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.”