by Naomi Neoh | August 20, 2019
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Fourteen hotels were recognised for excellence in the Meetings Hotel category.

Twenty-five organisations across Asia Pacific were celebrated at the inaugural M&C Asia Stella Awards in Singapore on Tuesday that spotlighted a growing focus on areas such as sustainability and loyalty programmes.

The award winners were unveiled at an exclusive awards ceremony held at Monti, The Fullerton Pavilion in Singapore, recognising key contributions in terms of "quality service, innovation and overall excellence to meeting and event professionals".

The awards were held in conjunction with M&C Asia Connections 2019, the gathering of leading Asian travel suppliers and pre-qualified international buyers who are sourcing programmes in Asia.

"In such a fast-changing industry, planners rely on the ideas and recommendations of their peers, particularly when it comes to selecting a destination, facility or service provider," said David Blansfield, executive vice president of Northstar Meetings Group. "M&C Asia Stella Awards 2019 represents a timely, effective and reliable approach to identifying the very best in the meetings and business events industry."

Meetings industry professionals submitted their votes across seven categories based on criteria such as overall excellence, professionalism of the events team, MICE initiatives, sustainability efforts, and other critical aspects of the meetings and event experience.

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Resilience in the meetings industry was a key sentiment that came up during the expert panel "Brave New Brave New World of Meetings" at M&C Asia Stella Awards.

Hilton was singled out as the winner for Best Loyalty Programme for its programme Hilton Honors.

"In the competitive meetings and incentives industry, it's important to continue to innovate and listen to what our customers are telling us. The award win shows the high regard that Hilton Honors holds in the business environment," said Rachel Howard, senior manager, Loyalty and Aspirational Experiences - Asia Pacific Commercial Services, Hilton.

Sustainability, another growing area of concern for planners, highlighted the strides made by the hospitality industry.

Accor, which received the award for Best Sustainable Hotel Chain, has made sustainability the heart of the chain's efforts, focusing on society, environment and community since 1974.

"We can't as an industry ignore the perils of planet and what's happening to people around the world. If we are going to be inviting people into our hotels, we want to make sure we're creating a sustainable future for the industry and the communities in which we operate. We need beautiful beaches, clean air, natural attractions, local communities to thrive and authentic experience," commented Gaynor Reid, vice president, communications & CSR Asia Pacific, Accor.

Singapore was a notable winner, bagging a double win for Best MICE Destination (Asia) and Best Convention & Visitors Bureau (Asia).

"The double wins signify the strength of our partnerships with the trade and a recognition of Singapore as a preferred business events destination. Singapore is not just about work-it's serious about play, so we're always trying to level up and be innovative in with our business and leisure offerings," said Dr Edward Koh, executive director, Conventions, Meetings & Incentive Travel Experience Development Group, Singapore Tourism Board.

"These winners embody what the MICE industry is all about: High levels of service, attention to detail, and top-quality offerings across the board," commented Irene Chua, vice president and group publisher, Asia for Northstar Meetings Group.

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Northstar Meetings Group's vice president and group publisher, Asia, Irene Chua speaking at the inaugural M&C Asia Stella Awards 2019.

"These properties and service providers made a big impression on our readers and reflect what planners of business events value in their partners. Each of these winners deserves to be celebrated and emulated."

The winners of M&C Asia Stella Awards 2019 are:

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Click here for photos from the event.