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Wed 10 Dec 2008 04:00 AM

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Get your slice of the pie

Ensure you aren't living off crumbs in 2009 by playing to your strengths.

I'm struggling to think of a destination or company that hasn't told me they are looking to attract more meetings industry business as a way of boosting their depleting coffers.

Meetings business is seen by many as the lifeboat that can save them from the stormy waters of the deepening economic crisis.

And, as we all know, they are right to think this.

Meetings business is big business and those that can tap it have little reason to worry about a lean and mean 2009.

But there is a big difference between saying you want the business and actually securing it.

After all, there is only so much pie to go around and even the optimists will agree ‘Pie 2009' will be a smaller serving than in previous years.

So how do you ensure your big fat slice? Play to your strengths and establish what makes you unique.

Rather than reeling out standard lines about audiovisual equipment and gala seating options, hit planners with something interesting and bold and, importantly, something different and innovative to what your competitors offer.

Think outside of the box in terms of what can be offered as added value content that doesn't have to cost you the earth.

And for the corporate planners among you, it is time to start demanding the service and the extras you require.

It's a buyer's market out there so demand the best and don't let a credit crunch get in your way.

Meetings, conferences, events and incentives don't need to be expensive, they need to be creative, cleverly thought through and professionally executed.

So let's look forward to 2009 and the possibilities it presents for the Middle East's meetings industry.

Gemma Greenwood is the senior group editor of ITP Business' travel & hospitality magazines.

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