Opinion: 5 things to consider if you’re planning an event in Sandton

By Cheryl Norwood-Young, founding and managing member of Where Next Event Management cc

Sandton is a thriving business hub, with many events and conferences taking place throughout the year. The venue offerings range from small to large, formal and fun, and as the home to many corporates, it is a go-to area for that special meeting or event. But, there are some things to consider when deciding to host an event in Sandton.

Traffic, traffic, traffic…

Take rush hour into consideration. A good time to start a meeting or event is between 09h00 and 10h00. This will enable the delegates driving in from the suburbs, Midrand, or Tshwane to make it to the event in time. The Gautrain station is helpfully located and does assist with alleviating congestion.

Also keep in mind that there is, and will continue to be, a great deal of construction in Sandton. This can make navigating around the area difficult when using private transport. Encourage your delegates to use the Gautrain and Uber-type transport, and ensure that the venue you choose has ample parking. Parking in Sandton can be a hard to find. It is always best to send all delegates clear advice on where and how to access parking.

What’s on in terms of the local calendar?

As a meeting and conference planner one always wants to be well-versed with the local events calendar in Sandton. Big venues such as the Sandton Convention Centre can host a couple of thousand delegates at its expos; international and government conferences can quadruple the amount of road and foot traffic to Sandton. Try to plan your meetings and events out of these busy periods.

Spoilt for choice

There are multiple accommodation options in varying price categories ranging from large, five-star hotels to smaller boutique hotels and apartments.  Your budget would largely determine where you accommodate your delegates, but often it is more cost-effective to book 24-hour conference packages at a more expensive hotel than to choose stand-alone accommodation venues that appear to be cheaper.

Always negotiate a good package at the hotel that the conference is actually taking place at. Or, if it is a conference venue that does not offer accommodation, enquire who their accommodation partners are and what sort of discount they can arrange.

Off-site activities and dinner venues

Take into consideration the activities a group might want to partake in. There are some wonderful and varied restaurants in Sandton that specifically cater for groups, ranging from venues such as Pappas on the Square for fabulous tapas and Greek-inspired cuisine, to Hard Rock Cafe for burgers and local bands, and the Grill House for excellent steaks, to name just a few. The Theatre on the Square often has excellent productions on and fabulous jazz evenings if the group is looking for something different.

Most of the conference hotels usually also offer their own bespoke themed evenings as well.

Budgets .... What to consider?

If you are planning a meeting or event with a strict budget, but would still like to offer your delegates the very best, there are some points to consider. During some months of the year, venues have specials on and Sandton hotels are no different. January is usually a slow month for venues, as are the school holiday months - generally April, July, and December too. If you as the planner can arrange your meeting or event in these months, you are generally assured of a special or discounted rate.

Let’s get it right…

There are some great perks to staying in Sandton too…

Sandton is in a good location and is easily accessible whether coming in from the airport or driving in from afar for a conference. It is also easy for international guests to walk around, with all amenities in close proximity.

There is excellent shopping for international guests and superb restaurants, theatre and clubs.

Safety has been substantially improved up as the municipality has put a great emphasis on security. Local police and guards have high presence and visibility in the area. Medical facilities are closeby for any emergencies.

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