Xinyi Liang-Pholsena caught up with Waikin Wong to find out more
about her role as Asia regional director for the International Congress
and Convention Association.
What are ICCA’s plans for APAC?
Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) is the global community
where members collaborate to find new business opportunities and support
each other in navigating a complex business environment. With borders
reopening, ICCA has put in more efforts to be reconnected face to face
with members. We measure education programmes and redesign engagement
approaches in order to cater for different needs and supports.
You became ICCA’s regional director for APAC in August 2021.
What are the most challenging and rewarding parts of your role so far?
believe I am not alone when I say the last two years we had the most
dynamic shift in our day-to-day life, including how we operate as a
community. I am blessed to be part of a very supportive community. We
keep moving, being agile and resilient. Most rewarding is being part of
ICCA’s global community, meeting like-minded industry experts, and being
able to contribute and collaborate with passionate stakeholders to
inspire and share knowledge. I am also glad that I am able to play a
leading role in motivating and providing support to members in the face
Association meetings can be seen as future business, the lead time from confirmation of bid to live events could take years.
Waikin Wong, regional director for Asia, ICCA
What association meeting trends are you observing in APAC? What’s driving these developments?
majority of associations are already organising in-person events for
both national and international meetings. The value of in-person
meetings and experiences is irreplaceable – face-to-face discussions,
knowledge exchanges as well as the elements of social networking. The
expectations from meeting suppliers are higher, especially on flexible
contract conditions, safe and sustainable meeting environments,
professionalism of suppliers as part of the team in solution management.
Every organisation is looking for reliable and trustworthy partners,
rather than just supplier services.
We are still in the learning- or piloting stage of the 'post
pandemic' environment. The change of decision processes at association
management levels may contribute to shorter timeframe of confirmation to
a destination, venue or service. Decision making processes may have to
go through a committee, at board level.
Association meetings can be seen as future business, the lead time
from confirmation of bid to live events could take years. Risk
management (in terms of budgeting, sponsorship channels, members
confidence) of the committee or past president, current president and
president elect, will be key.
What’s in your wish list for the association meetings industry?
collaboration within countries and sectors, both regionally and
internationally. Future business events and bids should relate to
legacy, diversity, inclusion, as well as sustainability. Everyone should
keep learning, despite seniority, age and nationality. We should foster
more future leader and young professionals. I strongly believe everyone
can play an influencer role and make a positive impact. Be passionate
and enthusiastic and never stop investing in bidding and securing future