Gearing for business success: The Second Business of Wine & Food Tourism Conference
With the news that the second Business of Wine & Food Tourism conference is to be held on 20 September at Spier Farm, Su Birch sat down with Margi Biggs to find out more.
Su: Why did you start this conference?
Margi: Tourism is a major driver for economic and employment growth in South Africa, specifically the Western Cape – we all recognize that. The Western Cape has a fabulous wine and food offering. But to grow tourism sustainably means we have to offer world class products, marketing and service. I felt we needed a business oriented conference where the industry could get together annually to share ideas on best practice around all the aspects of tourism. I want every delegate to go back to their businesses inspired, and armed with ideas that they can actually use.
Su: Is this an industry conference?
Margi: This conference is totally independent, and non-aligned. We are, of course, talking to all the tourism authorities, and asking for their support.
Su: How successful was last year’s conference?
Margi: We had 220 delegates and the feedback was very positive.
Su: What are your objectives for this year’s conference
Margi: The theme for this year is “aiming for excellence”. We want to offer delegates real value in the form of knowledge, skills and best practice guidelines to apply in their own businesses.
Su: Whom are you targeting?
Margi: At our first conference, most of the delegates came from the wine industry. This year we hope to have many of them back, as well as more delegates from the wider hospitality industry. We are also marketing the conference internationally and anticipate more overseas delegates. We are putting together 2- and 3-day technical tours for overseas visitors who want to study our successful wine tourism offerings.
Su: What will be on the programme? Have you secured any speakers?
Margi: We are covering a wide range of topics including building brand loyalty, improving the customer experience, training for success, sustainability, digital marketing, virtual reality and PR in times of crisis. We will have four overseas speakers. We have already secured two of them, both experts in their respective fields, and are in the process of negotiating with two others we have in mind.
Su: When will booking open?
Margi: We anticipate by the 10th of April. Those who are interested can register on the website, www.wineandfood.co.za.
Su: And how much will it cost?
Margi: Early bird registration will cost R2 950 excl. VAT and will be open until 12 June. After that the cost is R4 000 excl VAT. Late Registration after 19 August will cost R4 500.