Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and Marina Bay Sands leveraged strong technological infrastructure, support frameworks, and skills to help meeting planners transform their events to adapt to the COVID-19 environment. They also have tested different traffic models and workflows at select events in different settings to enable more large-scale events to resume safely. These include the piloting of measures that ensure the safety and well-being of attendees.
The reopening of the events sector is proceeding in a phased and calibrated manner, as health and safety remain priorities. Under STB’s Safe Business Events Framework (SBE), event organizers implemented strong safety protocol such as pre-event testing for all attendees, safe distancing and group cohorts, as well as adding digital guides and contactless registration to enhance the visitor experience. The framework also requires event organizers to implement safe management measures to meet these health and safety outcomes:
- Infection control measures for every stage of an event attendee’s journey (pre- to post-event)
- Limits on crowd density
- Limits on close contacts between individuals to ensure no intermingling
- Ensuring a safe and clean environment
- Preparing for emergencies relating to COVID-19
“More than ever, there is a need for collaboration and partnerships between industries to identify new opportunities and innovate to stay relevant,” said Edward Koh, Ph.D., STB’s executive director of conventions, meetings and incentive travel.
Innovation and technology collaborations quickly came to the forefront when COVID-19 prevented travel. As a result of discussions pre-COVID at Convening Leaders 2020 and a soft launch in July, Marina Bay Sands opened the doors to its state-of-the-art event Hybrid Broadcast Studio in August 2020.
Designed to accommodate a live studio audience with a maximum capacity of 50 people at a time, the Hybrid Broadcast Studio, which offers broadcast-quality livestreaming capabilities and hologram functionalities, acts as the central hub for event planners looking to produce hybrid meetings.
The studio features a 3D stage fitted with an immersive backdrop and floor that can be reconfigured to fit each event’s needs. Replacing the conventional green screen backdrop are two massive 19-foot-6-inch x 13-foot-2-inch, right-angled LED walls that show high-resolution, 360-degree visuals, while a plexiglass LED floor displays stunning floor projections.
The 3D stage is designed to provide presenters with a better perspective of their surroundings, helping them to visualize and deliver their presentations in a more immersive environment. To accommodate continuing travel restrictions, the studio is also able to “beam” someone from a different part of the world into Singapore as a real-time holographic presence.
Marina Bay Sands currently offers three virtual conferencing options: full virtual webcasting and live streaming events; hybrid events with in-person and online audiences; and hybrid events with holographic telepresence. The facility also offers an enhanced suite of event technology capabilities incorporating virtual reality, augmented reality, and extended reality solutions.
Since August, Marina Bay Sands has built two additional fully operational hybrid broadcast studios at Sands Expo. These studios, with capacity ranging from 50 to 500 people, present more opportunities for different industries to creatively deliver their content to wider audiences.
“Though challenging, this is also an exciting time for the industry. In the last few months we have been working closely with the Singapore Tourism Board and PCMA to drive conversations and advocate the importance of continual education as well as upskilling of professionals in the events industry,” said Ong Wee Min, vice president of conventions and exhibitions at Marina Bay Sands.
During Convening Leaders 2021, STB and Marina Bay Sands partnered with PCMA to create a Global Broadcast Center to host keynote speakers, expert panels, and face-to-face experiences in key cities and venues around the world. Content was delivered to approximately 300 physical attendees and more than 3,000 virtual participants worldwide.
Although the impact of COVID-19 has been deeply felt, STB and Marina Bay Sands remain confident in the long-term prospects of MICE and business travel because the industry is resilient, and the fundamentals that make Singapore an attractive place for unique, high-quality travel and MICE experiences remain unchanged.
Continuing the pace of innovation and delivering new possibilities for the MICE sector, the Singapore Tourism Board will launch on March 3-4, 2021, the SingapoReimagine MICE Virtual Show, where global buyers and suppliers can get together for one-on-one appointments and experience new and reimagined MICE experiences through livestreaming virtual tours.
For more info, visit miceneurol.com/singaporeimagine.