In the wake of Covid-19 there is a renewed energy to kickstart business and adapt to this ‘new normal’ amidst a waning pandemic. Industries are beginning to venture out, and in-person business is beginning to find its footing again, which means the return of events, conferences and expos. Emperors Palace has long been a staple in the conferencing game and – after two lean years – corporate events are making their comeback in a big way.
Business Events Africa chatted to the sales manager at Emperors Palace (and Peermont), Yugashnee Naicker on the resurgence of conferencing and what to expect this year.
Has conferencing picked up this year?
Yes, we were surprised by the sudden upturn in bookings for the first quarter of this year. Compared to the same time last year we’ve achieved 78 per cent growth, which is a welcome surprise. It’s been a very heartwarming sight to see our conference areas bustling again.
How has conferencing changed since Covid-19?
Well, the key point is still maintaining some of the Covid-19 protocols, as the pandemic is not totally over yet. Delegates still have to wear masks indoors for the duration of their conference. We’re still maintaining social distancing in the venues, which results in decreased seating capacity, which means the need for more intimate settings. We also require the presentation of a vaccine certification or a negative covid test when attending larger conferences, which is still limited to 1,000 delegates in a conference venue. So, as you may see, there are still some challenges, but we’ve evolved.
How has Emperors Palace evolved?
We immediately saw the need for hybrid solutions when it came to conferencing, which means embracing technology and the fact that Zoom and Team gatherings have become part of the way we do business. That’s why we built an inhouse broadcast studio (Studio Iris) to offer clients an alternative solution to meeting in-person, but still maintaining a professional product. With Studio Iris, a client is able to host anything from a talk to an awards ceremony and have it streamed to anywhere in the country, or the world.
We also introduced a state-of-the-art boardroom, which is equipped with all the bells and whistles. Clients who are looking for an upmarket and tech-savvy location for meetings, conference calls or strategy sessions will be thoroughly impressed with Theodora Boardroom. It’s kitted with LCD screens and a fully compatible infrastructure. This is the future of conferencing, no additional cables or devices needed — it’s like driving a Ferrari, simply plug and play. It’s fully tablet-controlled and seats up to 20 delegates.
Do you think that hybrid conferencing is just a fad, or here to stay?
Hybrid conferencing is here to stay, as it gives all delegates an option to attend a meeting or conference if they are not able to attend a physical event. It also saves on travel costs. Why fly up a team from Cape Town when delegates are able to join virtually and be part of the meeting as if they were in the room? It really makes communication more universal and versatile.
What are your current offerings?
Emperors Palace is fully operational again and open 24 hours a day. Our 29 state-of-the-art conference venues still offer the same excellent service backed by all the added extras, including complimentary wi-fi, shuttle transfers from O.R. Tambo International Airport and complimentary parking for conference delegates. Clients also get a dedicated conference coordinator to manage their event, to give it that personal touch.
We have a choice of three-to-five-star hotels to accommodate the conference delegates within the resort. There is also the option of hosting a welcome dinner at our Red Roman Shed or watching the sun set, with sundowners, at our roof-top Olympus Sky Bar.
We also understand that budgets may still be tight and that’s why we have a new, tiered conference package option which allows clients to pick an option to suit their needs and pocket. Our team is always available to assist with a quote and may be contacted on
[email protected] or 011 928 1903.
What are the latest trends in conferencing?
Flexibility. The world has changed so much in the last two years and has shown how quickly we are able to evolve. And, as a result, a venue should be able to accommodate both in-person delegates and virtual delegates. Companies are now actively deploying video and audio-conferencing services for their entire workforce so that they may connect world-wide from venues.
The industry is currently looking for fresh event concepts and meetings with meaning, innovation and insight. Delegates are looking at elements inclusive of behavioural science, wellbeing, and a connection to the world at large. In other words, delegates would like meetings to have a purpose. We understand that and are ready to welcome you back.
Emperors Palace conferencing in a nutshell:
• 29 state-of-the-art venues.
• Able to cater for up to 3,000 delegates.
• Largest venue is Centre Court at 2,698m².
• Assembly Room is divisible into six separate rooms.
• Studio Iris is a fully-fledged broadcast studio capable of streaming anywhere globally.
• Theodora Boardroom is equipped with LCD smartboards and Novoconnect all-in-one display.
• Emperors Palace has three on-site hotels.
• Located nearby to O.R. Tambo International Airport.
For a quote, contact the sales team on [email protected] or 011 928 1903.