Suntec Singapore poised to make a grand comeback

ARUN MADHOK
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
SUNTEC INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION & EXHIBITION SERVICES

Excitement runs high as the countdown begins for the unveiling of the newly modernised Suntec Singapore International Convention and Exhibition Centre. As one of Asia’s pioneering and most awarded international venues for meetings, conventions and exhibitions in almost two decades, the ongoing S$180-million-dollar modernisation program has raised a lot of interest on how much of a makeover can be expected from the sprawling venue by the time it reopens in June 2013.

Arun Madhok ,Suntec Singapore’s Chief Executive Officer, has been instrumental in developing and overseeing the modernisation programme. He provides a preview of the extent to which this iconic structure is being transformed and the principles that guide its metamorphosis. He explains, “Suntec Singapore’s new design pays particular attention to flexibility, functionality and convertibility while integrating a high degree of advanced technology. The interior of the building has been conceptualised to adapt to the evolving needs of our clients while maintaining consistent quality across
the board.”

From the exterior, the most visible changes would be the modernised façade that includes an impressive three-storey interactive video wall at the entrance. Inside, the conversion is nothing short of massive. “We are changing a large portion of our building,” reveals Mr. Madhok. “It is being stripped bare and extensively remodelled. Level 1 and most of level 2 will offer new retail spaces to offer increased accessability for MICE delegates and visitors. Level 3 will consist of 36 convertible meeting rooms that will be able to accommodate a variety of requirements, from small meetings and exhibitions to large conferences and corporate events. Level 4 provides a unique opportunity for the exhibition halls to be converted into premium entertainment spaces through sophisticated lighting and other design features.
“The building has served us well over the past 17 years. With the implementation of these planned enhancements, we will continue to shape the MICE industry in Singapore, well into the next decade.”

WHERE EXPERIENCE MEETS INNOVATION

Suntec Singapore has played a major role in advancing Singapore’s MICE industry since it opened in 1995. Strategically located right in the middle of the central business district, it sits at the heart of Asia’s most integrated meetings, conventions and exhibitions hub. Beyond the Centre’s 100,000 square metres of meeting space, a 15-minute stroll around its environs also provide visitors convenient access to 5,200 hotel rooms, 1,000 retail outlets, 300 restaurants, six museums and a world-class performing arts centre. Three MRT stations and two major express ways also serve the area, making for ease of mobility and transport.
“A key aspect of the modernisation program of Suntec Singapore is to provide more control to our clients over their events and budget,” Mr. Madhok points out. “We are developing a state-of-the-art Suntec technology suite to improve processes, connectivity and control. For example, the new Centre will be offering free high-speed wireless LAN connectivity to all delegates. Clients will also be taking control of the room configuration for their events via new customer portal. We will also give clients ‘real time’ control over their meeting space environment such as lighting and climate control.”
Over and above the physical makeover, much consideration is also extended towards preparing the Suntec Singapore personnel for the fresh challenges that lie ahead. According to Mr Madhok “The modernised Centre will require a different way of selling, marketing and operating the business. Our staff are going through a rigorous training and development program that includes more than 100 hours of intensive training for each employee with reputable local organisations such as the ITE College West for Food Production, the Temasek Polytechnic School of Hospitality, as well as other industry associations such as the Singapore Tourism Board. We are assisting our staff to improve and expand their proficiency level so as to be 100 per cent operationally ready for the new Centre.”

TAKING ON THE FUTURE OF MICE

Over the years, Suntec Singapore has hosted 18,000 events spanning a vast breadth of industries, including some of the world’s largest exhibitions and conventions. In 2011 it welcomed over seven million guests from all over the world and proved its ability to raise the bar by achieving occupancy rates as high as 98 per cent.
Partners, old and new, have expressed their growing anticipation in exploring what the refurbished venue and upgraded facilities can do for their business events. One of the Centre’s loyal clients is ITB Asia, which has consistently held its annual travel market tradeshows at Suntec Singapore since 2008 until it closed for renovation, and is now poised to make a comeback in October. “Suntec Singapore offers the optimum business environment for ITB Asia exhibitors and buyers and we look forward to experiencing the new and improved centre,” says ITB Asia executive director Nino Grüttke. “We are excited about the new hardware in terms of facilities and we expect that the software — the people — will be as excellent as we remember them. Based on our excellent years at Suntec Singapore, we’re anticipating to return to a winning team, a winning format and a winning location.”
Similarly, long-time exhibitor Messe Düsseldorf Asia looks forward to coming home to its venue of choice for almost two decades. “In fact, we were one of the early companies to have chosen the venue once it was operationally ready,” recounts general manager Ms Shirley Lim, citing one of the company’s most successful medical exhibitions which was first held at Suntec Singapore in 1997 and continues to exhibit there. “For an established exhibition organiser to repeatedly return to the same venue over a span of 15 years is testament to Suntec Singapore’s expertise, professionalism and high support standards in delivering on our operational requirements for our international exhibitions,” she says. “Our long-term relationship with them has evolved into a successful business partnership that has seen their steadfast commitment in meeting our changing needs over the years. We are confident in the new and improved Suntec Singapore and it remains our venue of choice as a leading exhibition facility and MICE venue.”
In the same way that Suntec Singapore is upgrading its physical facilities and product offering, it will also liven up its brand with a new logo and a more vibrant image that reflects its readiness to meet the ever-evolving needs of its customers.
“Our vision is to be a positive influence to the convention and exhibition business of the future,” says Suntec Singapore CEO Arun Madhok. “We will continue to be the preferred place to meet in Singapore and in Asia. We have the perfect location, the right space, a high level of flexibility, cutting-edge technology and a team of exceptional people. Leading by example, we aim to inspire positive change in the MICE industry and transform the way people look at the convention and exhibition business altogether. We look forward to welcoming you all to the new Suntec Singapore Exhibition and Convention Centre.”

SUNTEC SINGAPORE STATISTICS

Total Space: 100,000 square metres
Total MICE Space: 60,000 square metres

  • Level 1: Commercial space
  • Level 2: Commercial space
  • Level 3: Maximum 36 meeting rooms
  • Level 4: 12,000 square metres of convertible exhibition/banquet halls
  • Level 6: 10,000 square metres of multi-purpose exhibition halls and meeting rooms
  • Level 7: Four meeting rooms