Meetings like no other

Looking to host a meeting for employees away from the usual company office backdrop? HRM takes a peek at some ideal venues and also offers some useful pointers for organisers

In a recent survey by headset manufacturer Sennheiser Communications, a whopping 70% of British workers polled claimed they continuously zoned out while stuck in meetings.

What’s worse is that according to the accompanying research, the average British employee will sit through a staggering 6,240 meetings over their career (see: boxout).

While Martijn Dekker, Director of Marketing, Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel, will not be able to vouch for the number of meetings employees in Singapore will have to sit through, he says there has certainly been an increase in the number of meetings, incentives, conferencing, and exhibitions (MICE) events held by employers in recent years. These include incentive trips, trainings and meetings.

“This could be attributed to an increase in emphasis on training programmes and team building events that increase the productivity of employees, as well as team spirit,” explains Dekker.

In the same way. We-Le Ong, Senior Manager, MICE, Resorts World Sentosa (RWS), says that RWS has also seen an increase in MICE events.

Meetings away from company HQ

According to Dekker, more and more employers are doing away with traditional meetings and instead holding them in swanky settings away from the company headquarters.

“There is an increasing trend of employers holding their MICE events in the meeting rooms or the Grand Ballroom of the Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel,” he says.

“With professional meeting planners such as Marriott’s Red Coat ambassadors onsite, together with an array of facilities, dining options and the Red Coat Meeting Services App, employers are able to seamlessly plan for their successful MICE events.”

Ong says clients’ own offices usually have a limited capacity for meetings, and a rising proportion of companies are conducting MICE-related events in bigger venues.

“We have received more meeting enquiries with team building activities incorporated in them. And for larger and regional meetings, we offer the ideal venue,” he says.

“Our unique event venues, coupled with our attractions and competitive pricing, has played a part in the increase of MICE events being held.”

Meeting checklist

Before convening meetings outside the workplace, it is imperative that companies plan a list of checklist factors, says Dekker.

He identifies a slew of aspects to be considered, including: the purpose and objective of the event, the theme, scale and budget, technological requirements, food and beverage, the availability of business services and facilities, guest rooms, meeting location and the availability of under-one-roof services such as dining options, or spa and fitness facilities.

On the other hand, Ong says firms should consider conducting meetings away from traditional hotel venues and away from distractions.

Mass MICE offerings

With a bounty of MICE options to choose from, organisations now have the ability to craft succinct and productive meetings that cater to their every need.

Ong says RWS can provide a “one-of-a-kind experience” for organisations and their employees, including with its Yoga at Ocean Gallery, Ride & Dine at the Universal Studios, and Sentosa Scavenger Hunt programme, among some of its flagship MICE services.

Meanwhile, with over 1,500 square metres of meeting space, including 13 versatile meeting rooms and a refurbished Grand Ballroom, the Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel also offers organisers flexibility and choice.

“At our hotel, organisers are able to enjoy Marriott’s Red Coat Programme – your assurance of dedicated and excellent team support, state-of-the-art technologies, customised dining menus, an array of business services, contemporary guest rooms, complimentary Wi-Fi, a priority tax queue for organisers, and unrivalled accessibility,” says Dekker.

“They can now request, respond and connect in real-time with Marriott’s Red Coat ambassadors on any web-enabled device,” he explains.

MICE mistakes to avoid

In order to prevent MICE events from turning into duds, Ong shares several issues that employers should steer clear from.

Firstly, he says firms should avoid underestimating MICE-related meeting sizes, which can result in insufficient seating for employees.

“For instance, function rooms or ballrooms may be unable to hold the requested capacity,” Ong explains.

Secondly, he says not adhering to the programme schedule will delay proceedings, hence adding further to timing issues.

No kidding! 6,240 meetings in a career

If you’re grumbling about having to attend a meeting, spare a thought for your British counterparts.

According to a survey by headset manufacturer Sennheiser Communications, workers in the UK are scheduled to attend a mind-boggling 6,240 meetings over the course of their working life.

Judging by some of the sentiments expressed in the survey, an overwhelming majority are not thrilled with this notion.

The survey deduced that:

  • 60% of respondents claimed they found most meetings “pretty pointless”
  • One in five adults confessed to sleeping during a work meeting, with the usual person catching forty winks for at least two minutes
  • One in five employees admitted to making mistakes due to zoning out in a meeting, with over a quarter citing that they had made more than 10 huge errors because of this
  • For a quarter of those dozing off, their co-workers saw the humorous side, though 18% were stung by their boss’ fury
  • One in 10 was so comfortable they either drooled or snored during the meeting
  • Of the 2000 employed surveyed, close to a quarter revealed they usually drifted off if the meeting was first thing in the morning. However, a third cited that they switch-off if the meeting was too late during the day
  • Two thirds claimed if the meeting wasn’t pertinent to them, they steadily become less interested.
  • Over half of the workers polled believed their team members organised offsite meetings simply so they could spend time outside the office
  • 16% of employees only come for meetings for the prospect of expensive coffee and biscuits

 

Hong Kong - A MICE powerhouse

Hong Kong has reinforced its credentials as a top MICE destination globally.

Meetings and Exhibitions Hong Kong (MEHK), the MICE arm of the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB), successfully won a slew of bids in 2014 to become the host city to four major conventions and corporate events.

Hong Kong will play host to these events throughout 2015 to 2016. It is the first time that two of the four MICE events will be held outside of the US.

Marking the associaiation’s 50th Anniversary, the 26th International Congress of the Transplantation Society will take place in Hong Kong in August next year, with an estimated 5,500 attendees expected to converge.

“The International Congress of the Transplantation Society has recognised for some time that from a transplant perspective, this is the Asian century. In demonstrating a commitment to worldwide access to transplantation, we can think of no better place to hold the 2016 event than in one of the major gateways to Asia,” said Phillip O’Connell, President, of the Transplantation Society.

“Hong Kong is an exciting destination reflecting the cultural mix of the territory’s Chinese roots with influences from its time as a British colony. The Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, located on the magnificent and renowned Victoria Harbour, is a wonderful venue to mark a major milestone for the society as we will be celebrating our 50th Anniversary.”

Along with the 26th International Congress of the Transplantation Society, Hong Kong has been named host of the following large-scale events:

  • American Society of Association Executives Great Ideas Conference 2015

In March this year, the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) grew its presence in Asia with the first-ever international event held in Hong Kong. ASAE’s Great Ideas in Association Management Conference, Asia-Pacific is the organisation’s first conference outside of North America. The event attracted attendees from the Asia-Pacific region along with participants from the US, Europe, and the Middle East.

  • HxGN LIVE Hong Kong

HxGN LIVE, Hexagon’s international conference and tech expo, is scheduled for November 18-20 this year, and the Hong Kong event marks the first time the conference will be held in Asia. The event is anticipated to play host to about 3,000 attendees.

  • Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) Experience in 2016

Fashioned after Million Dollar Round Table’s prestigious annual meeting, this event offers cutting-edge sales techniques and ideas, technical information and motivational concepts for those in the life insurance and financial services business. The event is expected to draw approximately 6,000 attendees.

“As the meeting place between East and West, Hong Kong is a one-of-a-kind destination for MICE events offering high standards of hospitality and accommodation, as well as a vast array of leisure activities,” said Bill Flora, the US Director of the Hong Kong Tourism Board.

“We look forward to working with the three organisations and welcoming their guests with open arms to “Asia’s World City”.

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