SINGAPORE – M&C Asia Connections (MCAC) Virtual wrapped to resounding success on 26 August, garnering positive feedback from regional delegates and also, keen interest for the upcoming global meet in October.
An invitation-only business exchange, MCAC Virtual was originally planned as a week-long event in Singapore, but was reimagined into a one-day virtual experience where more than 100 delegates met for 650 pre-scheduled appointments throughout the day.
Business thrives on the virtual floor
Angela Chong from Sunway Hotels & Resorts in Kuala Lumpur reported a productive day of meetings and said she was buoyed by the eagerness of buyers.
“To my surprise I had full appointments, with many enquiring on upcoming trips or looking at Malaysia as a potential destination – especially from the Singapore market. There’re of course uncertainties but we’re glad to create awareness that Sunway still exists, making us top of mind. M&C Asia really did a good job in getting quality buyers.”
Mark Muscat De Celis, director of sales & marketing at Le Meridien Saigon, shared similar thoughts and commended the user-friendly nature of the virtual platform. "There’s a good amount of buyers, and the one-to-one live meetings platform worked quite well,” he said, adding that he received leads from India, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore.
Meanwhile, Alexandra Hepworth, director of sales & marketing at Hyatt Regency Phnom Penh, recognised that the industry is evolving. "Fifteen years ago trade shows were about signing physical contracts, and [now] it’s more about learning and sharing,” she said.
In between, an expert panel of industry leaders took the virtual floor to discuss how they successfully transformed their business in the wake of Covid-19, giving ideas and advice on how to navigate the 'new normal' of hybrid events.
Titled 'Survival Mode: Where do we go from here?', M&C Asia editor, Lauren Arena, discussed market sentiments with Kuala Lumpur-based Francis Cheong, CEO of Aavii Worldwide; Song Yi Kim, COO of Chris & Partners based in Seoul; and Alexis Lhoyer, co-founder of Chab Events, which has a presence in Singapore, Indonesia, Cambodia and France.
Cheong shared that "progress and agility" is the key to business survival, while Kim added that "planners like us have to be ready to react to changes accordingly. Be ready, but don’t be afraid".
Throughout the day, buyers from across Asia also took to the virtual stage, sharing their experience on the MCAC Virtual floor and sharing their key concerns and predictions for the future.
“It’s my first time to a [virtual conference], I found it pretty well paced out and interesting,” said Jill Sin from Panorama Holidays in Malaysia, who attended as a buyer.
Stanley Yew, who manages MICE sales for Pacific Arena Pte Ltd, said he had a fruitful day of meetings, and even made follow-up appointments with some sellers.
“We went in looking specifically at DMCs with the ability to host virtual meets, and our sessions were helpful. Those who did not have the virtual capacity even offered to link us up to other operators.” He added that the format of the virtual floors and tables made it “look like a B2B workshop, so there’s a bit of familiarity”.
Team Taiwan adds hybrid touch to MCAC Virtual 2020
The Taiwan pavilion gathered at the Taiwan International Convention Center to attend the event, turning MCAC Virtual into a hybrid event. MEET TAIWAN reached out to tour operators, hotels and DMCs, who all expressed interest in being a part of Northstar Meetings Group’s exclusive hosted-buyer event.
"Riding on this success, Northstar Travel Group is preparing next for M&C Asia Connections Virtual - Global Edition, set to take place on 28 October 2020," said Northstar Travel Group vice president and group publisher, Asia, Irene Chua.
Stay tuned for updates.