Centres of innovation

Think you have seen the best of what these established convention and exhibition centres in Asia-Pacific can offer? Well, they have got more up their sleeves. TTGmice finds out what’s new

By Karen Yue, Lee Pei Qi, Xinyi Liang-Pholsena, S Puvaneswary, Mimi Hudoyo, Greg Lowe, Prudence Lui, Shekhar Niyogi and Marianne Carandang


Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre  

Profile Sitting in a beautiful spot in Melbourne’s city centre and along the yawning Yarra River, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) offers 52 meeting rooms, a banquet room, a foyer and a 5,550-seat plenary hall that can be divided into three acoustically separate theatres. It is connected to the Melbourne Exhibition Centre which offers 30,000m² of exhibition space, meeting rooms, a 466-seat auditorium and the Clarendon Room.

Health check Describing the global business events industry as “a good news story”, MCEC chief executive, Peter King, said his venue was commencing a busy second half of the year.

“The national association market is strong and event rotations are consistent. We have 20 more business events in this next financial year than we did last year, and are hosting some of the largest medical conferences to date including World Diabetes Congress 2013 in December which will attract more than 12,000 delegates. Exhibition business also remains strong with a larger number coming up in 2013/14,” King said.

Repeat business remains strong with more than 30 per cent of business returning, and King expects to celebrate 2013 as the “largest revenue year MCEC has seen in its history”.
However, King revealed that challenges existed despite the glowing outlook.

“Tougher segments for us are smaller meetings (which we are) trying to fit around bigger events. Exhibitions with a conference component are also becoming harder to accommodate given space is at a premium. We’re running at 100 per cent capacity, so it’s about maximising our revenues for the year ahead. We are continuing to look at funding models for the expansion of our exhibition space despite missing out on that in the recent (government) budget,” he added.

Biggest catch MCEC will host the largest medical event ever to be held in Australia – XX International AIDS Conference – in July 2014. The six-day event will generate more than A$80 million (US$77 million) for the Victorian economy and is expected to attract more than 14,000 delegates worldwide.

Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre has improved its Digital Signage System

What’s new MCEC’s Digital Signage System was recently re-designed to be versatile and responsive for customers. It includes digital meeting room door cards; LED wayfinding walls, displays and nodes; a video wall at the street entrance; and new social media capabilities. An event based Twitter feed can now be displayed on room door cards and standalone LCD screens – all moderated easily through an iPad interface.

Come late-October, customers will get even more space with a new operable wall for the exhibition centre. The wall can break up larger spaces, is sound proof, light proof and can be packed away when required.

A new menu is also on offer, featuring interactive live cooking stations and cuisine that can be tailored to match the event theme.


Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre

Profile Located on the waterfront of Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) offers 91,500m2 of rentable space. It was last expanded in 2009.

Health check The year is expected to be a great one for HKCEC, with five new exhibitions and 29 major conferences in the bag. This is in addition to more than 100 annually recurring exhibitions, 11 of which are the largest of their kind in the world or in Asia, and more than 1,000 corporate functions, banquets and entertainment events that will be staged this year.

HKCEC is also kept busy on the exhibiton front, with art, luxury goods and lifestyle shows on the rise. It will host Affordable Art Hong Kong, Art Basel Hong Kong, Watches & Wonders this year.

The centre is presently heavily utilised, according to a HKCEC spokesperson. “(Our) second expansion can only offer short- to middle-term relief from the pressure of a lack of exhibition space in the city centre. In the long run, Hong Kong needs more exhibition space. Otherwise, the development of its convention and exhibition industry may be affected. Hong Kong may even lose international exhibitions to neighbouring countries or regions because of space constraints.”

Biggest catch Watches & Wonders, the first Asia Haute Horlogerie Exhibition organised by the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie of Geneva, Switzerland. Thousands of Asian retailers will join collectors, journalists and all who are passionate about exquisite timepieces at the event from September 25-28.

What’s new HKCEC Management (HML) has partnered UBM Asia in supporting Food Angel, a food recovery programme that aims to save food and care for the community. Unconsumed food at events is donated to those in need.

