free parking and a restaurant. The bar serves Shaggy Stone craft beer under the tent in the garden, should you wish to connect when the day is done.

For more information visit www.ruslamere.co.za.

Vredenburg Manor

VM

Vredenburg Manor, situated at the foot of the Helderberg between Somerset West and Stellenbosch, offers a variety of conference packages as well as meeting room options. They offer uncapped 500 MB internet as well as smart interactive TV and projecting equipment. There is a choice of two airconditioned conference rooms and three break-away rooms.

All catering is done in-house. Vredenburg Manor also offers four-star accommodation for 14 delegates. The lush gardens and boma is perfect for team building.

Contact them today at 021 842 3264 or 061 725 9120 or email events@vredenburgmanor.co.za. Visit www.vredenburgmanor.com/conferencing/ for more information.

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