Experiential Events: Veteran DMCs share how to create impactful experiences with the right venue

Interesting venues offer the potential to enrich the attendee experience especially when it offers a true sense of place, a vibrant culture and a creative and flexible atmosphere where powerful connections and memories can be made.

Clients these days expect an experience that goes beyond 'wow'. "As planners, our job is to show them what they can't find in another city, and what is so unique about the destination such that it leaves them with an unforgettable experience," remarked Darren Tan, managing director of World Express.  

Darren Tan, managing director of World Express.

At the moment, yachts and beach venues are popular in Singapore as they provide a laidback setting for delegates to get away from the hustle and bustle of the concrete jungle. Conversely, rooftop bars are also trending as they offer a glimpse into the island-nation's exciting nightlife. 

Tropical gardens meets world-class event venue

Beautiful blooms on display in the Flower Dome - truly a sight for sore eyes.
(Credits: Gardens by the Bay)

But while trends may come and go, Gardens by the Bay has managed to stand the test of time to remain one of the most sought-after options frequently requested by clients. 

Enjoy a cool walk anytime of the day through the ethereal mist-filled Cloud Forest - home to one of the world's tallest indoor waterfall. (Credits: Gardens by the Bay)

Not only has the multi-award winning horticultural destination elevated Singapore's reputation as a 'City in a Garden' , it serves as a world-class event venue for planners. 

"Gardens by the Bay has the unique setting of both outdoor and indoor gardens, juxtaposed with the striking architecture of the cooled conservatories and Supertrees. The Gardens is able to take an event beyond the confines of a conventional ballroom or function hall, making it an ideal off-site venue for a networking event, cocktail reception or gala dinner," said Darren Oh, senior director, business development, Gardens by the Bay.

Kathryn Loh, general manager of SingExpress Travel.

Having recommended and held numerous events at the Gardens (more than 10 times to date), SingExpress' general manager Kathryn Loh is no stranger to the venue. She said, "One of the greatest things about the Gardens is that it is already attractive on its own. You don't have to do much dressing up, and this is especially great for clients who are tight on décor budget."

Belle of the ball

Dressed to impress: Gardens by the Bay's signature event space, Flower Field Hall. (Credtis: Gardens by the Bay)

At the Gardens, one of the most frequently used spots is Flower Field Hall, which is set within the colourful garden of Flower Dome. 

While the indoor venue spans across 1,200 sqm, it is versatile enough to cater to events of all sizes, ranging from an intimate standing cocktail to a formal sit-down gala dinner. 

Treat delegates to spectacular views of the Marina Bay waterfront. (Credits: Gardens by the Bay)

"After having been coped up in hotels and convention settings all day, people want to get out and experience something that's out of the norm. Here, attendees get to enjoy spectacular views of the Flower Field hall during the meal, and can even choose to sightsee at leisure during the event," opined World Express' Tan.

"By segregating the space with carefully curated decorations and props, planners can maximise its potential by holding a cocktail, semi-buffet and post-dinner performance all in one location," suggested SingExpress' Loh. 

Green goals 

Gardens by the Bay: A symbol of sustainability in an urban jungle. (Credits: Gardens by the Bay)

With sustainability forming the backbone of the concept of Gardens by the Bay, it sits well with clients who are concerned about the environment and acts as a great venue, not just for events but also teambuilding. 

The Conservatory features cutting-edge systems that provide energy-efficient solutions. (Credits: Gardens by the Bay)

Planners can take a leaf out of SingExpress' book by adding teambuilding to walkaround tours. Loh shared that during one instance, her team organised a 'Green Living'-themed session, which involved getting delegates to move around the venue to identity plants.

"Think of it as a leisurely Amazing Race," she said.

Step outside to create the unexpected

Gardens by the Bay offers outdoor venues such as Silver Leaf, Secret Life of Trees and The Meadow. (Credits: Gardens by the Bay)

While outdoor venues can sometimes be trickier to handle due to weather unpredictability and the need for more event styling, Loh has utilised the 600-sqm Silver Leaf set under the canopy of Supertrees on countless occasions, as her long-haul clients, typically from Europe and the US, tend to prefer being out in the open. 

Lit-up Supertrees make for a stunning event backdrop. (Credits: Gardens by the Bay)

Her tips? Have a good back-up venue in mind (like Flower Field Hall, which is sheltered), and invest in glow furniture or light up bars to really enhance your event.

Ending on a high

Your very own 'Secret Garden': Secret Life of Trees offers an intimate and exclusive setting that's great for cocktails. (Credits: Gardens by the Bay)

Incorporating some details that delight can be a great way to leave a lasting impression on attendees. Both Tan and Loh agree that the Gardens' signature light-and-sound show, Garden Rhapsody, is a fantastic element to consider adding to an event.

There's nothing quite like celebrating the success of an event amidst glowing Supertrees with Champagne. (Credits: Gardens by the Bay)

Planners can choose from two options: the Secret Life of Trees, which offers an exclusive al fresco setting and superb views of the Supertree Grove, or Champagne@OCBC Skyway, an aerial walkway 22m above the ground that gives attendees an upclose and personal interaction with the Supertree Grove.

The latter is made even more special as show timings can be exclusively scheduled for guests, depending on the event's requirements.  

"It's magical, Avatar-like, and a great way to end off an evening," commented Tan. 

Never a dull moment

The Promenade Lawn at Bay East Garden is a verdant location that is suitable for any outdoor event. (Credits: Gardens by the Bay)

To keep things fresh for planners and clients, Gardens by the Bay continually injects new elements to its offerings, ensuring it remains top of mind for both first-timers and repeat visitors to Singapore. 

Strategically situated along the start/finish line of Singapore's Formula One track, Bay Central Garden offers stunning waterfront views and ample event space. (Credits: Gardens by the Bay)

"We have opened up new event venues at Bay East Garden and Bay Central Garden. At Bay East Garden, we have two waterfront spaces - Promenade Lawn and Bay East Bridge - which offer spectacular views of Singapore's city skyline and are ideal for special festivals and major sporting events, including water sports. At Bay Central Garden, which is situated along the start/finish line of Singapore's Formula One track and provides breathtaking views of Gardens by the Bay, Marina Barrage and Singapore Flyer, ample space is available for a diverse range of events," commented Oh. 

This article was produced by M&C Asia, in partnership with Gardens by the Bay


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