HML is also enhancing the HKCEC mobile app with a wayfinder tool that is expected to be launched soon.
Joining the social media wave, HKCEC also found it way onto Facebook. The page was launched in April, offering

HML a new platform to share information on the centre, CSR initiatives, promotions at its seven restaurants, as well as event updates and highlights. HML hopes to collect comments and feedback from customers and users through this channel.


Profile Connected to the Hong Kong International Airport by a footpath, AsiaWorld-Expo (AWE) has over 70,000m2 of rentable space.

Health check AWE is expecting healthy growth in 2013, with several new events on the books. The HUB will host a new fashion show concept while the AsiaWorld-Arena will see the execution of major entertainment events such as Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour by Cirque du Soleil. AWE has also bagged many world-class large-scale events this year that are new to Hong Kong.

Biggest catch Longines Hong Kong Masters, held from February 28 to March 2 this year, was the only five-star accredited equestrian competition in Asia and Hong Kong’s first international show jumping event. A space of approximately 25,084m2 was transformed into an equestrian wonderland including stables, a village and a competition arena flanked by 2,500 seats. A 700-seat fine dining venue was also built for VIPs.

What’s new In a partnership with seven other tourism sellers in Lantau, AWE is offering events a 10 per cent discount on total bill. To qualify, events must be confirmed by September 30 this year and held by August 31, 2014. AWE also recently launched Runway 11, a refurbished venue that offers 4,400m2 of space, and Runway Suites, a collection of up to 10 rooms, each capable of seating between 80 and 200 people in a theatre set-up.


Hyderabad International Convention Centre

Profile Managed by Accor, the Hyderabad International Convention Centre (HICC) has a 6,480m2 hall for more than 5,000 delegates, which can also be partitioned into six rooms.

Health check According to Rasika Singh, director of sales and marketing with HICC, the venue’s calendar of events is made up of 70 per cent corporate events and 30 per cent weddings and social functions. HICC will welcome several events in 2H2013, such as 4th International Conference on Transforming Healthcare with Information Technology (September 6-7), 34th SICOT Orthopaedic World Congress (October 17- 19), and World Agricultural Forum Congress 2013 & Agri-Tech Trade Fair (November 4-7).

While acknowledging competition from “big convention cities like Singapore, Dubai, Bangkok and Abu Dhabi”, Singh believes that HICC will benefit from the strong destination marketing by the Hyderabad Convention Visitors Bureau and the city’s infrastructure and proficient information technology which can support the logistical needs of large events.

Biggest catch The 11th meeting of the Conference of Parties (CoP-11), held last October in conjunction with the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, drew more than 5,000 pax worldwide.

What’s new HICC has improved its sustainable operations with the development of a state-of-the-art sewage treatment plan to conserve energy and enhance the use of treated water.


Jakarta Convention Center

Profile The Balai Sidang Jakarta Convention Center (JCC) spans 120,000m2 and houses a theatre, two exhibition halls, an assembly hall, a banquet hall, VIP rooms and lounges, and ten meeting rooms, among others.

Health check Encouraged by a “positive first six months” of 2013, JCC general manager, Trikarya Satyawan, has projected an even better second half.

Satyawan said: “This Ramadhan has been unusually busy for us, having received many bookings for break-fast events organised by corporates. Some have dignitaries in attendance. Just a week after the end of Ramadhan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will host the 4,000-pax 2nd Congress of Indonesian Diaspora from August 18 to 20.”

JCC would focus on growing its bookings from international conferences and exhibitions, said Satyawan, adding that the venue had recently hosted many site inspections from international PCO/PEOs.

Based on advanced bookings, he expects to achieve the year’s target of 15-20 per cent growth in revenue.

Biggest catch The International Petroleum Association Conferences and Exhibition (IPA) ran from May 15-17 this year. For the first time, IPA occupied the whole building, used all products and services provided by JCC, had large catering requirements and consumed a large volume of electricity, power and Internet connection, which meant “high revenues” for the venue, said Satyawan.

Jakarta Convention Center earned big from IPA 2013

What’s new JCC began offering free Wi-Fi access to all visitors and organisers at end-June this year. Providing further convenience to visitors, JCC opened an ATM centre in May. A domed food service has also been introduced. Six hot food items and rice are plated on a domed dish and served to delegates attending events that are short on time.

Bali Nusa Dua Convention Center

Bali Nusa Dua Convention Center (BNDCC) impresses with a 70,000m2 garden and a 25,000m2 building with spaces that can support a variety of events.

