Build on strengthening partnerships to navigate the future of events, says BCD

The latest BCD Meeting Trends Report reveals a change for the better in Asia Pacific, with stronger collaborations setting the direction.

Collaboration between agencies, suppliers and partners has never been better, says Sanjay Seth, MD, APAC, BCD Meetings & Events.
Collaboration between agencies, suppliers and partners has never been better, says Sanjay Seth, MD, APAC, BCD Meetings & Events. Photo Credit:gettyimages/alphaspirit

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 them safe.

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 stakeholders.

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.

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