Maastricht Convention Bureau

In the spotlight

In the spotlight: Danny Keppels

Each month, we aim our spotlight at one of our regional partners. What are the developments within their company? What are the challenges? In short: you will not only get to know the person better, but also the company where he or she works. This month’s In the spotlight guest is Danny Keppels, Director of the Estate Management Group.

 

1.Why did you choose the position you have now?

 

Since my childhood, it has been my goal to become an entrepreneur. The only question was when I would have the opportunity to become one. Through experiences with various employers in different fields and challenging functions I finally gained a lot of expertise in the event and hospitality business.

At a certain point, it was clear that I would become an entrepreneur in this wonderful industry.

Every day is different and one of the things I love the most, is to be busy with creative developments.

 

  1. What are the most recent developments within your company? (HR/renovation plans etc.)

 

We are always busy with creating partnerships, with unique partners in our area of expertise. For example, we have recently signed a partnership with Hutten Catering. Hutten is a fast-growing company within the region and we as EMG and The Event Architect think it is very nice to see that we are a part of this development. We have already picked up some projects together and recently we have started our promotion at the Brightland Campus.

Another example is our partnership with Holland Casino in Valkenburg, this is starting to look amazing. At this moment there is still a room that is being renovated and as soon as this opens in 2018, we expect that we can create a lot of events here.

 

  1. Which challenges are you facing?

 

As an entrepreneur, you face challenges every day. A big challenge in the future will be the recruitment of good staff. This already becomes visible in our flexible team.

One of the things  that I notice is that the younger generation doesn’t want to commit itself for a longer time and is only focused on the short term. People are not aware of the impact they can bring about in an organisation, if you only focus on the short term. Unfortunately, they are only looking after themselves and not after the organisation.
But, I will continue to search for the exceptional employees, who share the same DNA and I will create my perfect organisation.

 

  1. What have you achieved, that you are most proud of?

 

I am proud of all the partnerships with all of these beautiful partners, some of them are already existing for a very long time, which makes them really valuable.

Another thing that I am proud of, is of all our employees, they have all grown in their own way and they are still growing as event architects every day.

 

  1. What does the Maastricht Convention Bureau mean to you?

 

Maastricht Convention Bureau means a lot to me. I think that most people don’t realise how important this organisation is for all the companies in the Maastricht Region. The collaboration with  Maastricht Convention Bureau can mean a lot for your own organisation and definitely adds value to the promotion of your business. 

Last year at the IBTM in Barcelona and this year at Imex in Frankfurt I have seen with my own eyes how motivated and passionate the MCB team handles the business and establishes new contacts with congress organisations and associations.

In the spotlight: Hans Gubbels

Each month, we aim our spotlight at one of our regional partners. What are the developments within their company? What are the challenges? In short: you will not only get to know the person better, but also the company where he or she works. This month’s In the spotlight guest is Hans Gubbels, Director of Museumplein Limburg (the organization behind Columbus, Cube and Continium):

1. Why did you choose the position you have now?

“Since I was young my ambition was to create meaningful things, not only on paper, but in real life. A study in mechanical engineering seemed the ideal basis for that. After graduating and a few years  at the R&D department of Océ, I started my career in the world of rides for amusement parks and world exhibitions. I worked at Vekoma as product manager, but soon started  my own company,  designing  thematic rides, experiences and exhibitions. This gave me the chance to create many beautiful projects all over the world. Change is in my blood, so after 10 years of growth, I decided to sell my company and start my own design consultancy agency. That kept me away from home a lot and there was a risk I would turn into a “lone ranger”. By chance I saw the ad of Industrion (predecessor of Continium): they were looking for a new director. The opportunity of combining museology, the  world of science and technology, visitor experiences and amazement and relevance for society, appealed to me at once. In 2004 I started in Kerkrade.”

2. What are the most recent developments within your company? (HR/renovation plans etc.)

“At the end of 2015 we opened two new visitor centres on the Museumplein. Next to Continium we now also operate Columbus earth center for which we were inspired by the experience of astronauts when looking to our earth for out of space for the first time, the so- called “Overview Effect” . The other one, Cube design museum, is the first museum of the Netherlands which is fully dedicated to design. While building our new premises we specifically kept the events and conventions market in mind. In Continium we already gained some experience in renting our spaces to third parties, but on a limited scale as we did not have dedicated areas and our first priority was and still are our visitors. Welcoming a business group and at the same time educating a class of eight year olds was not always a good combination. So in designing the buildings for the new cultural cluster on the Museumplein in Kerkrade we asked the architects to create space to receive groups apart from our daily visitors. Now we are approaching the MICE market with a large spectrum of multifunctional spaces in which meetings, parties and the likes can be organised. This event branch is organised as a separate business unit apart from our museum activities.”

