By Gerardine Donough-Tan

Macau has been effective in controlling the COVID-19 virus, and as it stays ahead of the situation and business gradually returns, major players such as Sands Resorts Macao are confident it will be a destination of choice.

Providing a healthy, safe environment will be the most important and lasting change for future events, said Kris Kaminsky, Senior Vice President of Resort Operations, Sands China Ltd. He shared his thoughts on emerging business event trends and how the integrated resorts are preparing for the future.

Why are business events still important, and how do you think they will change in the future?

The most obvious and important benefit of a business event is the ability to network. The internet is great, but there is no substitute for face-to-face meetings. However, with anxiety around mass gatherings and full recovery still far on the horizon, the business events industry cannot stand still. Smaller events with a manageable audience are the immediate future.

Event design will change dramatically due to social-distancing requirements and seating/networking arrangements. If venues have space limitations, then technical capabilities in various rooms will enable the speaker to reach a larger audience. Even when physical events are back in full swing, we expect virtual and hybrid event formats to be popular.

Passing a microphone around for Q&A may be replaced by mobile app technology and social media. Emerging technologies around thermal scanning and sanitising/decontamination misting capabilities are also expected.

How are you preparing for the return of business events?

Hosting events post-pandemic will present unique challenges. For most organisers, risk is inevitable and hybrid solutions will be part of the new normal. However, with the guidelines, right measures and involvement of health and safety experts, we can organise, host and attend physical business events again.

At Sands Resorts Macao, our extensive conference and meeting facilities alongside a wide range of outdoor networking venues provide planners and attendees reassurance and confidence when adhering to social-distancing requirements. Our confidence is buoyed by the successful staging of the Sands Shopping Carnival at Cotai Expo from August 7-9, which drew more than 100,000 people to over 500 booths amid strict health protocols.

‘Sands SafeStay’ is a comprehensive program of cleanliness and disinfection measures to ensure the safety of guests throughout the integrated resort ‒ from arrival in Macau, check-in and check-out, to departure, combating the risk of infection. Sands Resorts Macao was the first integrated resort in Macau to obtain certification from global testing and inspection company Bureau Veritas in a comprehensive review of safety measures.

What is one lesson you have learnt during the COVID-19 lockdown period?

We all have learnt valuable lessons. For many, it’s been an opportunity to reflect and focus on things valuable to us. As a company, we recognise the importance of travel, hospitality and business events ‒ hence the increased significance and responsibility of rigorous hygiene and safety measures, which led to ‘Sands SafeStay’.

Sands Resorts Macao is doing everything possible to safeguard the health and comfort of visitors when they stay, shop or dine at any of our hotels. With the health and safety of visitors our foremost consideration, we can be sure of a fruitful return to safe business events.