Over the last few years, the Singapore Tourism Board has helped convention organizers group together conventions and conferences that have the same thematic content. The goal is to provide planners with ancillary events above and beyond their own, so their attendees have a wider array of options for networking, education and business development.
The strategy is also driving more room nights because attendees are staying longer to attend additional events.
Today on the Singapore convention calendar, each month has a specific theme, such as sustainability, fashion, media, medical, automotive, etc. So for planners looking to bring new events to town, they now have added incentive to book Singapore.
“ITB decided to create an Asia event, like five years ago, and then we only had ITB,” explains Kershing Goh, regional director of the Americas at Singapore Tourism Board. “And over the last five years, it’s grown into Cruise Shipping Asia/Miami and thought leadership events on luxury travel, and it’s just grown into a five or six event clustering of similar events in the travel and tourism field.”
With travel spend under so much scrutiny throughout all business sectors, both buyers and suppliers are militantly focused on building as much value into their programs as possible to legitimize the deliverables for meeting owners. There’s also growing support throughout the industry for companies to collaborate with each other when they can to pool resources and knowledge capital.
Additionally, with so much free content online, convention organizers are focusing as much on the context surrounding event content as the content itself to provide that ROI.
“People are beginning to see the value of that, and we as a CVB are trying to see how we can help them maneuver that and help them speed that along,” says Goh. “So for example, you have a meeting coming from the U.S., and it’s a company that’s in waste management. They want to come not because of the convention space, they want to come not because there’s excellent space outside the convention center, they want to come because the whole ecosystem is there.”
Meanwhile, Goh says Millennials are especially pushing for this to the point where the bureau is considering developing a new High Tech cluster. She says Gen Y and X are often more interested in going behind the scenes to meet people at companies like Google Asia, based in Singapore, than they are for traditional group experiences revolving around food and entertainment.
The tourism board is looking at different IT events and global companies to see how they can come together in a new media mashup to position the city as the Silicon Valley of Asia. Presently, Singapore is only offering tech tours to select groups who fall within the tech vertical, but Goh says she expects this to grow once the required networks of thought leaders and infrastructure of companies are all on the same page.