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Event Planning: How to Build Meaningful Online Events

By | 2022, Uncategorized

Mr. Henry Hall is head of business development at CrowdComms and here, he discusses on how online events have evolved, make online events meaningful and, what events of the future might look like. 

 

How can you build meaningful communities in an online environment?

Technology has enabled humanity to connect for thousands of years. For example, the invention of fire went hand-in-hand with the growth of human civilisation. Creating a space for people to congregate, communicate and share is, in concept, no different today in the digital sphere as it was back then for our hunter-gathering predecessors. The first step is to create the space, the second is to encourage acceptance and adoption, and finally, to increase contribution and participation from members to drive meaning from the environment.

These conceptual foundations are good pillars to structure your methodology when creating an online community. Instead of a rack of ribs to congregate over, your users need quality content, instead of grunting and pointing they need 1:1 video calls and push notifications. We can lead and encourage users’ behaviours by adopting technology, and using it to influence activities, whether that be networking, content sharing or content creation. The technology you choose to build your community needs to have the functionality to act as a conduit for communication and participation.

What does a 360-degree event mean?

The lines between work and home life have blurred since the pandemic, as has the notion of a single stand-alone event. Live events are a fantastic time to share with old connections and develop new ones. The 360 event is an event that never switches off, where conversation can happen outside of the initial experience, with regular touch points to incentivise future participation and content-on-demand whilst marketing other opportunities aimed at similar communities. The digital transformation in home and work life we are experiencing is a testament to the change in our behaviours and serves as an excellent example of how our concepts of an event will change.

Some people thrive in remote working and networking situations, while others are less enthusiastic. How can event planners support both types of user?

It’s no surprise that this digital revolution we are a part of presents many challenges for us. From digital fatigue and the absence of familiar human connection to a lack of engaging content and poor user experience, many of us feel resistant, challenged and frankly bored of the virtual networking environment. Others see the benefits of accessibility and sustainability in having ten meetings daily in the comfort of a pair of sweatpants. Understanding these benefits and challenges of user groups is essential when developing a remote networking tool.

CrowdComms is focused on finding solutions to these challenges, which involves creative thinking about how we can modify functionality to be more engaging. Smart Sessions, which we launched in 2022, is a prime example of this.

What do you see on the horizon for the future of event technology?

There is lots of exciting tech developments in the pipeline for both live and virtual events. Every week I hear of a new technology designed to improve the event experience. I think biometrics will become more commonplace in the physical environment, as well as trends towards immersive rooms and live digital spaces to connect the different user groups. Then there is the Metaverse, and what a dystopian but truly liberating concept that is! Statistics show that the average 18–24-year-old in the UK spends over 50% of their waking hours on a computer, already participating in a metaverse (with bad graphics) that is the current internet. It’s a natural progression to develop a more immersive and interactive experience to drive contribution and participation with the ultimate aim of delivering meaningful online communities.

You can catch Mr. Hall’s Knowledge Programme session on ‘Events and the carbon footprint conundrum’ which will take place on Wednesday, November 30 at IBTM World in Barcelona, Spain

Japan Takes Top Spot as Most Searched Destination Globally

By | 2022

As travel restrictions officially lift in Japan, Agoda search data shows a surge of 16.5 times which is more than 1500 percent in searches for travel to Japan, taking  the country to the top searched destination and; representing the largest search uptick Agoda has recorded with any border reopening to-date.

Before the pandemic, Japan has captured the hearts of many as the travel destination of choice and travellers, have been eager to revisit the unique culture and authentic experiences the nation has to offer.

While Japanese travellers may be slower to pick up their bags and head out into the world, the industry is optimistic about Japan’s travel resurgence. Although locals are seen to practice more caution but, there is a general sense of optimism.

Domestic travel however, shows no signs of abating with Agoda noting a 135 percent increase, year to-date, in domestic travel searches as compared to 2019. To further aid in the rejuvenation of the domestic hospitality industry, Agoda is partnering with the Japanese government’s ‘Travel Support’ campaign to help drive traffic to local businesses nationwide in far reaching prefectures.

