After a brief hiatus, industry leader and former APAC director of CWT M&E, Sam Lay is back in action — as a partner and executive director of 1000meetings, an online venue sourcing platform for meetings and events.
Launched in 2007 and headquartered in Shanghai, 1000meetings has typically focused on the domestic meetings market in China, but with Lay taking charge in Singapore the company is poised for expansion into Southeast Asia.
“Technology will play an increasingly important role in the business events industry, and Covid-19 has given us a strong mandate to enhance the brand,” Lay told M&C Asia.
Having recently established the company’s Singapore outpost, Lay is now focused on building a team in the Lion City, while eyeing further expansion in the region and revamping the current platform for an international audience.
Looking ahead, Lay remains positive about market recovery. “People still want to meet and we see our role in facilitating this by helping corporate meeting planners leverage technology to make the right choices in a cost-effective way,” he said.
1000meetings aims to match corporate meeting and event planners with venues and ease the pressure of strategic meetings management (SMM) — especially when it comes to compliance.
“Compliance is at the core of corporate meetings and events and we’ve seen that corporates will go into extensive SMM programmes to ensure all sourcing and procurement is carried out in a compliant manner," he said. "When it comes to technology, planners want to feel safe and they want to trust [tech-powered] solutions. So, we are focused on helping corporate clients remain compliant without comprising the overall event experience."
Prior to joining 1000meetings, Lay served as APAC director at CWT Meetings & Events, and senior director for Greater China at BCD Meetings & Events, based in Shanghai. He’s spent close to 20 years in the business events industry, having worked at organisations across the value chain including the Singapore Tourism Board, MSD and Suntec International.