After hours of rigorous 1-2-1 appointments at this year's Asia Business Meet (ABM), attendees were ready to call it a day - and what a fruitful day it was for buyers and suppliers alike.
New participants, in particular, were impressed by this year's events. Sharon Lee, area senior director of sales of Melia Hotels International and a supplier at ABM 2018, garnered a few good leads after meeting with more than 20 buyers. "We were targeting the MICE market, and we really got what we were looking for out of this event. These are very good qualified buyers with something in hand. I do hope that they will materialise!"
Representatives from Sands Resort Macao were also at ABM 2018. "We saw interest from PCOs and agencies. One in particular has a conference planned for over 1,000 delegates in 2021, while others have smaller groups ranging from 150 to 250. We will link up the leads we have received today to our sales office in the US so that they can help to follow up on the potential buyers," said Mavis Wong, key account manager, Sands Resorts Macao.
After so many back-to-back meetings, a few trends quickly emerged from the buyers. For one, Bradley Moody, director of international sales at Hilton, noticed that more individual corporate groups are having their own travel fairs and inviting suppliers to attend. "The trend is changing," he added. "There's a move towards more intimate events where suppliers get to meet the decision makers themselves." Speaking of meeting decision makers, Moody met his own fair share during ABM 2018. "There's one buyer from the US who is here and wants to look at one of the hotels for a potential group at the end of 2018. It's great that we got the ball rolling on that!"
Bringing the day's events to a close was a reception at Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel Singapore, sponsored by Millennium Hotels & Resorts.
The evening's festivities began with a welcome address from Lee Richards, vice president of operations at Millennium Hotels and Resorts, who gave guests a preview of the food and drinks his team had prepared. Next, Janet Tan-Collis, president of Singapore Association of Convention & Exhibition Organisers & Suppliers (SACEOS), followed up with an impassioned speech about ABM 2018, as well as how it was going to be her last year as president of the association. After thanking her SACEOS colleagues, Tan-Collis then introduced her successor: Aloysius Arlando. Arlando comes to this position with a wealth of experience already under his belt, having been the CEO of SingEx Holdings since 2010.
Millennium Hotels & Resorts' Andrew Tan, vice president of sales in Asia, was also on hand to welcome guests to the reception. "Millennium Hotels & Resorts is proud to host the guests of ABM for the second year in a row," he said. "This year, we want to give everyone a different overall experience, and you can see that from the setup to how we welcomed the guests."
Tan was especially proud of the food and beverage selection this year, pointing out the brand's signature spaghetti with chili crab sauce. "When you are selling MICE events, it's not just about selling the hotel. You are selling the destination also. So we are working with the Singapore Tourism Board to promote Singapore. We brought in a lot of Singapore flavours, even in the drinks." By drinks, he was referring to the Singapore Slings served on unique cocktail glasses that resembled sceptres, as well as a special orange and calamansi fruit juice the organisers concocted. "It's all about innovation, creativity and passion tonight," he added.