In the meantime, South Korea (#1), Hong Kong (#2) and Taiwan (#3) are the markets most keen, to head back to Japan. Mostly, the top ten inbound markets are dominated by Southeast Asian markets with Thailand (#4) and Singapore (#5) leading the charge, closely followed by Malaysia (#7), Indonesia (#9) and Philippines (#10).

Rounding up the two ten inbound markets are the United States number six and Australia eight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thailand Clinches 94 Leads -TCEB named Best Convention and Exhibition Bureau

By | 2022

The world is returning to Thailand for MICE. Thai exhibitors at the first in-person edition of IT&CM Asia and CTW APAC  in two years secured 94 leads with an estimated 10,362 potential overseas attendees. Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau estimated that the leads will bring into Thailand 683 million baht in revenue.

IT&CMA 2022 adopted a hybrid format which took place physically at Bangkok Convention Centre at CentralWorld from September 20 to 22 and digitally for another additional six days. It attracted exhibitors from nine destinations, they are Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Monaco, Philippines, Taiwan, and Thailand. There were 1,003 onsite participants and 224 online buyers.

This year TCEB-supported Thailand Pavilion housed the Thailand Incentive and Convention Association and a total of 34 exhibitors from Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Pattaya, Phuket, Hua Hin and Khao Lak; consisting of 26 hotels, four convention centres and four destination management companies. Meanwhile, the three MICE cities in the northeastern region set up ISAN MICE booth, featuring suppliers from Khon Kaen, Udon Thani and Nakhon Ratchasima.

At the end of the physical event, Thai suppliers gained leads from India, Singapore, United States and European countries of Czech Republic, Germany, Poland and Belgium in the  pharmaceutical, information technology, automotive and insurance industries.

AIME Celebrates its 30th Anniversary

By | 2022

Asia Pacific Incentives and Meetings Event has announced its return to the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre from February 13 to 15 2023 where the industry will come together to celebrate its 30th Anniversary.

As the flagship trade event for the meetings and event industry in the Asia Pacific region, AIME connects the highest quality international and local buyers with the best exhibitors from around the world making the tradeshow, a must-attend event for industry players wanting to produce meaningful business outcomes.

AIME will open its doors next year to 400 hosted buyers, 2,000 visitor buyers and over 300 exhibitors including our Asia Pacific neighbours and representatives from the Middle East, USA and Europe.

“Five months out from the show and AIME has already sold over 80 percent of its showfloor. We’re thrilled with the support we’ve received from international destinations along with Australia’s convention bureaus – every state in Australia will be represented at AIME next year. It sets the scene for a wonderful 30-year celebration,” commented Ms. Silke Calder, AIME event director.

Attendees can expect to see a re-imagined show floor including dedicated zones for tech suppliers, hotel chains and international pavilions – all designed to enhance the show experience and facilitate networking.

AIME will also add rigour to its Knowledge Program with the establishment of a new initiative – the Knowledge Program Advisory Committee. This committee consists of eight leaders from the Asia Pacific meetings and events industry, who together, will guide the curation of the Knowledge Program, held on Monday, 13 February. The program is set to spark interest, stir debate and engage all areas of the events sector.

“Each year, we see our offering adapt to the changing times and this year is no different. AIME’s home – the MCEC, is the first convention centre in the world to have a six Green Star rating and this commitment to sustainability has underpinned AIME’s 30-year legacy,” said Ms. Julia Swanson, Melbourne Convention Bureau’s chief executive officer.

Registration is currently open for exhibitor sales and hosted buyer. To register and enquire for more details, or to attend AIME 2023, visit aime.com.au. To follow AIME’s journey on social media, visit Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

 

 

 

Entries for Anak Sarawak Award is Now Open

By | 2022

This will be the 10th edition and the theme for the award is ‘Reawakening the Spirit in the Rainforest’. Five categories are now open for submissions comprising of: Young Leader Award; Business Events Award; Outstanding Achievement Award; Journalism Award and Sarawak Legacy Award, the newest category to join the ranks.

Winners for each category will receive, a maximum claimable of RM10,000 to attend any business event in their field of interest anywhere in the world.

