In this Asia update feature we focus on Singapore which has recently seen the reopening of its purpose-built convention centre, and much more.

Suntec Singapore has re-entered the meetings and events industry equipped with up-to-date facilities and plenty of know-how required in a modern and digital era.
Following a S$184 million (US$147 million) modernization program, the much-anticipated reopening of Suntec Singapore came to fruition in June.

A launch event held on September 12 marked the successful milestone reached in the completion of Suntec City Phase 1 which, along with new retail and F&B outlets, boasted newly-designed and flexible MICE spaces and a three-storey interactive digital wall.
According to CEO Arun Madhok, the modernization program was more than a simple upgrade of Suntec’s facilities; it entailed a transition to a new business model, and an entirely new way of operations.

“The recent modernization program was all about bringing our venue up-to-date while incorporating a high degree of technology into the offerings that we can bring forward to the clients,” Mr Madhok told micenet ASIA editor Kristie Thong recently.
Additionally, the centre aimed to “provide more control to clients to manage their events and budget in a way that they want it to be”.

Mr Madhok believes that an internationally-recognised MICE venue like Suntec Singapore needs to keep abreast of trends and client expectations in the industry. One of the key changes included in the modernization program was technology.
“Technology has always played a vital role in the MICE business, not as a replacement to the face to face experience of meetings as some predicted in the past but rather as a means of facilitating the meetings for event organisers, exhibitors and planners,” he said.
Complimentary Wi-Fi is now available throughout Suntec, which despite the rapid uptake across the industry, has remained sluggish amongst venues and hotels in Asia.
“Clients are able to reduce the cost burden on their mobile data plans as well as on their overall event budget. Event planners can use this free service to incorporate more connected services and interactive capabilities into their events. Moreover, by offering free high-speed wireless LAN connectivity to delegates, clients and delegates will be more connected and empowered.”

New technology tools include an online customer portal which has been designed to cater to the busy schedules of event organisers constantly on the move.
Citing instances where miscommunication can happen when clients based overseas communicate via phone or email, Mr Madhok believes the online customer portal eliminates that problem and also gives clients and their dedicated Suntec Experience Manager total freedom and mobility, while still accessing the same set-up plans and documents to work from.

With total meeting space of 42,000 square metres, the venue comprises 36 meeting rooms, eight exhibition halls, and a 6000-seat concert hall.

Special offer from Millennium

Companies hosting events at selected Millennium & Copthorne properties in Singapore are entitled to a MICE Passport initiative which provides planners redeemable rewards such as complimentary broadband, refreshments, dining vouchers, hotel stays or even a cocktail reception.

Organisers will receive a stamp with every S$1000 spent on eligible meeting revenue, and earn as much as eight stamps per event. The participating hotels of the MICE Passport program include Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel Singapore, Orchard Hotel Singapore, M Hotel Singapore and Copthorne’s King’s Hotel Singapore.
Choose from event spaces available: 13 versatile function rooms totaling more than 2000 square metres in Orchard Hotel Singapore; a Waterfront Conference Centre with 34 meeting rooms across 6040 square metres in Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel Singapore; and more than 1228 square metres of event space including nine meeting rooms and a ballroom at M Hotel Singapore.

With an existing portfolio of 18 properties across Singapore, China, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines, Millennium & Copthorne Hotels will be introducing three China properties by the end of this year – M Hotel Chengdu, Millennium Resort Hangzhou, and Millennium Hotel Fuqing.

For more information visit www.millenniumhotels.com.sg/meetings.

Westin opens in Singapore

In early November Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. announced the opening of The Westin Singapore, marking the brand’s return to Southeast Asia’s financial and lifestyle hub. The much awaited return of the Westin brand to Singapore is a significant milestone for the brand’s robust expansion as the hotel joins the ranks of more than 40 Westin properties in the Asia Pacific, with a further 20 properties in the pipeline.
As Singapore’s first-ever integrated hotel located within an office building, The Westin Singapore occupies levels 32 to 46 of the brand new Asia Square Tower 2 commercial development in Marina Bay, the heart of Singapore’s bustling financial district. The hotel enjoys a high profile status with the highest lobby in Singapore, while providing the premium Westin experience with signature amenities and services designed to inspire balance and well-being.
“We are thrilled to return to Singapore, expanding our footprint in Asia’s business and financial epicenter,” said Chuck Abbott, regional vice president, South East Asia, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.

