Experience creation tops list of ‘must have’ for events in APAC: IACC

Experience creation is the top priority for event planners in Asia Pacific, according to IACC’s inaugural APAC edition of its Meeting Room of the Future report.

The report revealed that 66 per cent of the region’s meeting planners claim delegates now seek more engagement, personalisation and interactive technologies at business events than at any time in the past five years.

Having a dedicated Asia Pacific survey will help the industry understand regional differences in terms of delivery of meetings today

The trend is being driven by incoming generations with younger delegates looking for greater integration of new technology and mobile connectivity in business events, more opportunities for networking, collaboration and simulation, as well as shorter, more creative sessions.

The increasing appetite for memorable experiences means that planners are required to do more with less while being constrained by tighter budgets. The report, created in partnership with Biz Events Asia, shows that more planners are open to sharing their roles and responsibilities with venues and other third parties, with 59 per cent of respondents willing to outsource the off-site activity arrangements for delegates, and 56 per cent willing to outsource local services.

The importance of financial ROI has remained steady over the past five years in the region, illustrating the possibility that the importance of ROI in this market has always been high, and other elements critical to creating memorable experiences for delegates are shown a greater emphasis.

Meeting planners in the region consider in the following order of importance the venue elements to help create meeting environments that foster the greatest delegate productivity, collaboration, and generate the greatest ROI: interactive technology, venue flexibility, varied food and beverage offering, and event location and accessibility. In line with the 2017 global IACC study, access to interactive technology and the flexibility of meeting space are among the most important venue elements and will continue to be as important over the next five years.

Over the next five years, APAC planners are looking to incorporate more interactive technology that promotes delegate interaction and engagement. Audience polling and Q&A, although popular tools to generate engagement as per the global study (91 per cent), they have not proven as popular among Asia Pacific planners (63 per cent).

The report showcases the need for reliable and high-quality Internet infrastructure, with 50 per cent of respondents indicating that they would not consider a venue unless it had the guaranteed Internet capacity to support the needs of their event, such as video streaming; 61 per cent of respondents report that affordable or free high-speed Wi-Fi will be the most critical need for meetings in the next five years, versus 72 per cent in the global study. As a result, more venues are looking to include Internet costs in the venue hire fee or offer this as a complementary service.

F&B offerings have a powerful impact on delegate experience creation. More Asia Pacific planners report they are presented with dietary restrictions or custom dietary requests, in comparison the global study, with the highest number of dietary requests being vegetarian options at events.

In terms of meeting room design, respondents reported that flexibility in rooms such as the ability to move furniture, and the presence of alternative spaces for networking are the leading differences in the meeting spaces they need today versus five years ago.

The full Asia Pacific report is available for download here.

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