Anak Sarawak Awards is open to all business event planners from Malaysia and overseas who have organised events in Sarawak and also to registered BEPartners and national and international media.

The award ceremony will be held on November 29 in conjunction with BESarawak’s annual signature convention, TriBE Assembly.

For  more information, please visit: https://businesseventssarawak.com/award-and-education/tribe-honour/

Sponsored-Backed Engagements to look forward to at this year’s IT&CM Asia and CTW Asia-Pacific 2002

By | 2022

It will be a compelling IT&CM Asia and CTW Asia-Pacific 2022. Aside from business and knowledge components, this year’s programme features a wide array of sponsored backed engagements such as: the opening ceremony and welcome reception; brand engagements; entertaining in-booth activities; and lucky draws.

The show is set to welcome 312 in-person and remote exhibitors from 132 exhibiting companies and organisations from 23 countries and territories, along with 387 in-person and remote MICE, association and corporate buyers, from 56 countries and territories.

This year exhibitors from Thailand, Philippines, Hong Kong SAR, Japan and South Korea, will have the largest exhibiting pavilions to showcase what they have to offer.

Hosting the opening ceremony and welcome reception is Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau, which will be held at the Bangkok Convention Centre on the evening of the first event day.

While  national tourism organisations such as Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau , MEET Taiwan, Tourism Promotions Board Philippines, and the Promotion Bureau of the Principality of Monaco (Asia), Korean Tourism Organization, Incheon’s Tourism Organization and Gyeonggi Tourism Organization will share their latest brand developments during their 30-minute session of brand engagement slots on September 21 and 22.

At the same time, there will be an extensive line-up of exciting in-booth activities and buyers’ incentives. During the show, attendees will be actively engaged, and on completion of their fulfillments, they can utilise the event app to rate their appointments, all buyers get a chance to walk away with reward prizes including hotel stays in Bangkok, Philippines, Hong Kong SAR, among others.

For more information, you log onto www.itcma.com or www.corporatetravelworld.com/apac

An Exclusive Interview with Mr. Sergey Korneev, Chairman of the Committee for Tourism Development of St. Petersburg, on Promoting the City to the Asia Pacific Region Business Tourism Market.

By | 2022

Can you briefly describe the state policy towards business tourism in St. Petersburg?

Business tourism is considered as one of the priority areas for the development of the tourism industry in St. Petersburg – the city on the Neva is the main conference destination in the country. At the federal level, a road map for the development of exhibition and fairs has been developed with the active participation of St. Petersburg. The road map contains 15 events that will be implemented from 2022 to 2025, and provides, among other things, for additional measures and financial support for companies engaged in the business tourism industry.

Organisers of conferences and exhibitions in St. Petersburg can apply for financial support through subsidies, allocated from the budget until June 1 this year. Preferential loans from the city are also available.

Mr. Sergey Korneev, Chairman of the Committee for Tourism Development of St. Petersburg.

Organisers of conferences and exhibitions in St. Petersburg can apply for financial support through subsidies, allocated from the budget until June 1 this year. Preferential loans from the city are also available.

While under the City Ambassadors program, 30 agreements have been signed with 26 applications submitted, and 17 international rotating business events being attracted – seven of which have already taken place, and the rest will be held in the period from 2022 to 2018.

Moving onto Asia, are countries in the Asia Pacific Region an important market for the St. Petersburg MICE business?

Without a doubt, the countries of the Asia-Pacific region are among the most promising markets in terms of international tourism. The inbound flow of tourists from this part of the world to St. Petersburg before the pandemic was 53 percent of the total number of foreign tourists. This number grew by an average of 10 to 15 percent yearly. Russia was among the top ten countries most often visited by Asian tourists.

If so, which of the Asian countries have become MICE markets for St. Petersburg? 

We were in India, where the St. Petersburg Convention Bureau presented the potential of tourism in St. Petersburg at the MILT Congress in Mumbai, which was held this summer. This was followed with the convention bureau in Hong Kong, at the 36th International Tourism Exhibition International Travel Expo.

How will you market St. Petersburg to Asia as a destination through digital platforms, trade shows, and familiarisation tours?

