Building innovative sponsorship packages is consistently a hot topic in our industry. In the third edition of the PCMA Meetings Forum Singapore which took place in Singapore July 26-27, PCMA and The Singapore Tourism Board together were determined to innovate the education and design of this event and in particular, the sponsorship program. The purpose of this annual education event is to create an engaging program for association executives and meeting professionals to come together and discuss best practices, trends and challenges in association and conference management.
What was the challenge?
In 2014 and 2015, the majority of our audience was from Singapore. In order to make the program a stronger platform for sharing, we needed more participants from the region. This became our goal for 2016 attendance.
What did we do?
Together with The Singapore Tourism Board and our local PCO, The Meeting Lab, we created a brand new APAC scholarship program in order to engage more of a regional attendance at this event. These scholarships were supported by industry partners.
How did we do this?
Through the generous funding from key partners (Korea Tourism Organization, Singapore Exhibition & Convention Bureau, Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau, and Tourism New Zealand) for the event, we were able to offer this scholarship program. These partners helped us grow our audience by recommending potential scholars based in their home countries. This was a great opportunity for the partners as they could invite key clients to attend the program and support the educational development for their local associations.
What was the result?
We were able to award 17 association executives and meeting professionals from the Asia-Pacific region complimentary registration for the event in addition to a hotel and travel stipend. PCMA and The Singapore Tourism Board had the opportunity to further engage with these meeting professionals from the region who may not have been able to afford to attend this program on their own.
What did we learn?
Because we were communicating with individuals we had never met before, we had to rely on our partners and local leaders to help us vet the candidates. This required frequent communication and phone calls during off-hours. We also wish we would have asked more of our scholarship recipients to present as part of our education program as they all had an abundant amount of experiences and tips to share. Finally, when we were determining our reimbursement process, we had to be clear about which currency we would be reimbursing our scholars in, considering the scholars were coming from different countries and we only wanted to reimburse in one currency.
Would we do it again?
Absolutely. We were thrilled with the amount of scholarships we could provide, thanks to the partners of the event, and the education program benefited from the enriched content and discussions which took place as a result of these scholars being in attendance.
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