3. Which challenges are you facing?

“After the opening of our cluster with all its possibilities at the of 2015 it was tempting to sit back and enjoy the new situation for a while. Our constant challenge and goal is to keep looking at the future and to keep up with new developments to stay relevant for our audiences as we engage visitors with the changing world around them.  Also towards the MICE market we want to stay innovative and keep surprising our clients.”

4. What have you achieved, of which you are most proud?

“I am most proud of the fact that we have been able to keep visitor numbers for both our museums and our business events growing. When I first started here we had about 30.000 visitors a year, now we are heading towards over 150.000 visitors for 2017 , a clear indicator for the relevance of our work). Thanks to the support of the Province of Limburg and other partners who believe in our views, we are able to keep developing ourselves into a successful  cultural entrepreneurial organization.”

5. What does the Maastricht Convention Bureau mean to you?

“The knowledge and network that are gathered through the MCB are of great value to us as a relatively new player on the business market. As a location that is situated in the regio around Maastricht we appreciate it that the MCB makes an effort to promote the entire region as the “place to be” when it comes to a destination for meetings and conferences. The combination of Maastricht as a city and the characteristics of the surrounding region create strength for our mutual future.”

 

Earlier editions of this feature

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In the spotlight: Niels Klinkhamer

Each month, we aim our spotlight at one of our regional partners. What are the developments within their company? What are the challenges? In short: you will not only get to know the person better, but also the company where he or she works. This month’s In the spotlight guest is Niels Klinkhamer, Director of Klinkhamer Group | meeting services:

1. Why did you choose the position you have now?

“The position I now occupy, as director of the Klinkhamer Group, has been almost an inescapable growth process. It all began when I started my career at an event venue in Kerkrade, the Rodahal. Then I built my expertise as event manager at Van Zandbeek Lieben and manager at Conference Agency Maastricht. The beauty of this profession is the diversity in customer contact, the changing workplaces (often international) and last but not least the various aspects that each new project involves. Thanks to such ample experience and knowledge that I was able to build with these employers, the most logical follow-up step was to become an independent entrepreneur.”

2. What are the most recent developments within your company? (HR/renovation plans etc.)

“In the last 10 years of our existence, which started as a sole proprietorship in an attic room, an employee was added to the team almost every year. As a result, we have moved 2 times to a larger location and are currently housed in the MECC building, with which we are very pleased. Furthermore, we became Rijkswaterstaat’s exclusive supplier 1.5 years ago, we have built up a good cooperation with the Province of Limburg and Maastricht University and include Toshiba and LED to our regular customers. We are very proud of that.”

3. Which challenges are you facing?

“In business terms, managing a growing company always requires a different approach. One could call it ´the pain of growing’. On the one hand, you must continue to serve the customer optimally and keep your team on track while on the other hand you often have that demanding client who still expects –rightly so–with less and less budget the usual high-quality service and who wants to look back on a successful conference. This sometimes feels as ‘acrobatics’. But a very interesting challenge that we like to face together as a team.”

4. What have you achieved, of which you are most proud?

“I started 10 years ago in the midst of an economic crisis. Over the years we have been able to build a good reputation as a PCO specialized in specific events and congresses. This reputation is thanks to my first hour employees, who are still part of our team. They supported me in the build up of this company in a difficult market, very motivated and loyal. I am very grateful and proud that in the start-up phase I have been able to tie these motivated young people to me.
Of course, I am also proud of the many beautiful and unique events we have been able to organize over the years. Especially those during which someone of the Royal Family was represented and where we had to deal with many specific protocols and strict court rules.
Developing our own registration tool called ‘Insight’ is also something I’m proud of.”

5. What does the Maastricht Convention Bureau mean to you?

“The MCB is an important, if not the most important, promotional agency to internationally put the Maastricht Region on the map as an excellent destination for congresses and (large) meetings. This is of course very important for us, as our core business is organizing (large-scale) congresses and meetings. When the MCB is able to perform its function properly, this is in the interest of all stakeholders, participants and all affiliated companies and organizations (SMEs) which benefit from business brought to the Maastricht Region.
The MCB is a good cooperation partner to recruit congresses for the city. Over the years, the MCB has been able to realize a useful and good expansion of its service package.”

 

Earlier editions of this feature

New style:

“Old” style: