As we step into a new year, event professionals are more optimistic than ever about the meetings industry, with two-thirds of global planners expecting to host more in-person meetings in 2023 than 2022, revealed the latest findings from Northstar/Cvent Meetings Industry Pulse Survey published in December 2022. With in-person meetings back in the books and a global desire to strengthen connections with one another, it’s more crucial than ever for planners to elevate the event experience and turn it into a highly impactful one their attendees won’t forget.
In Singapore, the unique mix of cosmopolitan flair, culinary delights and architectural wonders offer infinite ways to wow meeting and incentive groups through one-of-a-kind experiences. From vintage Vespa sidecar tours through heritage enclaves to gala dinners in concert halls, let your imagination take centre stage to transform your next meeting in Singapore into an extraordinary event. The possibilities are endless.
Work the room for game-changing conferences
Breathe fresh air – and ideas – into your next conference at Gardens by the Bay, one of Singapore’s three national gardens. Exclusive events and cocktail receptions can be held in Silver Leaf under the canopy of silver-hued Supertrees, or above ground on the 128m OCBC Skyway aerial walkway arching across Supertree Grove (tip: enthrall guests with a specially scheduled light-and-sound show). To present its vision of a greener future, the Berlin-based GREENTECH FESTIVAL picked the 1,200sqm Flower Field Hall for its inaugural Asian event in Singapore in November 2022, with former F1 world champion Nico Rosberg and Asian pop star JJ Lin leading conversations on sustainability within the magnificent glass house that overlooks the perpetual blooms of Flower Dome on one end and the waterfront skyline of Singapore on the other.
One of the world’s largest aquariums, the S.E.A. Aquarium at Resorts World Sentosa, is an incredible attraction home to over 100,000 marine creatures. Its Ocean Gallery, with an expansive glass dome and a three-tiered gallery framing up the living underwater masterpiece on display, has been the centrepiece for experiential events ranging from gastronomical dinners to classical music concerts and yoga sessions. The immersive space is also a venue of choice for high-profile conferences like TEDx Weekend Singapore in June 2022, which brought TEDsters from around the world to connect and explore the best practices on battling climate change and promoting eco-diversity as shoals of fish and gliding manta rays swam around them.
Beyond Singapore’s contemporary landmarks, immersive conference experiences can also come to life in heritage buildings. The Civic District, a storied precinct where the National Gallery Singapore and Sir Stamford Raffles statue stand, is home to an array of distinctive venues that provide an ideal setting for business events too. The Arts House (the Former Parliament House), a building dating back to 1827, will certainly bring old world charm and an air of dignity to any event hosted within its beautiful neoclassical-style architecture. At the heart of the House is the Chamber, where members of the Singapore Parliament once gathered to debate policies; today it is a popular and versatile venue that can be used for conferences, performances and stage productions for up to 200 pax.
Ready, set, dine: Stellar locations for exceptional galas
Gala dinners are a great way to bring people together to celebrate the success of an organisation, so upping the wow factor is incredibly important to delight and entertain attendees. Situated right by the Marina Bay waterfront, the Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay is a premier arts centre whose contemporary architecture and function spaces will instantly inject an air of gravitas to dinners and product launches. Take a leaf out of Cartier Beautés du Monde High Jewellery Collection Gala Dinner in July 2022, which transformed the 1,948-seat Esplanade Theatre into an exquisite showcase of artistic and culinary splendour, with the luxury jeweller treating 170 regional guests to the debut of its Beautés du Monde collection, an epicurean feast curated by three-Michelin-star chef Mauro Colagreco, a stunning aerial performance and a rousing concert by disco sensation Sister Sledge.
Many people know Jewel Changi Airport as a world-class lifestyle destination and architectural landmark, but not many know that this is also one of Singapore’s most striking spots for bespoke events. The iconic attraction has a range of event venues, notably the 1,000sqm Cloud9 Piazza whose unique vantage point on the topmost level of Jewel offers guests an unparalleled view of the 40m-tall HSBC Rain Vortex with water cascading down from the dome-shaped roof – by night, the waterfall is illuminated by the Light & Sound show. This picturesque space has provided an atmospheric backdrop for many corporate events and dinners, including the 17th ACI Asia-Pacific board dinner and The Trinity Forum gala dinner in 2022.
