4 Ingredients for A Successful Association Meeting

Marina Bay Sands hosted numerous high-profile association meetings in 2018, including the YPO EDGE and Global Leadership Conference.

Against the backdrop of a thriving business events destination, Marina Bay Sands’ appetite for hosting high-level Association Meetings is growing. 

In 2018, the integrated resort (IR) saw a 106 per cent year-on-year growth in the number of association meetings it hosted – with many of these events held for the first time in Singapore.

Of this number, more than 10 were organised under the umbrella of IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), as Marina Bay Sands strives to become the home of IEEE events in the region.

What makes for a successful Association Meeting in today’s MICE landscape, with the rising expectations of meeting organisers? Four leading clients at Marina Bay Sands share their insights.

1. Spaces for meetings big and small

For corporate association YPO (Young Presidents’ Organisation), the availability of large and intimate spaces within a single venue was essential to accommodate a host of breakout events associated with this marquee leadership conference.

The premier organisation for chief executives held its Global Leadership Conference (GLC) and its flagship event YPO EDGE at Marina Bay Sands in March last year. Marina Bay Sands is the only venue in the world to host YPO more than once, following the group’s last successful event in 2012.

The 2018 event utilised nearly 360,000 sq. ft. of event space – equivalent to the entire Level 4 and 5 of the 1.3 million sq. ft. Sands Expo and Convention Centre.

At the same time, smaller, alternative venues — such as LAVO Italian Restaurant & Rooftop Bar on Sands SkyPark as well as  meeting rooms on Level 4 of the convention centre — provided the YPO group with intimate spaces for hosting networking events, private gatherings and breakout sessions.

“I think YPO needs a location where you’ve got a hospitality venue that is big enough, but also offers quality and intimacy. Marina Bay Sands is a leading facility – not just in terms of its size and scale, but also the availability of smaller, intimate venues within a single location. These factors are important for the modern CEO.”
- Terry O’Connor, YPO EDGE 2018 Host City Chair and former Regional Chair of Southeast Asia, Singapore

Space flexibility was also the main consideration for the Singapore International Reinsurance Conference (SIRC) – a long-term client at Marina Bay Sands. Having evolved from a bi-annual conference to an annual affair, SIRC has signed a multi-year contract with the IR until 2021. This is a continuation from the past five years of holding the association meeting at Sands Expo.

The 15th SIRC was held from 29 October to 1 November 2018 at the IR, with more than 2,500 key decision makers and high-level executives from the insurance, reinsurance, broking and service provider fraternities in attendance.

“Apart from the main conference sessions at the SIRC, the other major draw was the bilateral meetings and networking events that took place on the sidelines. Hence, the conference venue had to be large enough to accommodate the spatial needs of all our different stakeholders on the same floor, while also being compact and self-contained so as to maintain that “hum and buzz” as over a thousand delegates and visitors move to and from conference sessions and appointments.  In Singapore, Marina Bay Sands is the only venue in Singapore that can meet our requirements.”  
- Jeffrey Yeo, Executive Director, Singapore Reinsurers’ Association

2. Delegates come first

As with all events, nothing trumps the delegate experience – and this is no exception for the Association Meetings segment. Organisers like Nanyang Technological University look for venue partners who take the lead in helping them impress their delegates. This applies to all aspects of the event, from event design to food & beverage.

Held at Sands Expo in April 2018, INTERMAG – the premier IEEE conference on all aspects of applied magnetism – saw 1,500 leaders in the field congregating at the integrated resort for five days of thought-provoking presentations, talks and exhibitions. This was the event’s first time being held in Singapore.

“The main factor that drove me when organising INTERMAG is the customer experience – which in this case, refers to the conference delegate. This experience is driven by everything ranging from the conference programme, the exhibition, event ambience and refreshments provided. Our venue partner has a role in everything. For one, Marina Bay Sands was instrumental in providing flexible space to support our multi-track conference programme and exhibition space. Held within an iconic destination, it also lent a nice ambience for the event which our delegates were impressed by. In addition, we were happy with the quality of the food and grateful for the F&B package options recommended by the team at Marina Bay Sands.”
- S. N. Piramanayagam, Associate Professor, Division of Physics & Applied Physics, Nanyang Technological University

3. Onsite customer service

The ability of a venue team to react and respond quickly and creatively on-site event is also critical to the success of any event. At the 28th World Congress on Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology, held from 20 to 24 October 2018 and organised by the International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics & Gynecology (ISUOG), this factor contributed to the Association Meeting’s success.

“The 28th World Congress on Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology that took place in Singapore in 2018 was a complete success. We attracted over 2,400 participants from nearly 90 countries, including many delegates from low-income countries as part of our association’s global mission to improve women’s health. 99% of delegates said they would recommend ISUOG congress! One thing to highlight was the exemplary customer service we received onsite. Across all aspects of their event service, we found the Marina Bay Sands team to be extremely responsive and committed to providing the highest level of customer service. We are very grateful to Marina Bay Sands for working with us to achieve the highest standards for our World Congress.”
- Sarah Johnson, Chief Executive Officer, ISUOG

4. Sustainability at the heart

As more event organisers prioritise the need to incorporate sustainable elements into their meetings, venues that operate with sustainability in their DNA are clearly a natural choice. During 5th International Rice Congress (IRC) held in Singapore last year, Marina Bay Sands was a preferred venue for the association given the integrated resort’s green credentials.

“Marina Bay Sands’ sustainability agenda is aligned with that of IRC’s vision to create sustainable and equitable farming systems to protect the environment, which is crucial to agriculture. With strong expertise in organising green events, the team at Marina Bay Sands had a good understanding of our event’s needs and concerns and provided us with sound solutions to minimise food waste, maximise space utilisation, and serve sustainable menus to our delegates. Holding our congress at the integrated resort gave us access to a venue that not only helped us minimise our carbon footprint, but also provided us with a range of multifaceted offerings and facilities under one roof.”
- Henry Ong, Senior Account Manager, Pacific World Meetings & Events Singapore Pte Ltd