The art of meeting successfully for today's associations

ICCA regional director for Asia Waikin Wong talks about recovery trends in the global meetings industry.

Waikin Wong has been assumed the role of regional director for Asia at the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) since August 2021.
Waikin Wong has been assumed the role of regional director for Asia at the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) since August 2021.

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?
The International 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?
I 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 of adversity.

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?
A 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?
More 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 association meetings.



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