Health check BNDCC reported a 50-80 per cent rise in its monthly revenue during the first quarter of this year, said the venue’s general manager operations, Yasintha Hartawan.
Hartawan expects 2H2013 to be better than the first half due to the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit and the 9th World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference.
As Bali’s high season for MICE tends to run from September to mid-December, Hartawan expects to see more corporate meetings as the year progresses and aims to secure a year-on-year revenue growth of 40 per cent in 2013.

Biggest catch The 9th WTO Ministerial Conference, to be held from December 3-6, will bring with it an estimated 7,000 to 9,000 participants. It will be the largest event in terms of attendance BNDCC has ever tackled.

What’s new BNDCC is doubling its size before the APEC Summit sweeps in. New facilities include a convention hall, 15 breakout rooms, a five-star hotel with 100 guestrooms and a 150-lot car park in the basement. The new hotel will enable BNDCC to snag small meetings of 50-100 delegates.

Bali International Convention Centre

Profile Managed by The Westin Resort Nusa Dua, the Bali International Convention Centre (BICC) offers up to 26 meeting rooms, a 2,700m2 exhibition space, a 2,700-pax ballroom and a 506-seat auditorium, among others.

Health check Just like most MICE players in Bali who are anticipating a buzz in the industry in the lead up to the APEC events, Jason Leung, hotel manager of The Westin Resort Nusa Dua, said BICC was seeing “a lot more corporate activity and government meetings”.

BICC has enjoyed “significant growth from group business” in 1H2013 and will welcome several international events in the remaining half of the year. Noting good growth from Singapore and Malaysia, Leung said BICC’s focus would be on raising the level of service and experience offered.

Biggest catch Miss World in September and APEC 2013 in October. Leung explained: “Both events are not only important to (the resort) but also to Indonesia. These high profile events will put the destination in the spotlight.”

What’s new BICC has completed a massive refurbishment, giving its interior a strong Balinese flavour, a more prominent front entrance, an open-plan foyer and two new lifestyle areas where delegates can meet and entertain business partners. The Westin Resort Nusa Dua, adjacent to BICC, has also undergone an expansion. It now has 99 new rooms, signature Prego restaurant and an additional 16 treatment rooms at the Westin HeavenlySpa.


Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre

Profile A 3,000-seat plenary hall forms the centerpiece of the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, which also comes equipped with a 500-seat plenary theatre, 9,710m2 of exhibition halls, a 1,800-pax conference hall, a grand ballroom for up to 2,000 guests, a 800-pax banquet hall and 20 meeting rooms, etc.

Health check The centre has some 30 conventions and exhibitions with an estimated attendance of over 675,000 delegates and guests in the books for 2H2013. Of these events, about 53 per cent are repeats. Notable events include International Fire Security Exhibition & Conference Asia 2013, Cybersec Asia 2013 and Salon Culinaire 2013.

Peter Brokenshire, general manager of the venue, said conventions and exhibitions continued to lead the way, while meetings, banquets and other functions were performing within expectation.

“We are confident of meeting, if not exceeding, our internal targets for all segments this year. Key to realising this is to remain responsive to market conditions and to maintain a flexible mind-set to continue achieving better yield management, better use of space and more quality events. I’m confident our approach of enhancing and value-adding with innovative and flexible packages and offerings will continue to hold us in good stead.”

Biggest catch The 25th World Gas Conference 2012 drew 5,299 delegates from 90 countries and 13,803 visitors, and took up most of the centre’s spaces. To accommodate the numbers, the centre’s owners, KLCC (Holdings), built a 2,600m² marquee adjacent to the centre. Hall 6 is used today to cater to larger events.

What’s new 2013 has been declared Year of Culinary Excellence. The campaign encompasses a host of creative and colourful cuisine arrangements such as state-of-the-art banqueting with hanging pedestals and Chef Showmanship Stations; quarterly cuisine promotions; enhanced themed menus; snack-on-the-go; and an expansion of its banquet menus, day conference packages, TenOnCall offerings and public catering outlets with a wider selection of healthy choices.

In March, the TenOnCall Beanie Experience was launched, inviting planners to eschew chairs for bean bags in bright colours laid out in their desired configuration. A takeaway coffee/tea is offered, along with titbits, energy booster drinks, energy bars, comfortable slippers and a stress ball.

