Meeting venues need to keep up with the times: PCMA

Deborah Sexton, president and CEO, PCMA

CONFERENCE venues are urged to be flexible and adapt to the evolving needs of today’s clients in the meetings and events industry.

According to PCMA president and CEO Deborah Sexton, clients are moving away from individualism and towards “tribal communities of like-minded, passionate individuals”.

Addressing the audience during the Singapore MICE Forum yesterday, she said: “As tribes grow in popularity, the planning, execution and evaluation of meetings will have to adapt in a way that fosters and leverages communities to heighten the experience.

“Venues are impacted in a big way, and they have to support these pop up communities by creating places within their venues that can change and create community environments quickly and efficiently, which is different from the past,” she elaborated.

Speaking to TTG Asia e-Daily, International Convention Centre Sydney’s chief executive, Geoff Donaghy, acknowledged the need for such “adaptive environments” and said: “Some venues may be ready for such changes but some will take more time because venues generally have hardware limitations like the ceilings and walls.

“However, we know that to keep up with the competition, venues need to be flexible and ready for changes so we have been innovative with our new design at the ICC Sydney,” he said.

Donaghy explained that conferences of today are no longer contained in the main convention hall but in many smaller breakout rooms and in networking sessions.

He illustrated: “In the old model, we may have to provide five (breakout) rooms for 200 delegates, but now it is about providing 200 spaces with furniture and coffee for five delegates in each area.”

Meanwhile, Sexton further highlighted how almost all conference venues today have vastly improved or are in the midst of improving their WiFi capabilities, a display of how they are keeping abreast with technology.

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