. How collaboration kick-started Malaysia’s Business Event industry | Meetings & Conventions Asia

How collaboration kick-started Malaysia’s Business Event industry

Venues such as Setia SPICE and Setia City Convention Centre are paving the road to recovery with smart tech solutions, enhanced health & safety protocols, and new hybrid event models.

Venues like Setia SPICE and Setia City Convention Centre are working together with a task force of industry partners across Malaysia to prepare for the ‘new normal’.
Venues like Setia SPICE and Setia City Convention Centre are working together with a task force of industry partners across Malaysia to prepare for the ‘new normal’.

Malaysia is leading the way when it comes to regional business events (BE) recovery, largely thanks to collaborative efforts by a number of key industry players. In July, the industry came together to launch the Business Events Guidelines and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), a collaborative effort to spur the safe reopening of domestic business events across the country.

Developed with government and in accordance with the Malaysian National Security Council, the SOPs have already been implemented across a number of venues, with companies like S P Setia leading the charge.

S P Setia owns and manages Setia City Convention Centre (SCCC) in Selangor and Setia SPICE Convention Centre in Penang, the world's first hybrid solar-powered events venue. Senior Executive Vice President, Datuk Koe Peng Kang, says the venues have always put the safety of visitors and event attendees at the forefront of operations.

“At both Setia SPICE and SCCC, we ensure a safe and secure environment for our guests,” he said. “We are taking events to new heights by strictly adhering to the comprehensive SOPs that outline new standards for organising business events in the ‘next normal’. We have been working together with a task force of industry partners across Malaysia to ensure that every aspect of the event planning process is covered.”

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AI-powered facial recognition technology ensures health and safety checks can be carried out seamlessly.


Safety first

At Setia SPICE and SCCC, the safe resumption of events includes reimagined event formats with seating arrangements that adhere to safe distancing measures; frequent hand sanitisation stations and staggered event scheduling with controllable crowd density; an in-house emergency response team and designated isolation room for visitors who present with flu-like symptoms; individually-packed F&B offerings with disposable cutlery; and contactless payment solutions.

The venues have also implemented a new thermal imaging temperature scan system that
integrates temperature measurement with AI-powered facial recognition technology, face mask detection, access control with attendance tracking. These features provide identity recognition and access management, while the automated system makes contact tracing quick and easy.

Additional safety measures include the use of QR codes to register attendees, and the mandatory use of face masks for all visitors and staff.

As far as physical distancing is concerned, the BE Guidelines and SOPs dictate that venues can now accommodate one person per 2.25 sqm, the number of permitted attendees now depends on the size of the event space, the larger the venue, the more people it can host

Individually-packed F&B offerings with disposable cutlery at part of the new health and safety measures implemented at SCCC and Setia SPICE.
Individually-packed F&B offerings with disposable cutlery at part of the new health and safety measures implemented at SCCC and Setia SPICE.


In July, Penang Convention and Exhibition Bureau (PCEB) and Penang state government, launched the ‘Next Normal Guidelines’ for Business Events in Penang — a comprehensive document detailing SOPs for organising business events in the next normal. With this, BE stakeholders in Penang, including SPICE, aim to restore confidence among international event planners.  

With a 4,000sqm pillarless ballroom, 13 function rooms and a multipurpose indoor stadium, known as Arena, there’s plenty of space (7,300sqm in total which can fit up to 15,000 persons at once) at Setia SPICE for event planners to safely manage physical distancing. Meanwhile, as Malaysia’s first Green Building Index (GBI) certified venue, SCCC features more than 9,400sqm of total event space, including three pillarless ballrooms,eight function rooms and two exhibition halls.

Event registration in the ‘new normal’ will include contactless technology such as QR codes.
Event registration in the ‘new normal’ will include contactless technology such as QR codes.


Rebuilding trust

For Koe, communication around new health and safety measures is key to restoring market confidence. So, Setia SPICE and SCCC, recently launched its ‘Relax, We Got You!’ campaign to ease the minds of event planners.

“Since the pandemic outbreak, the world has evolved with virtual technology. Our venues were quickly equipped with the necessary technology and stringent procedures to ensure the safety and health of our employees and visitors,” he said.

“Regardless of Covid-19, a trusted venue partner ranks right atop our priority list.”
Jason Yap, Group General Manager, i-Star Events



Jason Yap, Group General Manager of i-Star Events, the events arm of STAR Media Group, has held several events at Setia venues, and says trust is key when sourcing venue partners — especially when it comes to flexibility and communication.