In April, the centre introduced Double Loyalty Points Friday, dishing out extra perks to planners who book TenOnCall on Fridays.

Borneo Convention Centre Kuching

Profile The riverfront Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) can host a range of events from major international conventions for up to 5,000 delegates to smaller dinner functions and social gatherings.

Health check Following a 30 per cent spike in revenue in 1H2013, BCCK expects 2H2013 to outperform the corresponding period in 2012.

“Key segments driving the business will be conventions, banquets and meetings. Overall, we forecast 2013 to be better than 2012 as more local companies book their business at BCCK. We are confident of meeting the targets for 2H2013. We have a good mix of businesses comprising local, national and regional exhibitions, conferences, weddings and social banquet events,” said CEO Paul D’Arcy.

Biggest catch Organisers of Perfect Livin Home & Lifestyle Exhibition, a successful consumer show in Malaysia, inked a five-year contract with BCCK, with two shows booked per year. The first show in Kuching was held from April 25-28 this year, attracting more than 10,000 visitors.

What’s new BCCK started offering free Wi-Fi access throughout the venue on March 19 this year. It also rolled out the Instant Meeting package which allows planners to book its meeting facilities within 24 hours. A full-day package is priced at RM99 (US$31) net per person and includes complimentary use of an LCD screen, projector, a plasma TV, a PA system with microphone and other stationery.


SMX Convention Center Manila

Profile SMX Convention Centre Manila has four trade halls spanning 9,130m2, a 900m2 pre-function foyer with VIP and press lounges and 10 meeting rooms on the second floor.

Health check Corporate meetings at the centre rose almost 50 per cent year-on-year in 1H2013, a feat that Dexter Deyto, SMX Convention Specialist Corp vice president and SMX Convention Center Manila general manager, attributed to the healthy domestic economy. “The local market is performing better than expected due to the good economic climate of the country. Business is good and (clients) are holding more events. We expect to exceed our target of a 14 per cent increase in revenue by year-end, gauging from our first quarter performance where we are up eight per cent over target. Year-on-year room occupancy is also up by 10 per cent.”

Association events, exhibitions and corporate meetings are the strongest for the venue, although Deyto expects further growth in local and international exhibitions.

Biggest catch The Asia Pacific Life Insurance Congress, held from February 20-22 this year, drew 2,500 participants. Almost the entire building was used. The congress, last held in the country 10 years ago, also brought the centre business leads from four of the biggest insurance and financial service companies in the country – Sun Life Financial, Pru Life UK, Manulife Financial and Philam Life.

What’s new SMX Convention Centre Manila launched SMX i-Connect last April, offering event organisers two new services. One is an event registration system that helps organisers track attendance and enables the exchange of business information between exhibitors and trade buyers at shows. The second service is a push advertising platform that delivers show information to participants via SMX-developed event microsites. The venue also launched Meetings Plus packages that bundle room bookings with teambuilding sessions, leisure activities at the nearby SM Mall of Asia and tours.


Singapore Expo Convention and Exhibition Centre

Profile Located in an up-and-coming business precinct in Singapore’s east, Singapore Expo Convention and Exhibition Centre offers 123,000m2 of indoor and outdoor space.

Health check Singapore Expo and its dedicated convention wing, MAX Atria, hosted more than 700 events so far this year. Several of these were new events.

Singex Group, the manager of both venues, was also appointed to manage and co-organise several trade events on behalf of international organisations and trade associations. These come on top of Singex’s own events such as WasteMet Asia in 2012 and GreenUrbanScape Asia, which will be staged later this year.

“We are optimistic about growth this year and our bookings are looking good which is in line with our projection,” said Aloysius Arlando, Singex Group CEO, who pointed out that growth segments lie in emerging industries such as waste management, recycling and medical.

Biggest catch RehabTech Asia, which ran from February 27 to March 1 this year, is a partnership between Singex and Fiera Milano, a leading European PEO based in Italy. The inaugural show was described as an instant success with participation from exhibitors from Asia, Europe and America and visitors from all over the world.

What’s new The precinct of the centre has been massively improved, making it a far more attractive venue for events. Within walking distance from the centre are hotels – Capri By Fraser Changi City and Park Avenue Changi – and shopping malls.

