Key success factors in managing a conference centre in South Africa
Kruger, Susanna Elizabeth
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The primary goal of this study was to identify key success factors for the management of a conference centre in South Africa. This goal was achieved by firstly portraying an overview of the conference industry in South Africa. Secondly, a literature study was conducted in order to determine the aspects in the literature that are regarded as of vital importance in managing a conference centre. Thirdly, the results of the empirical research were discussed. Lastly, conclusions were drawn from the research and recommendations were made with regard to further research. From the literature study, aspects of strategic management, financial management, marketing management, human resource management and management of operational aspects were identified as being important in the management of a conference centre. These aspects were used to compile a questionnaire. The objective of the questionnaire was to measure the importance that conference centre managers attach to the identified elements. Questionnaires were e-mailed to 250 conference centres. A total of 100 questionnaires were received back. The study population consisted of a database as compiled by the researcher from the Direct Access Conference Handbook (2004) and the Africa Conference Directory (2006/7). Questionnaires were also handed out personally to exhibitors at the INDABA Tourism Exhibition (2006). From the responses to the questionnaire it can be deduced that conference centre managers regard the aspects of strategic management, financial management, marketing management, human resource management and management of operational details as important to very important. A factor analysis was done to determine the key success factors in managing a conference centre. The following factors were identified, namely to: • Provide a conference centre with a functional layout and the correct variety of activities; • perform marketing management; • ensure that operational aspects are in place; • do proper planning; • provide an attractive venue and conduct a post-conference evaluation; and • perform human resource management. Conference centre managers have to apply the above-mentioned key success factors to ensure that the conference centre is successful over the longterm.
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