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Keeping up with game changers in the MICE industry

It's important to keep pace with MICE to ensure Singapore's position on the global map, say event stakeholders.

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Sentosa's first conference by the beach - Deloitte All Hands Meeting - a three-day event which was planned and executed by Sentosa last November. "Today's business travellers are increasingly looking for unique experiences beyond the boardrooms and seminar halls, while incentive travel clients want experiences with that special oomph, such as social functions on the beach," says Ms Lynette Ang, chief marketing officer at Sentosa Development Corporation.

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Ocean Gallery Banquet at S.E.A Aquarium, Resorts World Sentosa. With the RWS 2.0 expansion and transformation, RWS expects a total development investment of S$4.5 billion and the addition of over 164,000 square metres of new and exciting attractions, entertainment and lifestyle offerings.

MICE tourism extends beyond just meetings and conventions in a formal setting. To be an attractive MICE destination, Singapore aims to provide a holistic experience for business travellers, combining the elements of business and leisure together.

As a general trend, the MICE industry is set to evolve in how events are organised and held, and this calls for continued support from different stakeholders.

As globalisation and digitalisation become important game changers for businesses, Aloysius Arlando, chief executive of Singex Holdings, says there is a growing trend towards multi-sensory, hybrid business events. These promote better engagement among participants and "enable participants to build new, edgy event brands for commercial sustainability", he said.

SUSTAINABILITY AND ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESS

Singex also works to keep up with emerging themes among businesses, such as sustainability and environmental awareness. Events which exhibit knowledge of such themes are good for business practices and for Singapore to be a leading MICE destination.

"We have invested heavily in new technologies and our digital platforms to sharpen our customer-centric competitive advantage and achieve high standards of service at different touch points of the customer journey," Mr Arlando explained.

These efforts are said to enable Singex and its partners to deliver maximum return on engagement and experience for customers by allowing customers to focus better on networking, learning and commerce.

"They will also pave the way for us to capture and catalyse new and hybrid business events that will spur the growth of future-ready enterprises and jobs for Singapore's MICE industry and her wider economy," added Mr Arlando.

Communication design and production group Kingsmen Exhibits views digitalisation and technological shifts to be key factors on the corporate radar which will continue to push boundaries of growth and sustainability.

South-east Asia is set to play a larger, more significant role in consolidating the MICE industry, says Anthony Chong, group managing director of Kingsmen Exhibits.

Establishing Singapore as a holistic destination for MICE travellers does not occur in silos. It will require the collective efforts of "all stakeholders, from industry association to private and public sectors", says Mr Chong.

In combining business with leisure, both Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) and Sentosa Development Corporation helm the much-needed entertainment and relaxation space in the MICE industry.

Ranging from luxury hotels to unique food and beverage (F&B) experiences, RWS and Sentosa have drawn key MICE events to Singapore, with RWS bringing in The Special Event Show Asia and Sentosa hosting Deloitte All Hands Meeting last November, a three-day event which was planned and executed by Sentosa, creating Sentosa's "first conference by the beach".

A spokesperson said that RWS recently underwent a S$2million facelift which elevated many of its facilities. It is now an "exclusive location and spacious setting, making it the ideal venue for high-powered conferences and C-Suite events."

With the RWS 2.0 expansion and transformation, RWS expects a total development investment of S$4.5 billion and the addition of over 164,000 square metres of new and exciting attractions, entertainment and lifestyle offerings.

"Going forward, RWS is poised to be the next-generation destination for more first-in-Asia events, securing blockbuster global events from technology, media, travel trade to non-profit and welcoming even more diversified international delegates to Singapore in 2020 and beyond," the spokesperson added.

Sentosa is poised to continue enabling Singapore to be a leading MICE destination. Ms Lynette Ang, chief marketing officer at Sentosa Development Corporation, said: "Today's business travellers are increasingly looking for unique experiences beyond the boardrooms and seminar halls, while incentive travel clients want experiences with that special oomph, such as social functions on the beach."

MAKING NOVEL EVENT CONCEPTS A REALITY

"Sentosa is in an excellent position to meet such demands as our array of leisure offerings - ranging from tropical golden beaches to themed attractions and F&B experiences all on one island - gives event planners the perfect canvas to make novel event concepts a reality and unlock new possibilities," she further added.

Ms Ang said that Sentosa will continue to work together with the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), SACEOS and their Island Partners to create novel and exciting events on Sentosa.

Marina Bay Sands (MBS), Singapore's luxury hotel, is also important in the MICE tourism scene. Mike Lee, vice president of sales at MBS, states that MBS works towards providing hyper-experiential meetings, a new twist on traditional events planning.

"In today's landscape, delegates expect to attend events that deliver industry-relevant insights in an engaging and visually appealing manner. It is important for event planners to take on new roles as strategists, prioritising the needs of delegates and working with MICE venues to deliver better experiences," Mr Lee explained.

Mr Lee further added that MBS has embarked on a new plan to level-up its services and raise the bar for the MICE industry. The integrated resort is planning a new 15,000-seat entertainment arena that will serve a dual purpose. Besides serving as a key performance venue for internationally-renowned entertainers, its size and capability will allow MICE groups to host big plenary sessions and large conference groups.