Face To Face with M Q Syed @ Singapore MICE Forum 2019
M Q Syed (Editor-In-Chief, TradeFairTimes) in exclusive talks with Aloysius Arlando – President, SACEOS during Singapore MICE Forum 2019 at Resorts World Sentosa Convention Centre in Singapore.
MQS – We have seen such events in Asia but SACEOS is known to do it differently and has always something different to offer. What is that ‘different’ that you have for this year?
AA – I think for SACEOS we always take the cue from our members and what are they looking for in terms of how their businesses can grow and also how they themselves as experts and as an enterprise can also grow to take advantage of the opportunities put forth. One of the key things we look at is content and I guess it’s easier said than done. So, content is a nice word to use but I think what’s important is what goes into the content and for SMF 2019, based on feedback and looking at the trends and looking at some of the expectations of our customers, the whole idea about design, digital, community and how easy these elements are becoming cornerstones of future business events and are going to be very important for the players in the business events industry to look at seriously. And how can they then re-look at the business model to embed such elements to ensure that if they can be able to sustainably both financially as well as on a green practice basis serve the needs of their customers.
MQS – Serving the needs of the customers is the key to any event and SACEOS is always looking forward to organise such kind of interactions, meetings and events. You took over as the President in February 2019 with having little time in hand to plan this event along with others so what is your one-year Agenda and how do you plan to proceed with it?
AA – I think for SACEOS what we’ve taken from last year was to look at a whole continuity process so we changed our constitution in 2018 whereby we introduced the concept of President elect and then I was elected for the position by members of the community and so I had the good fortune of thinking about what we can do to continue the growth and focus of the industry association. So, yes I formally took over in February but I had the benefit of a year before and that got me thinking as to how I can build upon the good work of the past presidents and willing to go out of continuity is not to jettison the efforts of the past but how one can build upon it. So over the next year it was to look at one of the focused areas that’s going to be very important for the industry which include: professional development, training, how we can build enterprises and industry as a whole to be future ready. We look at digital innovation that’s key how do we adopt such technology and embed into our business, for it has to do with the whole business of community building and community building for us is to expand the membership base but more so to bring in the adjacent communities that help the business events industry or MICE industry as a whole. The last is about breadth, communication and advocacy. I believe we must continue the efforts to raise the profile of our industry as economic contributor as an enabler for industry growth. Specific initiatives are being booked on and platforms such as SMF serves to spotlight due to these efforts and many such initiatives are being looked on hence I believe this is going to keep me busy for a year but it’s very important for the industry. We are both humbled and privileged to be in this position to deliver those initiatives.
MQS – Great thoughts! Not only the position but to ‘deliver’ is important. I’ve seen that the association is now looking at moving forward, not just in Singapore but parts of Asia and I saw a lot of international participation this year. So, what is the trend all about and how do you plan to take it forward?
AA – I think we see ourselves as a key and a noble player in the global meetings space which is why we work closely with our partners both global and within associations not just to advance Singapore’s needs (that’s one part) but what’s important is to work together and be able to share experiences across different industry challenges. Many a times you’ll be surprised that it is very common. The solutions might be different but the analysis, the ability to synthesise such issues will be important to look at what are the solutions we can think of: why not work together? Put the collective system to work and then we shall find specific solutions that has to be locally dependant in order for us to roll initiatives. This is the persistent high I’ve talked about in my discussions and participation in global association events. I think they share the same view and why do we not work together both as individuals and global associations. Let’s identify what are some of the common pain-points and use each other’s experience as case studies. And how can we then finesse solutions to address those challenges then we’ll become fronting in our industry.
MQS – That’s key to the success of such kind of associations especially when you talk about being in MICE industry you have to be thinking globally and that’s the worldwide trend followed by companies from this industry. In that case, is SACEOS participating or partnering with other industry events in Asia? Can you name a few?
AA – We are a member of the Joint Meetings Industry Council that’s based out of Europe and its humbling to be the only national choice of association admitted committed to the Joint Meetings Industry Council as it is mainly a supra body of Global Associations. I think that signifies and demonstrates value that Singapore MICE Association, SACEOS can play in their respective development agendas. We are also in close partnerships with the likes of UFI, PCMA, AIBC and others to look at different aspects of the industry. How can we look at Professional Development? What are some of the programs we can work on together? Which can not only be adopted for Singapore but for the region. We also work closely with mutual associations from Indonesia, Thailand and Philippines to look at how the next generation of our professionals in MICE industry can benefit. So, we have for example the Singapore MICE Challenge which is for students participating in teams and we are very fortunate to have student participation from Indonesia as well as Thailand. I think this looks well for how collaborations can take place not just in the professional world but in a study environment (for students who participate in this event)
MQS – What is the Singapore MICE Challenge all about? Is it a sort of initiative to gather the best of talents on one platform or to provide them mentorship, guidance and funding? What is the objective?
AA – For the Singapore MICE Challenge we have two key objectives: One is to raise awareness of the importance of business events in any economic pursuit. This platform will help prosper industry development, knowledge exchange and collaboration across different verticals in an economy. It’s not about just any event but it’s a much targeted event aimed at not just economic but socio-economic programs. It creates jobs, it has impact on societies the event takes place in and it also helps in furthering the growth of a specific industry. Second is to give opportunity to the students to work towards something where in the platform they can showcase their expertise and knowledge, the lessons they’ve learnt and put it to real good use. I’m extremely happy that they are taking this very seriously, it is going from strength to strength and the students are really very competitive which is good! We want to keep that spirit alive. So, these are the two parts which raise the awareness and importance of the business events and secondly provide a platform to the students who aspire to use it and show what they’ve got! As a result of this Singapore MICE Challenge, the winners will have opportunity to join us in Global Participation of Trade Shows such as PCMA based in USA, UFI for their exhibition set of things and AFECA which is the regional association platform. It’s a stepping stone for exposure in other markets.