Sands Expo and Convention Center, Marina Bay Sands

Profile Linked to the iconic Marina Bay Sands, the Sands Expo and Convention Center has a capacity for 45,000 delegates, 2,000 exhibition booths, 250 meeting rooms and what is said to be South-east Asia’s largest ballroom.

Health check The centre hosted 15 tradeshows and MICE events in 1Q2013 alone, included a 500-pax incentive group from Amway Japan in February. 2Q2013 continued to see a stream of international business events such as Tokyo Auto Salon Singapore 2013, Global Security Asia 2013 and Tax Free World Association Asia Pacific Conference & Exhibition 2013.

John Mims, senior vice president worldwide sales & resort marketing, Las Vegas Sands Corp, said: “We expect the momentum to carry on into 2H2013 with many key events secured in the centre, such as Singapore International Energy Week 2013 and IBM InterConnect Conference 2013.

“The exhibition segment and the corporate meetings segment have performed well since the start of the year due to…a stable economy, presence of regional corporate headquarters in Singapore, excellent meeting facilities, good air links and most importantly, businesses looking to ride the Asian wave from a safe haven like Singapore.”

Biggest catch Tax Free World Association Asia Pacific Exhibition and Conference 2013, the top exhibition in Asia for the past 15 years in terms of quality buyers, exclusive exhibitors and stunning booth designs.

What’s new Green Meetings, as part of the Sands ECO360° Meetings Program, aims to provide environmentally preferable options to meeting planners and clients. One of the unique features of Green Meetings is the Green Meeting Concierge who support clients from day one. A post-event sustainability report called the Sands ECO360° Event Impact Statement will also be provided to the client.

The centre also launched the Marina Bay Sands Conference application to help organisers create richer experiences for their audiences. Organisers can use the application to share show content with key stakeholders, while delegates can share photos from the event and network with others via in-application messaging.

The third offer this year is the Sands Rewards Meetings programme, a loyalty programme that is exclusively available to organisers who hold their events at Marina Bay Sands. Organisers can earn rewards as they host events, dine, shop and entertain at the integrated resort. The rewards can then be redeemed at future events and at over 175 Sands Rewards outlets across the property. Loyalty members are also entitled to several privileges, including dining events and access to pre-sale theatre tickets and exhibitions at ArtScience Museum, among others.

Raffles City Convention Centre

Profile Located in the city centre and connected to two hotels – Fairmont Singapore and Swissotel The Stamford – Raffles City Convention Centre (RCCC) has more than 6,503m2 of meeting and convention facilities.

Health check Aiden McAuley, managing director of Fairmont Singapore and Swissotel The Stamford, said RCCC was “on target to not only meet, but exceed our forecasted budget for this year”.

“There is a lot of potential for us to (win) more business from various segments and markets due to RCCC’s distinct history in hosting international events. The key for us is to maintain our competitive edge and provide our distinct brand of service excellence. These factors will help us to continue to grow our niche markets despite the developments in other city-centre venues,” he said.

Biggest catch An unnamed major international convention held over three days earlier this year. It was attended by almost 1,000 delegates, generating a spillover income for RCCC’s two sister hotels and exceeding the centre’s revenue expectations by over 30 per cent during that period.

What’s new RCCC recently underwent a S$4 million (US$3.2 million) renovation which saw improvements being made to three ballrooms, meeting rooms, foyer and the Executive Conference Centre. Besides hardware upgrades, McAuley said a “great emphasis” was also placed on continuously improving the level of service excellence.

Other new features at RCCC include the introduction of a team of conference concierges who act as a liaison between the planner and the various hotel operational departments, and a wider selection of healthy options during coffee breaks.

Suntec Singapore International Convention and Exhibition Centre

Profile Suntec Singapore International Convention and Exhibition Centre reopened in June for business after pulling the shutters for major renovations in 2012. There are exhibition halls across levels two, four and six, and flexible meeting space on level three.

Health check The new generation Suntec Singapore hosted its first event – Special Olympics Singapore National Games Closing Ceremony – on June 3, and business for the rest of the year “is looking very positive with high demand and a strong line-up of confirmed events”, said CEO Arun Madhok.

