The Covid-19 pandemic may have created a divide in the business
events industry for the past two years, but much like the opposite poles
of a magnet, the force remains strong among the events community.
Hybrid or otherwise, face-to-face meetings are desired by many who crave
the human interaction that makes events come alive.
“Progress can be difficult at times, but we are certainly seeing a
change for the better in Asia Pacific. It feels like we’re in a bit of a
tug-of war with Covid-19, managing constantly changing regulations by
market where the ability to deliver face-to-face meetings is controlled.
Optimism, however, is growing with increased vaccination rates,” said
Sanjay Seth, MD, APAC, BCD Meetings & Events in the latest BCD
Meetings & Events 2022 Trends Report.
The impact of collective efforts
“Collaboration between agencies,
suppliers and partners has never been better. Clearly, we are ready to
move on—and we are, slowly but surely. Our virtual and hybrid executions
amplify the customer message across multiple channels, as we recently
showcased for Michelin in Singapore. And customers in Australia have led
the return to face-to-face meetings, which is encouraging for the
region,” adds Seth.
Last year, MICE organisers in Singapore pushed through the labyrinth
of Covid-19 protocols and worked with their suppliers to hold
large-scale exhibitions that welcomed back international attendees.
Flying the flag were events such as Industrial Transformation Asia
Pacific, Restaurants Asia, Milken Institute Asia Summit and Bloomberg
New Economy Forum. They were pilot events in a scheme that permitted
large business gatherings with fully-vaccinated attendees who have been
tested for Covid-19.
On a broader scale, BCD Meetings & Events Global President Scott
Graff also shared in the report that “2021 has solidified the true
business need of meetings and events and face-to-face interaction to
drive business forward”.
He added, “We have relied on trusted partnerships more than ever and
have seen our team members in all corners of the world show up every day
determined to support our organisation, each other and, most
importantly, our customers.”
He emphasised that there was a need to go back to basics to
re-evaluate and to question why customers need meetings and events to
change behaviour and the importance of engaging attendees while keeping
Back to basics in attendee engagement
The trends report indicated a greater emphasis on the role of event
designers. Moving beyond the logistical perspective, it is even more
vital that planners rethink their strategies in engaging attendees every
step of the way. Content tracks for in-person, virtual or hybrid events
will have to deliver an impact on experience as well as ROI to
In Asia Pacific, there is an underlying excitement over the
resumption of face-to-face interactions, but planners remain careful in
adhering to government regulations. Management of safe distancing
protocols while enhancing engagement is key.
For future hybrid and in-person events, sessions must be shorter with
more emphasis on practical applications and less theory. Interactions
during these sessions are important as well as one-on-one sessions to
facilitate effective sharing and learning.
The region also sees a continuation of personal touches such as home meal deliveries to complement virtual experiences.