With the fresh new MICE concept Huone Singapore Events Hotel, and a spate of new properties that opened in 2017, Singapore is experiencing a refresh of epic proportions. Having long mastered sophistication and commerce (and more recently, technology), the city-state is now inviting visiting meeting-goers to find their passion.
In February 2017, the Huone Singapore Events Hotel opened on Clarke Quay. The new Singapore property is the second venue for the Helsinki-based company Huone (literally, "Room"), and offers 11 event spaces for six persons to 400 with such striking concepts as Igloo, Cloud, and Forest. Says Kershing Goh, regional director of Singapore Tourism Board Americas, "Huone Singapore is another example of Singapore's commitment to reinventing MICE experiences and adding diversity to the venue landscape."
Elsewhere, the five-star, 2,561-room Marina Bay Sands -- Singapore's largest hotel -- was this year's most Instagrammed property, according to (who else?) Instagram. The hotel had more than one million photos uploaded in 2017. With its extensive grounds, luxury shops, exclusive guest levels, and sound-and-light technology, the Marina Bay Sands is a frequent choice for major launches.
Singapore ranks consistently as one of the top MICE destinations in the world. In 2016, the city ranked first in Asia and sixth worldwide, according to the International Congress and Convention Association; also, the Union of International Associations ranked Singapore third globally as an international meetings country.
Goh attributes this in part to the destination's welcoming visa policy, a strong business ecosystem, and a stable and neutral political environment. This, she says, "has created an ideal environment in which business meetings of all sizes can be held."
In addition, Singapore's infrastructure is relatively easy for visitors to navigate. "The compactness of our city," says Goh, "means that getting from one place to another is extremely time efficient. The proximity of Changi Airport to city center and our top-notch MICE venues is a mere 20 minutes by taxi. Within city center, MICE meeting spaces and hotels are also located within walking distance, minimizing the need for transportation and reducing costs."
Airlift to and from the U.S. Pacific Coast has been on the rise. Singapore Airlines debuted from San Francisco in 2016; United Airlines launched airlift from San Francisco in June 2017, and from Los Angeles in October 2017.
Passion in Progress
Singapore launched a new branding campaign in August 2017 with the daring new tagline, "Passion Made Possible." The new brand, according to Lionel Yeo, chief executive of Singapore Tourism Board (STB), "articulates what we stand for as a country and supports the telling of many stories about this destination and its people."
To get out the message, STB partnered with Northstar Meetings Group (of which Successful Meetings is a part) to illuminate exemplary Singaporean meeting professionals; and with Maritz Global Events' proprietary Experience Design Labs technology to create a virtual reality-based product for meeting planners. At the destination, the STB has worked with local tour operators to devise unique new itineraries that appeal to visitors' culinary, cultural, or adventurous "passions."
Among the offerings to debut in late 2017: The 64-room Sofitel Singapore City Center, with 20,000 square feet of function space; the 225-room Hotel InterContinental Robertson Quay, with three intimate meeting spaces; the 610-cabin Yotel Singapore, featuring a multitasking space in its 10th floor; and the 342-room Andaz Singapore -- the first Andaz in Southeast Asia.
This article appears in the January 2018 issue of Successful Meetings