At SACEOS, we are always looking to inspire the MICE and Events industry through stories of our community.

In this month’s Member Spotlight, we spoke to Adrian Kong, Senior Assistant Director of Events Venue Sales, Gardens by the Bay to find out how the MICE Venue is preparing and innovating for the progressive return of safe events.

Tell us a bit about yourself and the company

Gardens by the Bay is a popular venue for MICE, corporate and leisure events. Our unique setting of outdoor and indoor gardens takes events beyond the confines of conventional spaces into a lush green environment with nature and iconic architecture as the backdrop.

Venues such as Flower Field Hall offer a breathtaking view of the floral displays in Flower Dome on one side and the Marina Reservoir on the other, providing a stunning backdrop. Supertree Observatory, which is located at the canopy of the tallest Supertree, offers a 360-degree panoramic view of Singapore’s central business district and city skyline.

How did COVID-19 impact you? How did you pivot through innovation and technology?

Due to capacity limits, large-scale events were greatly affected during the pandemic. Gardens by the Bay took this opportunity to open up more intimate spaces like Supertree Observatory and Floral Fantasy, to cater to smaller events such as weddings and proposals.

The pandemic has also accelerated the pace of incorporating virtual experiences for visitors. While virtual experiences can never be a direct replacement for the on-site experience, it can help grow mindshare so that attractions can retain or even grow public awareness and support.

To adapt to a changing environment and meet the new demands of the MICE industry, Gardens by the Bay is exploring how to further augment the physical experience of visiting the Gardens with virtual or online elements. We recently developed the Digital Twin, which will allow us to explore new ways of hosting events beyond the confines of a physical space, and to offer interactive hybrid experiences for participants. This offers many possibilities for MICE events, and we are excited to eventually offer this digital platform as an alternative or to complement on-site events at the Gardens.

Additionally, we constantly explore innovative ways to enhance the visitor experience. One such example is the Auto Rider, which is the first fully-operational autonomous vehicle in Asia. It provides an alternative mode of getting around the Gardens and leverages technology to connect visitors with nature.

What has inspired you about the MICE community’s resilience and agility during these challenging times?

Despite the challenges, it is heartening to see how the MICE industry has embraced the changes and technology swiftly to redesign events – from a physical to phygital (physical and digital) experience. It also goes to show how Singapore continues to lead in the MICE space, and our commitment to ensure that events are of the highest standards.

How can MICE venues ready themselves as we see the gradual reopening of MICE events and travel?

One such example is the SG SafeEvent Certification by SACEOS, which Gardens by the Bay attained recently. This certification is awarded to MICE venues who meet the various criteria of providing a safe and conducive space for events. With more organisations collectively embarking on this process and achieving certification, it sends a strong message to both domestic and international clients that Singapore’s MICE industry places great emphasis on safety, and inspires confidence in the quality of events organised here.

We also took the downtime to train and upgrade our skills and knowledge, to provide an even higher level of customised service, as MICE events and travel gradually resume. To cater to the evolving needs of the MICE industry, we will continue to adopt best practices from various industries and utilise technological tools and infrastructure to resolve some of the challenges associated with large-scale MICE events. For example, crowding and common touchpoints could be overcome by adopting digital engagement and contactless platforms.