“Customers old and new have all expressed their growing anticipation in exploring how our centre can contribute to the success of their events. The months of June to August are full and we have had to close bookings for this period,” he added.

“All revenue channels are forecasting healthy returns. We expect growth in confex events. Our media sales channel is also expected to experience double-digit growth due to the additional digital media options that are now available at the centre.

Biggest catch The inaugural biennial LTA-UITP Singapore International Transport Congress and Exhibition 2013, jointly organised by the Land Transport Authority of Singapore, the International Association of Public Transport and MSI Global. It will be held from October 7-10 this year.

What’s new Suntec Singapore is developing a state-of-the-art technology suite to improve processes, connectivity and control. For example, free wireless LAN connectivity will be offered to all delegates, allowing 6,000 devices to be connected simultaneously throughout the entire facility.

The new online Customer Portal allows organisers to visualise their event, configure their floor plans and select their F&B options and other amenities before the event. Changes and requests are made directly in the system and confirmations are updated in real time.

The centre also boasts an intelligent building management system that monitors and maintains the venue’s ecosystem at optimal comfort levels for delegates while optimising energy consumption depending on scheduled activities and existing environmental conditions across multiple simultaneous events.


Bangkok Convention Centre at CentralWorld

Profile Boasting a central location in Bangkok’s city centre, Bangkok Convention Centre (BCC) at CentralWorld comprises a convention hall for 6,000 pax, theatre-style; World Ballroom for 800 pax, banquet-style; 15 Lotus Suites meeting rooms for 10-400 pax; and a 19-seat boardroom. It is supported by a 505-key Centara Grand hotel.

Health check Centara Grand and BCC at CentralWorld is forecasting solid growth this year with bookings for 1,253 events and 1,155,324 visitors. This follows on from very strong performance last year, where a “phenomenal first quarter” netted a large volume of events which had been postponed due to the flooding in Bangkok and surrounding areas in late 2011, according to the venue’s general manager Robert Maurer-Loeffler.
“During the year 2012 we had 1,021 events with a total of 1,032,917 participants,” he said. “For 2013 we have 1,253 events scheduled, which would give us 1,155,324 participants. This is very much in line with our projections, and does we feel reflect the strength of the MICE sector in Thailand.”

While Maurer-Loeffler expects business to be steady throughout the year, the convention centre generally does more trade in the first-half. Exhibitions account for the majority of the venue’s turnover with the rest coming from domestic MICE, corporate events, and an increasing number of concerts. Repeat customers are another key driver of the convention centre’s overall trade.

He said: “IT&CMA is a good example of this,” he said. “They were our first major event in 2007 and they keep coming back each year. We’ll be celebrating our 10th anniversary with them soon.”

The medical and pharmaceutical sectors are Centara’s main source of bread and butter, with events typically combining conventions for medical professionals with exhibitions from related research providers and technology/equipment firms.

“The medical institutions in Thailand are very good, as are the universities. They have budgets from major pharmaceutical companies to hold national, regional and even international events,” he said, adding that the centre is also a popular choice for consumer product manufacturers with major brands such as Samsung opting to use it for their local and regional product launches.

Centara wants to bring in more small meetings groups, according to Maurer-Loeffler, and it launched its M23 facility earlier this year to target that segment.

More importantly, he believes the centre must do more to tap trade with India and China. “We’re getting business (from those markets) but we are not there in the way I would like us to be. These are the two big emerging economies. They are travelling a lot and there is great potential for more MICE.”

Biggest catch Maurer-Loeffler cited the Prince Mahidol Award Conference 2013 as one of the major draws in 1Q2013. The event, held in the last week of January, is an annual invite-only conference that provides a key forum for discussing global health issues and devise policy responses to these, while highlighting the latest developments in research. It culminates with the award ceremony.

Another feather in the cap for the centre was the recent World Newspapers Congress, which takes place every four years. Held from June 2-5, the event drew 5,440 participants with 1,327 room nights.

What’s new BCC at CentralWorld opened M23, a 1,000m² meeting space targeting smaller groups, earlier this year. The facility features four boardrooms, each with a capacity of 18-50 people, audiovisual equipment, high-speed Wi-Fi access and stationery. There is also an open kitchen where chefs cook live for delegates. The space doubles up for cocktail receptions, while the terraces can be used for cocktails and barbeques.

