Marina Bay Sands continues to outperform on Asia’s business events platform by staying ahead of green initiatives, new technology, and a dedicated MICE rewards programme.
Marina Bay Sands (MBS) has been the star of the spectacular Singapore skyline since 2010. Its three 55-storey hotel towers combine more than 2500 luxury hotel rooms, topped by a 340-metre Sands SkyPark featuring lush gardens and a 150-metre infinity pool. The MICE-led integrated resort is also home to a 120,000-square metre convention and exhibition centre, a lotus-shaped ArtScience Museum, two theatres, and a luxury shopping mall, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands.
MBS has attracted much interest within the business events industry for its integrated and expansive facilities. In 2012 alone, it hosted 51 tradeshows and exhibitions.
“I think it was significant because a lot of these tradeshows were either returning to Singapore because of the size of our venue, or coming to Singapore for the first time,” Las Vegas Sands Corp. senior vice-president worldwide sales and resort marketing Asia, John Mims, says.
MBS hosted the Young President Organization’s Global Leadership Summit in 2012, and the event was significant as it comprised leaders in their respective fields and each of them “a potential customer bringing their corporate meetings and incentive trips if they return”.
“It was very prestigious because they are the best of the best,” Mr Mims says.
The integrated resort saw last October as its busiest month, hosting a record 13 tradeshows at the Sands Expo and Convention Center from the likes of the 5th World Architecture Festival, 100% Design, the prestigious hedge-fund SkyBridge Capital’s SkyBridge Alternatives Conference and TravelRave 2012.
“We didn’t just start off strong. There’s always that concern that the shiny penny isn’t shiny anymore. But when you look at October and how we finished in the fourth quarter so strong, it gives us a very good outlook on 2013,” he says.
MBS has already hosted 15 tradeshows from January to March this year, and he believes the number is expected to grow further in 2013. Promotion efforts are not slowing down, as MBS continues to focus its attention on markets such as Taiwan, Shanghai, Beijing, Australia and North America through dedicated roadshows.
“We’re also working together with Sands’ Macao properties, especially in the overseas markets, to let our customers understand our integrated resorts, because it’s still a relatively new concept.”
Best of both worlds
Mr Mims believes MBS is able to win the hearts of event organisers due to a combined offering of meeting facilities and entertainment.
“Everyone has a meetings offering, but not everyone has the facilities that we do. We can host small intimate meetings of four to 10 people in our boardrooms, but also 30,000 people.
“We can also talk about the Lion King or Phantom of the Opera. We can have these entertainers at your meeting, or provide special entertainment for meetings.” As an integrated resort that has achieved several third-party environmental certifications for its sustainability efforts, MBS takes great pride in its ECO360 Green Meetings programme, which is part of the Las Vegas Sands’ overall sustainability programme, the Sands Eco 360 Global Sustainable programme.
Meeting planners interested in environmentally-friendly events can work with one of MBS’ Green Meeting Concierges to integrate Sands’ standard sustainability practices into events, from resource conservation procedures and paper reduction programmes to waste diversion and indoor air quality management. At the end of an event, the Green Meeting Concierge will present a Sands ECO360° Event Impact Statement to the client post-event, detailing information about their event’s impact on the environment, including energy consumption, water use and waste diversion rates.
Mr Mims says that less than 20 per cent of event bookers across all Sands properties require sustainability in their Request for Proposals, but almost every customer’s talking about it.
“It’s not as required as price and space, but meeting planners are all aware of it, and it’s still growing in acceptance in the industry. When we push for it and show that we can be environmentally-friendly and also save money, meeting planners will take it up.”
Propelling to greater heights
A huge part of MBS’ sustainability efforts now involves its latest initiative – its conference app. “What we’ve created across all our properties is a conferencing app that customers can use. It’s already pre-set and pre-designed to use at MBS,” Mr Mims says.
Available on iOS and Android systems and compatible with most smartphones and tablet PCs, it provides planners and event attendees key features such as event schedules, a scheduling calendar, access to speaker presentations and profiles, a messaging feature and destination and venue information. An interactive GPS is also included to navigate delegates straight to a booth or another location within the events floor.
“It’s great technology, saves a lot of paper, and makes it a lot more efficient.”
With a booming MICE success comes a new component within MBS’ loyalty programme for event bookers.
Sands Rewards Meetings, available exclusively to MICE customers, allows organisers to earn rewards when they host events, dine, shop and entertain within the integrated resort. The rewards can be redeemed at future events as well as over 175 Sands Rewards outlets across the property, including hotel rooms, parking, restaurants and retail outlets.
“It’s a financial incentive for [event bookers] to continue to use the property,” Mr Mims says.
Sands Rewards Meetings members will also be let in on several member-only privileges including dining events, discounts at selected retail outlets at The Shoppes and access to pre-sale theatre tickets and exhibitions.
“We’re very interested in rewarding and recognising our loyal customers, and that’s why we invest in initiatives like this.”