The report examines conferences management issues concerning a number of different stakeholders—customers, consumers, suppliers, intermediaries, and suitable venues. The aim is to organize training sessions on the management and implementation of a new booking system for the hospitality and tourism industry for a group of information technology managers. They are members of the Association of Tourism coming from China and Hong Kong. The event is characterized by the increased customers’ demand due to the fast growing e-business, IT awareness, and market demand in China’s tourism industry that emphasizes its importance for business tourism (Xiaoqiu Ma n.d.; Lo 2012). Thus, the event is identified as an open training course that offers a program to participants who expect benefits from it (Swarbrooke & Horner 2001). It is recommended to organize the event in non-peak seasons and focus on location, price, supplying all required hardware and software, consultants’ services, and catering.
The Characteristics of the Buyer
The buyer or the training course organizer and planner who organizes venues and related services in order to stage the event is the Association of Tourism, which provides services for organizations and companies involved in the hospitality and tourism industry (Rogers 2008). It is a regional professional association whose members are distributed as follows: China—70% and Hong Kong—30%. Among the members, 70% are men. The association, which is a not-for-profit organization, provides services through a limited range of events. However, the current training course must cover its cost; it is planned to generate a profit that can be re-invested in administrative and promotional costs of future events (Rogers 2008). The goals of the buyer are “to promote links between professional bodies in tourism, leisure and associated subjects and to liaise on educational issues, curriculum development and professional recognition of courses” (ATLAS n.d.). It is argued that delegates attracted by the buyer are likely to be funded to varying degrees by their organizations. Typically, a range of booking options and prices are offered to suit the funding abilities of every member of the association. It features the rotation in selecting destinations, which are chosen by the special committee, and a lengthy decision-making process (Rogers 2008).
The Characteristics of the Delegates
It is assumed that the event will be attended by 60 consumers who are members of the Association of Tourism. These people work as IT managers for different organizations and companies in the hospitality and tourism industry. According to the UK Conference Market Survey 2006, it is expected that about 60% of the delegates are males (Rogers 2008). Around 50% of the delegates will bring a partner, and 75% of these partners might be women (Swarbrooke & Horner 2001). Due to the tendency that the average age of management personnel in China has become lower, it is expected that the delegates will be young specialists whose average age is about 25 – 30 years, which defines their preferences for venues and accommodation (Ding, Lan & Warner 2000). The delegates charge fee to cover costs. They may be required to pay their own expenses to attend, which increases the price sensitiveness. It highlights the necessity for organizers to keep the costs as low as possible. Besides, the delegates choose to go to the event that enhances the priority of the location and accommodation preferences that may be ranged from 3-star hotels and upwards. They do not mind gathering in non-peak time—not in the summer or school and public holidays. It allows keeping the costs down (Abacus International 2006; Swarbrooke & Horner 2001).
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The Additional Suppliers
Organizing the event requires to recruit the services of different supplier organizations in order to offer a complete service to its buyers. These suppliers include specialist tutors and instructors for the training course, suppliers of the hardware and software required for effective training, Internet developers, audio-visual contractors, telecommunications companies that provide videoconferencing/teleconferencing and satellite conferencing, transport operators, interpreters and translators, after-dinner speakers, entertainers, and outdoor activities specialists, special caterers for banquets, receptions, and buffets, floral contractors for the decoration of session platforms and registration areas, exhibition/exposition contractors, firework supplier, and so on. (Rogers 2008; Swarbrooke & Horner 2001).
The Most Appropriate Intermediary
Intermediaries that work in the given case with and between event organizers and their clients in order to stage the event include:
· Incentive travel houses. Their appropriateness is defined by their ability to use exceptional travel experience as the best motivator for increasing the level of the delegates’ performance in support of the organizational goals (Roger 2008). Besides, incentive travel programs are effective in providing an educational element for the participants;
· Destination management companies because they “possess extensive local knowledge, expertise and resources, specializing in the design and implementation of events, activities, tours, transportation and program logistics” (SDMA n.d.);
· Training consultants that are required to cover specific educational aspects of the event (Swarbrooke & Horner 2001).
A Suitable Venue for the Event
It is argued that the most suitable venues for consumers are city center 3-star and upwards hotels located adjacent to the communication infrastructure that can offer cheaper price for a weekend than for weekdays booking during the non-peak season (Rogers 2008). This selection is based on consumers’ preferences and provides benefits of the delegates’ accommodation. The priority of the criteria for the venue selection is location, price value, access, and quality of service. It is recommended to focus on food service taking into account ethnic preferences and staff issues (Rogers 2008). Venues should have enough space for 60 people to attend and different rooms with flexible seating or movable walls or curtains to make space for group activities that enable to gain hands-on experience of the new booking system (Swarbrooke & Horner 2001).
Organizing a training course for IT managers and members of the professional association representing the Chinese tourism industry is in high demand. It is recommended to arrange the event in non-peak seasons with the priority of location and price, focusing on supplying specific hardware and software, consultants’ service, and catering.
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