Image Source: SACEOS

The two-day event, themed RE:imagine #EngagE, attracted 475 professionals from 26 countries. Some 78 participants also connected remotely to the event through live online streaming broadcast.

Image Source: SACEOS

It was the highest attendance in the event’s seven-year history, with about half the participating delegates holding senior management positions, according to event organiser Singapore Association of Convention and Exhibition Organisers & Suppliers (SACEOS).

This year’s edition focused on engagement, with delegates asked to reflect on how they were engaging their audiences.

There were plenary sessions, as well as smaller breakouts, tailored to professionals of different skillsets and business interests which were all well-received by participants.

The event also focused on creating and building communities, as well as preparing the MICE industry for challenges of the future.

Image Source: SACEOS

A highlight of SMF 2017 was the leadership programme, Painting the Future: Vision 2050, where meeting planners made bold and dramatic forecasts on MICE business models of the future.

One very progressive group of presenters suggested that access to specialised knowledge would be so readily available as to render attendance at MICE events – seminars, forums and conventions – unnecessary.

Delegates were asked to contemplate a future where the world as the MICE industry knows it ceases to exist. Will MICE planners have to pay for delegates to attend their events? What will future MICE venues look like?

Participants were also challenged to see the delegate no longer as a consumer, but as a resource for new ideas. Thus, would businesses in the future have to pay these delegates to generate new ideas in order for them to remain competitive?

As for venues, they have to be human-focused, designed for the best creature comforts and flexibility – for instance, furnishings that disappear or change at the touch of a button.

Image Source: SACEOS

One delegate, Anna Lim, events manager at BI Worldwide, felt that the event afforded her a new look at the industry from the ideas contributed by the diverse group of individuals.

She said: “My favourite part was involving the students, the younger generation – gathering ideas and viewpoints from people in different stages of their career – people who are coming out from the polytechnics and those who have been working in the industry. This makes it very compelling and interesting for those of us who have been in the industry for a few years and more. It gives us a fresh perspective to look at what we have been doing. I think this is good!”

SMF organising committee chairman Oscar Cerezales, who is also MCI Asia Pacific’s chief operating officer, said: “We need to create uncontested markets and make competition relevant; create and capture new demand.

“People are obsessed with fine-tuning product and services, but the most powerful tool is business model innovation – but it’s painful and comes with uncertainty.”

SMF 2017 also featured the annual Singapore MICE Challenge, where students – potential MICE industry leaders of the future – competed for places at PCMA’s Convening Leaders 2018 Summit in Nashville.

Image Source: SACEOS

The event culminated with a gala dinner at the Marina Bay Cruise Centre Singapore.

Janet Tan-Collis, president of SACEOS, said: “We are so delighted to have received some strong support, not just from Singapore, but also from industry leaders and professionals around the world. This again attests to our vision of leading this region in professional development and international accreditation excellence.”

No doubt she and the organising team would be banking on that excellence and support in the 2018 edition of SMF, slated for July 26 and 27 next year.