The participation of St. Petersburg in international road shows and exhibitions will allow direct communication with the target audience. This autumn, road shows are planned in Mumbai, Delhi, Riyadh and Jeddah, as well as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

Preliminary negotiations have been made by St. Petersburg Convention Bureau with a communication company from China, on the possibilities of promoting St. Petersburg as a tourist destination, on the platform of their new mobile travel application.

The application will allow, not only to find all the useful information about the country and city where the tourist would like to go, but also to immediately book a ready-made tour. The service is aimed at users from China, Malaysia and Thailand.

Asia has a young millennial population, has St. Petersburg designed attractions for this segment of the population?

St. Petersburg is a modern and dynamic city that attracts young travellers like a magnet. By the way, Russians recognise St. Petersburg as the most romantic city in the country, as well as being the premier student and educational capital.

In cooperation with members of the hospitality industry, the Committee for Tourism Development of St. Petersburg is developing new tourist geography – a project that includes new points of attraction in the tourist map of the city, along with classic sights. The objects of the new cultural and tourist geography are, public spaces, platforms for IT, creative industry specialists and art clusters.

In addition, the sectors of the new cultural and tourist geography cover gastronomic establishments, atmospheric restaurants and cafes of the most diverse formats, from street food to high-molecular cuisine. Gastronomic tourism is one of the most promising areas in the development of the hospitality industry.

What would you say attracts event organisers from Asia to hold their events or organise incentive groups to St. Petersburg?

The City Committee for Tourism Development of the St. Petersburg organises various levels of events, on different scales and in a turnkey format, with both comprehensive and affordable proposals. Opportunities of business sites, hotels, restaurants, cultural, sightseeing, tourist programs in the city are all combined into all-inclusive package offered by St. Petersburg.

At the same time, the city has accumulated a lot of experience in holding significant international events, in various fields of sports, cultural, and business. It’s recognised that St. Petersburg’s level of hospitality is the best in the country, and has been repeatedly acclaimed with Russian and international awards.

Would you say that as a business tourism destination, there are also opportunities for event organisers or incentive groups to explore destinations outside the city of St. Petersburg. Can you name two destinations that would be of interest?

These are cities for example such as Vyborg, Pskov, Veliky Novgorod, Murmansk. Currently the Committee for the Development of Tourism of St. Petersburg, together with partner regions in the interregional cultural and historical project “Silver Necklace of Russia”, is creating an endless travel constructor, a fan shaped network of routes from St. Petersburg to the North-West. These destinations can be attractive both for cultural and educational recreation, and for offsite business events of various formats 

Can you share with us the 10 best things to do in St. Petersburg?

I would suggest that you visit the Hermitage, Peter and Paul Fortress or take a walk in the Summer Gardens. There is the Tsarkoye Selo and a stroll over to Catherine Palace. Then there is the Mariinsky Theatre to watch a ballet or listen to an opera. Not to be missed is the Kronstadt, a new tourist cluster or “Island of Forts”. The fountains of St. Petersburg the Peterhof, and not far from this is the park Alexandria.

When the sun sets, head for the bay, where the city meets the sea in the public space of SevkanelPort. Play mini golf in the historical centre of the city at the public space of Nikolskyiye ryady. Finally don’t miss trying out some delicious dishes of Petersburg cuisine.

 

Rainfall Protection Cover for Travellers a New Insurance Policy by Singlife with Aviva

By | 2022

If you have ever had your holiday wrecked by rain, you can now safeguard yourself with the Rainfall Protection Cover for Travellers introduced by Singapore’s financial services company, Singlife with Aviva.  In partnership with Arbol Inc, a global climate risk solutions platform, Singlife is the first insurer in Singapore, to offer this innovative parametric insurance product design for consumers to manage unexpected weather conditions.

Singlife will pay up to SGD150 to travellers whose single trip plans are disrupted by heavy rainfall. All countries and regions globally are included in the Rainfall Protection coverage, with the exception of Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iran, Iraq, Liberia, Sudan and Syria

The Rainfall Protection Cover will apply to travellers who encounter more than 6.4 millimeters of daily rainfall at their destination cities for more than 50 per cent of their trip duration. According to the Meteorological Service Singapore, a day is considered to have “rained” if the total rainfall for that day is 0.2 millimeters or more.