If you’re looking for an unconventional venue with an industrial twist, Pasir Panjang Power Station located at the Greater Southern Waterfront is a must. The red-bricked building that was once Singapore’s second power station has been among the go-to venues for art and music performances including the Singapore International Festival of Arts, while its vast industrial setting, exposed concrete and solid steel beams offer 13,500sqm of raw, flexible space for MICE planners to project their most creative ideas. This unusual facility also hosted show-stopping events such as L'Oréal’s gala night in 2020, which utilised lights, sound and visual media to craft an electrifying occasion, while Lego Playday for 400 staff members in 2022 is a perfect case in point of turning the bare space into an ingenious events playground. Coming up: Bar Convent, a bar and beverage trade show, will be heading to this station in November 2023.
Stay in touch with urban nature and local culture
There are few ways for delegates to recharge and get more deeply immersed in Singapore’s sustainable city ethos than a stay at this trailblazing ‘hotel in a garden’. A real stunner in biophilic design, the PARKROYAL COLLECTION Pickering Hotel embraces the beauty of Mother Nature through and through. Thanks to an innovative design integrated with forward-thinking business practices, zero-energy sky gardens of over 15,000sqm are maintained by gravity-driven rainwater irrigation to reduce water usage, while floor-to-ceiling glass panels were specially treated to inhibit heat but let in natural light.
For a taste of what makes Singapore-inspired hospitality, The Clan Hotel offers a contemporary take of Singapore’s clan heritage that characterises its Telok Ayer/Amoy neighbourhood through thoughtfully curated touchpoints. Be greeted by a tea master who serves Nanyang tea and shares the story of the particular blend’s unique origins and flavours; tuck into creative renditions of Singapore’s favourite dishes (chilli crab crostini, anyone?) at the Qin Restaurant & Bar, or go deep into kinship stories of the local community with The Clan Collective, made up of homegrown artisans and influential figures who are widely regarded as keepers of Singapore’s culture and heritage – think tastings of craft beer concocted with white chrysanthemum by brewer Ivan Yeo or tailor bespoke menswear with a dash of Oriental flair by stylist Chong Han San.
Swop Singapore’s bustling downtown for a touch of the Monte Carlo at One°15 Marina Club, located in the exclusive Sentosa Cove enclave. The club’s spacious rooms and suites, as well as the event and meeting spaces, exude a nautical theme with scenic views of the yacht-dotted marina and gentle hills, providing groups a unique place to meet, rest and play with ease. Up the wow factor for corporate or incentive groups by chartering a yacht from the marina, where for a couple of hours or an overnight cruise, teams can spend an amazing time at sea kayaking, standup paddling or explore the Lazarus Island and St John’s Island through teambuilding fun, and catch the amazing sunset views of Singapore’s city skyline over elegant cocktails and BBQ dinner.
Shake it up with new ways to connect
While people are eager to meet in person again, today’s tech-savvy attendees also want interactive experiences that will inspire and wow them. Take your event to new heights at Marina Bay Sands’ state-of-the-art Hybrid Event Broadcast Studio, which offers virtual conferencing options including a 3D stage with LED wall backdrops and floor, broadcast-quality livestreaming capabilities and holographic functionalities. The studio’s cutting-edge tech solutions were put to play at industry-leading conferences such as PCMA Convening Leaders 2021 and Michelin Guide 2022 Star Revelation and Gala Dinner, presenting cutting-edge ways that go beyond the confines of the physical space to transform an event experience for live and virtual audiences.
You’ve heard of the Singapore Zoo and Night Safari, but have you thought of meeting in an attraction filled with Asian myths and legends? Built in 1937, Haw Par Villa is an 8.5-hectare cultural park home to more than 1,000 detailed statues and diorama depicting vivid scenes from Chinese fables and folklore – the most famous being the Ten Courts of Hell. Parties, concerts and playwriting workshops have been held within its courtyard, including the VICE Asia Young Creators Summit 2019 which brought Gen-Z creators from across Asia Pacific together for a five-day conference. Or for something more thrilling, challenge teams to solve riddles and puzzles in escape games around the park to delve deep into realms unexplored.
Want to look at Singapore through a different vantage point? Hop aboard a vintage Vespa sidecar by Singapore Sidecars and take a tour through heritage districts like Kampong Gelam, Little India and Chinatown, weave through colonial-era buildings and landmarks dotting the Civic District, and meet with locals and hear their stories in conserved shophouses. This experience has been popular with MICE groups (up to 40 pax per session), and delegates get to swop between classic Volkswagen Beetles and Kombi vans alongside the sidecar fleet. Sitting amid these vintage vehicles makes for an engaging one-on-one chat with the knowledgeable driver who also doubles as a guide – not to mention the wonderful photo opportunities and stylish statement the group will be making on Singapore’s streets.
In Singapore, a diverse array of incredible spaces, event suppliers and experiences await to transform your ideas into reality. Click here to begin your journey to reimagine your next meeting in Singapore.
This article is sponsored by Singapore Tourism Board