Image Source: ITB-Asia

Singapore is known globally for its excellent connectivity, with global consultancy firm Mercer even claiming it has the best infrastructure in the world.

State-of-the-art convention and exhibition venues make the island-state a prime destination for futurists, thinkers, and innovators to hold their congresses, conferences, meetings and events here.

However, Singapore’s popularity as a MICE destination is also due to the endeavours of its professional conference organisers who work tirelessly behind the scenesto deliver ever more successful events.

For Nancy Tan, managing director of award-winning Ace: Daytons-Direct (AD), her understanding and wealth of experience allowed her team to deploy their own fully customisable tech solution, MICEapps V2, at ITB-Asia 2017.

The event attracted over 11,000 attendees from 113 countries, with over 22,000 business appointments recorded. It was here that AD provided their proprietary all-in-one integrated platform, MICEapps V2, to enhance the experience of attendees and exhibitors.

“In the past, one of the key problems we faced was not having the talent to develop a fully integrated IT and mobile solution. So we had to work with various tech agencies, and poured months of work into a project that we eventually pulled the plug on because it just wasn’t what we wanted,” Tan explained.

AD then decided to develop the tech solution themselves. “We realised that no one understands conference processes better than we do asorganisers, which was why we decided to take that knowledge and form our own in-house team of developers to build our all-in solution,” added Tan.

MICEapps allows attendees to create their own conference itinerary and view all collateral digitally. Its integration with ITB Asia’s own mobile app through a business matchmaking system created a dynamic market place for exhibitors, buyers, and attendees.

This enabled them to set up appointments on-site, capture buyer requirements, and submit sales proposals all within the same working day.

According to Tan, “setting achievable goals with specific, measurable, and achievable milestones is the first step in executing a great event or project. It is important to form a team who has a good understanding of the event – what it is setting out to do, whom it wants to attract, what the audience is hoping to get out of participating in the event, etcas this will help in shaping the programme, and selecting the speakers, sponsors, and exhibitors for the event.”

She also shared that another key to success as a conference organiser is the willingness to listen. “It is important to work with stakeholders and listen to feedback, that is how you can continually improve”.

For Khoo Cheng-Hoon, managing director of Meeting Matters (MM), an efficient registration process and ease of access to relevant information was key when organising the Asia Oceania Geoscience Society’s 12th Annual Meeting in 2015 – an event he counts as his most memorable.

With the goal of broadening attendees’ professional network and knowledge to advance science and technology for the betterment of humanity, the annual event brought together 1,600 participants across 50 countries.

“No matter how many times one works with the same client or event, always fact check. Don’t make assumptions or be under the impression that you are ‘too experienced’ because it will cause problems for everyone down the line,” advised Khoo.

With efficiency being a key aspect of a successful conference event, MM integrated tech systems to enhance the registration process and access to information.

Waiting in snaking lines has always been a bane of the conference experience, so Khoo and his team implemented a system that would cut down queue times.

According to Khoo, with their registration system, “our badge concierge takes just eight to 10 seconds to process an attendee’s badge, from printing through to collection.”

Another challenge faced by Khoo and his team was getting relevant programme information to event attendees. They decided to replace static posters with digital ones to give  increased visual coverage to the exhibitors and speakers.

Khoo shared, “The digital posters allow presenters to upload their information on a digital display unit that rotates between content frames, allowing for a greater spread of information. We have also integrated a remote uploader service for presenters to upload their files easily from their mobile device or computer to the screens in the session rooms.”

Image Source: INTERPOL World

Vincent Yap, strategic marketing director of MP International (MPI), cited INTERPOL World as one of his most memorable events. Supported by the Ministry of Home Affairs, the World Economic Forum, and Singapore Exhibition and Convention Bureau, the event provides law enforcement agencies the opportunity to build partnerships with solution providers to tackle today’s volatile political and security landscape.

The absence of physical door security or registration badges for attendees at the venue might seem odd at first, until you realise the organiser has tapped something that is a growing global security feature: Facial recognition technology. That is because, “(MPI) deployed a facial recognition solution to control and monitor access to the respective conference halls, removing the need for door security and registration badges,” explained Yap.

While he is proud of the progress made in event operations and logistics, he added that he is not stopping there but is also new ways to engage and activate delegates for future events for a better experience.