Also new is CentralWorld LIVE, a 3,500m² venue which was launched in mid-2012. While the space’s operation comes under the remit of the adjoining CentralWorld mall, the convention centre is making more use of the venue and is increasingly packaging it along with its standard meetings facilities.

Two new packages are on offer too. The Executive Full Day Meeting Package for M23 costs 1,800 baht (US$59) net per person with a choice of lunch venues: an international buffet at The World, an ASEAN buffet at Ginger or a private luncheon at M23. The same package is available with a business set lunch at Fifty Five for 2,000 baht net per person.

IMPACT Muang Thong Thani, Bangkok

Profile IMPACT Muang Thong Thani is armed with over 140,000m² of indoor space in the form of IMPACT Challenger, a cluster of three interconnected halls; IMPACT Exhibition Center which comprises eight multi-purpose halls; IMPACT Forum convention centre; IMPACT Arena; and other function rooms. It is supported by the 380-key Novotel Bangkok IMPACT.

Health check IMPACT is on track to hit its year-end target of 900 events and around 17 million visitors, marking a steady improvement on last year’s 800 events and 15 million visitors, or growth of about 12.5 per cent, according to general manager Loy Joon How.

While Loy prefers to keep IMPACT’s financial results close to his chest, he is “expecting our business momentum to continue for the rest of the year and we’re targeting a progressive increased occupancy of 62-65 per cent”.

Business has been pretty constant throughout the year-to-date and the trend is expected to continue during the second-half.

“We lack the peak and off-peak seasons that you get in markets like Europe. We’re not so seasonal here,” he said, adding that IMPACT’s steady stream of trade means the venue expects to generate about half of its business – some 450 events – in the final six months of the year.

Asia remains the biggest source market for IMPACT in terms of both the event bookings and delegates.

While the centre works hard at its own sales and marketing initiatives, Loy said the uptick in business last year and this year’s continued positive growth trend were also due to the healthy condition of Thailand’s MICE industry.

IMPACT benefits from Thailand’s position as a key location for major exhibitions, however the venue needs to work harder on building other areas of its business.

“The main bulk of our revenue comes from exhibitions. Although we’ve had an increase in the number of meetings, these are not large-scale events so they’re not contributing much in terms of revenue. We have to work harder on targeting bigger meetings in the nature of large-scale international conventions and seminars,” said Loy.

While there are no immediate expansion plans, the centre will start renovating IMPACT Exhibition Center halls one to eight, and intends to build a new hotel, possibly a 500-room three-star property, to complement Novotel Bangkok IMPACT.

Biggest catch ITU Telecom World 2013, which will take place from November 19-22, will cover 40,000m2 of exhibition space and bring in some 10,000 delegates from around the world. It is the International Telecommunication Union’s annual global event for the ICT industry which provides an international platform for high-level debate and information and knowledge-sharing.

The Connect Asia-Pacific summit will run alongside ITU Telecom World and is a high-level event comprising ICT ministers, chief executives, policymakers and other stakeholders from across the region. They will meet to discuss how to close technology gaps and improve telecoms capacity and penetration throughout Asia-Pacific.

What’s new IMPACT’s Complete Meetings Package offers one-night’s accommodation in a standard room with a buffet breakfast at the adjoining Novotel Bangkok IMPACT. Included in the deal are free Wi-Fi access throughout the property, two coffee breaks, lunch, use of a state-of-the art meeting room with full audiovisual facilities and stationery kits for delegates. The package costs 1,675++ baht per person per day based on double occupancy. A minimum of two meetings rooms and 100 guestrooms must be booked to qualify for the package which runs until September 30, 2013.

Also new is iCon. Targeting the convention market, iCon is available at three levels – Classic, Gold and Platinum – and requires a minimum of 500, 1,000 and 2,000 delegates per day, respectively. The package incorporates breakout rooms with equipment, a coffee break, one night’s accommodation plus two breakfasts for an organiser during the function. Meetings must run for at least two consecutive days to qualify. Offer expires September 30.

As well, IMPACT has improved its event management services to provide more support for organisers who want to rent space but lack the resources for operations or logistics management. A dedicated events management arm offers services that range from providing coordination and onsite operational and logistical support, to assisting in marketing and sales.

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