“Regardless of Covid-19, a trusted venue partner ranks right atop our priority list,” he said. “In the ‘new normal’, our top priority remains the comfort and safety of everyone involved in the execution of our events.

“Adequate education/communication on the procedures pertaining to our events, a systematic logistics mechanism and proper adherence to government SOPs are some of the other concerns we have, but the fact that we have been partnering with Setia venues for our events for such a long time is testament to our endorsement of their professionalism and trustworthiness,” he said.

With more than 9,400sqm of event space, there’s plenty of room at SCCC for re-imagined event formats that adhere to physical distancing.
With more than 9,400sqm of event space, there’s plenty of room at SCCC for re-imagined event formats that adhere to physical distancing.


Gearing up for a ‘hybrid’ future

To support the rebound of domestic BE, S P Setia has also incorporated a number of new smart tech features to bolster the ability of its venues to host virtual and hybrid meetings.
 
SCCC and Setia SPICE have partnered with Selangor-based event tech provider, meGo Event, to provide a range of new digital services, such as on-site video production, a live-streaming studio with customisable backgrounds and motion graphics, as well as heatmap analytics and digital entrance tracking to monitor event traffic in real-time.

“We are currently helping [clients] create connections via hybrid meeting models.”
Setia Senior Executive Vice President, Datuk Koe Peng Kang



Koe says the key to successful hybrid events is finding the ‘sweet spot’ between software and hardware. “While most of our clients are eager to return to large live events, we are currently helping them create connections via hybrid meeting models that make the most of our world-leading spaces and new digital tools,” he said.   

“We have the capabilities and capacity to offer hybrid events as S P Setia is in the midst of its planned digital journey. We can equip our venues with the latest technology and train our staff to be even more digitally savvy, while providing services to our clients,” he added.

In fact, Setia SPICE is gearing up to host the World Congress on Information Technology (WCIT) on 18–20 November 2020 as a hybrid event that will include physical events, live telecast and a virtual technology festival.

Opening in 2021, Amari SPICE Penang will be directly linked to the Setia SPICE Convention Centre.
Opening in 2021, Amari SPICE Penang will be directly linked to the Setia SPICE Convention Centre.


New accommodation offerings

Amari SPICE Penang is set to open in 2021, with direct access to the Setia SPICE Convention Centre. The hotel’s 453 rooms will complement the offerings of this landmark destination with the market-inspired Amaya Food Gallery. Additional facilities include the Breeze Spa, an executive lounge for club floor and suite guests, and an outdoor pool and gym.

In Selangor, the new Courtyard by Marriott Setia Alam will also open next year, offering 225 stylish rooms and suites right next to Setia City Convention Centre. A range of dining options and recreational facilities (including a sun deck) will allow meeting and events delegates to seamlessly transition between work and relaxation.

Meanwhile, the nearby Setia City Mall is home to 230 local and international retailers and specialty stores, with a new mall expansion expected to open in 2021, making it the biggest mall in Shah Alam.

Venues like Setia SPICE and Setia City Convention Centre are working together with a task force of industry partners across Malaysia to prepare for the ‘new normal’ in events.
Venues like Setia SPICE and Setia City Convention Centre are working together with a task force of industry partners across Malaysia to prepare for the ‘new normal’ in events.


Incentives for event planners

The Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB), together with Setia SPICE, SCCC and a number of industry partners, recently launched the ‘Meet in Malaysia' campaign. This encompasses two simultaneous initiatives: Let’s Meet Locally, which includes competitive packages and government subsidies to stimulate domestic meetings; and Let’s Meet Tomorrow, which looks further down the road to encourage international planners to return to Malaysia once travel restrictions are eased.

The Let’s Meet Locally programme will run until December 2021 and is applicable to events with at least 30 delegates. Support from the bureau and participating industry partners will come in the form of subsidies or services.

Meanwhile, the Let's Meet Tomorrow initiative will assist local industry players to prepare for the future of international events, and will come into effect when the country's international border reopens. On top of this, MyCEB rolled out additional packages: the Tactical Malaysia Twin Deal V, Exhibition Enhancement Package, and Homegrown Event Support.

S P Setia’s Koe added: “We are working closely with MyCEB and PCEB to explore channels to convince clients and potential delegates to consider holding events at our venues as we have strict procedures in place.”

Check out these videos highlighting the safety measures in place at Setia City Convention Centre & Setia SPICE Convention Centre to ensure the safety of your attendees at your next event.

 

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This article is brought to you by SETIA CITY CONVENTION CENTRE and SETIA SPICE