Founder Profile – Patrick de Bree

What inspired you to start Hospitality Affairs?

I started Hospitality Affairs in 2003 to support the Arts by bringing corporate clients to the Theatre with tailor made Hospitality Packages.
Having done this for approximately three years in the Netherlands with great success, I realised that there was also a niche market here in South Africa, for corporates to entertain their clients around world class theatrical shows such as the musicals Chicago and Mamma Mia as well as dinner shows like Madame Zingara. We were the first specialist company to do so in SA. 

Why are the Arts an integral part of the business?

Sporting events are very popular in SA and many companies were already focussing on this sector. With our passion for the Theatre and the Arts we had an advantage which allowed us create a unique company. The Arts move and touch people. I developed a business model around my passion.
We soon expanded and in addition to theatrical events, we started hosting events at museums like the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg and the Gold Museum in Cape Town. We’ve hosted various dinners at Galleries etc. and always add artists such as musicians or perhaps tarot card readers to the event, in order to add a real WOW factor to make it memorable. 

You have been to so many incredible and exotic destination during the last 18 months, why so much travel?

 Hospitality Affairs besides arranging and managing events for major companies and organisations, has a partnership with a global and dynamic company called The Xmas Designers- (TXD), which specialises in bespoke and custom-made Christmas decorations for 5-star hotels, shopping centres, casino resorts and public spaces. The company operates in 5 continents and Hospitality Affairs is the partner responsible for its business in Southern Africa. In addition, I also act as TXD Business Development manager for New Markets including UAE, USA etc, hence this extensive travel. However, the core of my business is still events and I am still passionate about it and am much actively involved in the events side business.

What are the lessons learnt in the last 16 years?

The most important lesson learnt is to stay focussed on the needs of our clients. Cape Town and Johannesburg are very different cities with different needs in events though they often overlap. One is the tourist capital while the other is the business hub of Africa. Be flexible in your offerings and make sure you understand the needs of your clients including their budget limitations.

Networking has always been very important and to quote an old adage “ It’s not what you know but who you know!” To which one should add “ a satisfied client is your best advert.”

Any future plans to grow the business?

By default or stroke of luck, we have been handling a lot of foreign companies wanting exclusive experiences that we have meticulously packaged over a period of time. We are now focusing on formalising on incentive travel component. We recently participated at IMEX America and will also be attending IBTM through the support of SA Tourism and the National Department of Tourism. Exciting plans lie ahead to curate unique and authentic experiences for corporates visiting South Africa. With Itumeleng – my partner ‘s extensive track record and experience in the travel and wine industries coupled with my experience in the eventing world and anticipated growth in the MICE sector, we are poised for success.

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