This solution is underwritten in collaboration with Arbol – a company that leverages on cutting-edge technologies from smart contracts and artificial intelligence to underwriting.

Singlife was recently recognised as ‘Domestic General Insurer of the Year’ for its comprehensive travel insurance offering at the Insurance Asia Awards 2022.

 

 

 

 

BESarawak has Entered into a Business Events Partnership with Malaysia’s Public University UPM

By | 2022

A memorandum of understanding was recently signed making Business Events Sarawak, as the first business events strategic partner of Universiti Putra Malaysia. Both parties entered into partnership under the Business Events Sarawak Alliance which was created to promote events and share activities of community interest in line with supporting Sarawak as the preferred destination for MICE

Ms. Amelia Roziman, Chief Executive Officer of BESarawak (right) concluded the signing of the memorandum of understanding with the Vice Chancellor of Universiti Putra Malaysia, Dato’ Prof Dr. Mohd Roslan bin Sulaiman.

Sarawak has been the destination of choice for many of Universiti Putra Malaysia’s conventions and exhibitions particularly on topics of interest to the Sarawak government that is on agriculture, basic infrastructure, transport and human capital.

From the strategic association, UPM will be able to broaden their commercial capabilities, as well as have access to resources in organising high impact conventions and exhibitions.

While BESarawak’s support said Ms. Amelia Roziman, its chief executive will go beyond helping planners to develop their events but also to make the most out of it.  The intangible values of business events, she said are just as important as economic returns.

To date, out of 90 events targeted, Sarawak has secured 57 events which are estimated to have a total economic impact of RM 93.3 million and create 3,625 new job opportunities.

Topics of the events are on commercial agriculture, social services and education and the community. It is also expected that the outcome from these events are political legacies that will achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals in Good Health and Well-Being, Quality Education and Decent Work and Economic Growth.

Australian Tourism Export Council Needs Working Holiday Makers to Help Meet Tourism’s Unskilled Labour Shortage

By | 2022

As the industry’s peak export tourism association, the Australian Tourism Export Council is calling for a period of three months work in the tourism and hospitality sector, to be included in the eligibility criteria for Working Holiday Makers, as visitors to qualify for a second-year visa, expanding it to include areas beyond the current ‘northern or remote and very remote Australia’ qualifying regions.

According to ATEC, widening the eligibility criteria under which Working Holiday Makers can extend their stay by an additional one to two years, will help to meet the tourism industry’s dire need for unskilled labour.

“Tourism and hospitality businesses across the country are facing severe shortages in staff, particularly the unskilled workforce which helps businesses to meet the demands of seasonal fluctuations,” said Mr. Peter Shelly, managing director of ATEC.

He further added: “Previously WHM holders could work for three months in jobs primarily in the agricultural sector, in order to qualify for an extension of their visa.  Some jobs in the tourism industry also qualify, however these are restricted to work in regional areas of northern parts of the country.

Tourism businesses across the country desperately need unskilled workers and these workers are crucial to the successful rebuilding of our industry.”

Mr Shelley said that while the tourism industry required long-term solutions to the workforce challenge, there is an opportunity to instigate a short-term solution through the Working Holiday Maker programme, which was introduced in 1975 with the purpose of promoting cross cultural understanding.

ATEC recognises the significant need for both skilled and unskilled labour across the sector and the lack of unskilled labour in particular is something which can be addressed by expanding the WHM visa criteria as way of meeting the severe labour shortages being faced as the industry rebuilds post-covid.

He mentioned that: Australia has an opportunity to use the WHM visa system, to both support the rebuild of Australia’s tourism industry, and to help solve some of the critical workforce shortages being faced across the nation.

This is by making the WHM visa more attractive by offering a wider range of work options to create a greater uptake and therefore help support the re-growth of this important export market in Australia.

ATEC is calling on the Federal Government to expand the definition of a ‘specified area of work’ within the Working Holiday Makers second year eligibility extension to include, all tourism and hospitality work across the country.