Mike Lee

Please tell us about your organisation?

As Asia’s leading business, leisure and entertainment destination, Marina Bay Sands’ iconic design and multidimensional offerings have transformed Singapore’s city skyline and its tourism landscape since the integrated resort opened on 27 April 2010. Located in the heart of Singapore’s Central Business District, the destination offers a luxury hotel, state-of-the art convention and exhibition facilities, theatres, world class entertainment as well as the best shopping and dining in the region.

How was the year 2014 for your business?

Our MICE-led integrated resort model has been extremely successful and serves as a winning formula that allows us to continue attracting major international and new-to Singapore shows. Marina Bay Sands broke records in 2013 with over 70 tradeshows, compared to 51 in 2012. Since opening, the IR has also brought in over 50 new-to-Singapore tradeshows, as well as multi-year contracts which saw many significant returning shows, such as Art Stage Singapore, World Cities Summit and World Retail Congress.

New-to-market shows: Since the start of 2014, we have already confirmed 15 new-to-Singapore shows for the year.These shows are bigger in scale and prominence. Some of the newto- market shows hosted at Marina Bay Sands such as the art and design fair Maison & Objet Asia and security conference series Blackhat Asia. Being the venue of choice for these shows demonstrates our ability to deliver a quality platform for them to debut in Asia.

Sands also saw many significant returning shows in 2014. They include ArtStage Singapore, Asia Pacific Maritime, World Retail Congress, World Cities Summit, Tax Free World Association (TFWA) as well as Singapore International Water Week. Communic Asia and Broadcast Asia have also returned to host their event at Marina Bay Sands for the fourth and second time respectively. ArtStage Singapore held its exhibition at Sands Expo and Convention Centre for the 4th time this year, since its debut in Singapore in 2011. Marina Bay Sands is also the Official Hotel and Venue Partner for the recently concluded ITB Asia from 2014 – 2016. Green Meetings: As anISO certified venue, we are already greener than most MICE operators to beginwith. We champion sustainable event planning under the Sands ECO360o Green Meetings to help organisers achieve their green meeting goals. At this year’s ITB Asia, Marina Bay Sands worked alongside Messe Berlin to stage the tradeshow’s first-ever carbon neutral event since the show started. ITB Asia 2014 also championed several sustainable firsts for a travel trade show of such magnitude. Under the guidance of the integrated resort’s team of sustainability experts, the organiser exceeded its original 5 per cent target to record an impressive 34 per cent reduction in the overall carbon footprint, from 399 tonnes in 2012 to 262 tonnes in 2014. Total electricity consumed also saw a significant decrease of 34.5 percent from 2012. A total of 2.6 tonnes of brochures were also collected and recycled at the end of the event. The nature of such a recycling drive is a first for ITB Asia, as well as Marina Bay Sands.

What would be the growth marketing and business development strategy for 2015?

Combining work and play: The intensely competitive Asian travel industry has raised the stakes for innovative ideas that provide a truly distinctive travel experience, such as one that combines accommodation, luxury retail, unique culinary and entertainment concepts into the MICE package

As a one-stop destination for business, leisure and entertainment, Marina Bay Sands offers round-the-clock and multidimensional offerings for business and leisure travellers alike. We are constantly reinvigorating our leisure and entertainment offerings to ensure we deliver the best through our world-class venues and service. Growing emphasis on green meetings: The industry is seeing growing emphasis on green meetings with more meeting planners looking to partner venues capable of helping them achieve their sustainable goals or giving back to the community.

As an ISO 20121 certified property, Marina Bay Sands has ready resources and knowledge to value-add to clients’ specific green goals, for instance, by providing solutions for a carbon-offset meeting and offering sustainably sourced food Under Sands Eco360, our global sustainability strategy, we have helped clients create carbon impact statements that provide post-event reports of their sustainability initiatives. Talent development: Marina Bay Sands places great emphasis on our workforce and we invest heavily in training. As a MICEled integrated resort, having a team of well-trained staff will enable us to better assist our clients in designing unique meeting experiences for them.

Use of technology / social media to drive content and engage travellers: Technological advances and the rise of social media have presented the need for MICE operators to leverage on social media platforms to engage its target audience and build its online brand reputation. These social media platforms are also important in helping operators curate their content and personalise the online experience. Social Media is increasingly important to Marina Bay Sands, and we reach out to our visitors through channels such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and recently, Instagram. We have garnered close to 400,000 likes on our official Facebook page, generating over 1.5 million unique visits. The social media platforms are powerful tools that not allow us to continually engage the travel/MICE communities.