“Backed by its distinctive positioning around well-being, The Westin Singapore will play a significant role in the transformation of the Marina Bay development, as we inject a unique and revitalizing experience into this urban oasis.”
Embracing the Westin brand’s promise For a Better You, The Westin Singapore offers appealing services and facilities that leave guests feeling better than when they arrived. Located on the 32nd floor, the lobby features 11 metre tall floor-to-ceiling windows with plenty of natural light and expansive views of Marina Bay – a renewal experience for the senses. Guests are also greeted to a palette of harmonious nature-inspired colors, streamlined décor, and distinctive pendant lights designed to complement the cityscape, leaving guests feeling ‘on top of the world.’

Each of the hotel’s 305 guestrooms and suites, including Executive Club rooms, Sea View Suites, Harbor View Suites and a Presidential Suite, feature floor-to-ceiling windows, soothing tones and signature amenities that are designed to create an intuitive feeling of home, with all the conveniences and comfort to maintain a healthy balance of work and pleasure. Guests will enjoy the coveted Westin Heavenly® Bed, featuring lush sheets, down cushioning and a patented pillow-top mattress, which cradles and contours to the body for complete comfort; and the Heavenly® Bath/Shower, with luxurious White Tea Aloe bath amenities and custom designed bathrobes.

To help guests stay productive on the road, The Westin Singapore features thoughtful spaces designed especially for work. In addition to ergonomic in-room workspaces, the Westin Executive Club Lounge offers Executive Club guests an exclusive space to organise meetings with wireless high-speed internet access and private meeting rooms.
Exuding a rich yet relaxed environment, the hotel’s state-of-the-art function facilities encompass 1350 square metres of versatile meeting rooms, a pre-function area and a ballroom. The entire space is fitted with the latest in-meeting technology and high-speed internet access for more productive off-site sessions. m

 

ITB Asia and STB plan to grow event

ITB Asia has signed an MOU with the Singapore Tourism Board to produce an even stronger conference program over the next three years.

This year the show delivered more than 3850 minutes of content over 20 sessions led by industry partners including United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), the Medical Tourism Association, the National Association of Travel Agents (NATAS), American Express and micenetASIA magazine.

This enhanced partnership with STB promises new content for the show by harnessing collective insights from top industry leaders to uncover more business opportunities and provide an even more effective knowledge sharing platform for travel professionals.
“Our aim and focus for ITB Asia is aligned with that of STB to build a platform that facilitates the exchange of insights to discover new trends and celebrate Asian tourism at its best,” said ITB Asia executive director, Nino Gruettke.
Working with STB to gather travel professionals and business leaders from the entire spectrum of the industry will help us generate even more strategic networking, business and collaboration opportunities to drive more quality buyers and visitors to the show.”
ITB Asia aims to provide visitors with the latest insights and practical knowledge on the travel industry. Each year’s conference program boasts a strong line-up and is specially tailored to address the latest developments, challenges and trends across the travel industry.

“Since ITB Asia started its run in Singapore six years ago, it has been a fruitful partnership between Messe Berlin and the Singapore Tourism Board,” said Lionel Yeo, chief executive of the Singapore Tourism Board.
“As an organisation, we look for partners that can challenge us, and who are prepared to be challenged by us. Our belief is that this spirit of mutual motivation will raise our game and push boundaries. Messe Berlin is one such partner, hence I’m optimistic about this continued partnership and I look forward to more collaborations to provide greater value and exceptional experiences.”

The ongoing collaboration with ITB Asia and STB has added to the breadth and depth of relevant Asian-focused content available. One such example is the Future Leaders program, a new strategic initiative that was launched last year to address the need to attract new talent in the travel and tourism industry. The second edition comprised a half-day conference titled `Future Leaders – Building Quality Tourism Careers’ organised by Messe Berlin and STB in partnership with Nanyang Technologial University and Hospitality Club. ITB Asia, STB and UNWTO also came together once again to organise a panel discussion on salient trends of key Southeast Asian outbound markets.
At its close the sixth edition of ITB Asia at the Suntec Singapore Exhibition & Convention Centre attracted more than 9100 visitors from 110 countries across three days, a seven per cent increase over 2012.

ITB Asia 2014 will take place at the Sands Expo and Convention Center, Marina Bay Sands, from October 29-31, 2014. Visit www.itb-asia.com. m