Blazing a new AIPC trail

Aloysius Arlando, SingEx’s CEO and new president of international venue association AIPC, speaks about his ideas for the industry and, in particular, his members’ development

What are the biggest issues facing convention centres?

How to trend-set and trailblaze in today’s digital economy. It’s not about embracing digitalisation for digitalisation’s sake, but about what digitalisation means for a centre.

Is it to drive revenues, or to make a better customer experience?

The transformation process needs to start with a firm vision and strategy – which is premised on how the centre brings value to its shareholders and the destination it is in. It also depends on the courage and commitment to drive the change without losing sight of the end game.

Convention centres today are no longer about the hardware or even the software. It’s about UX (user experience) and how convention centre venues play a role through the various touch points they own to create a customer journey; a delightful experience.

It’s no longer about differentiating yourself from the competition but about putting yourself in a novel and different playing field so that we are not just different but unique.

Where will the industry be five years from now?

Convention centres will move beyond being venue providers or even partners and solution providers, to community builders and an integral player in a destination’s brand positioning, delivering economic and social value.

Centres should capitalise or deepen their partnerships with their local governments, bureau and industry players and forge a strong alignment to securing the (international) meetings business. This is their one and only advantage, within their grasp, to strengthen their collective ability to stand out from the competition.

Which regions are growing the fastest?

Much has been said about Asia being the ‘flavour of the century’. Indeed, manifold opportunities exist for the meetings industry in Asia as the burgeoning economies in this region press on with their development efforts and growing their trade and investment flows. 

There are similar opportunities emerging in various parts of the world; as progressive economies continue to pursue sustainable economic development goals.

Companies and associations are more compelled to take a market/region-centric approach in order to exploit such market/region-based opportunities to further their business development goal; and expand networks or membership base.

Given a company’s or an association’s capacity, trade-offs will need to be made insofar as to which market or region they strategise to be active in. But the regional opportunities the world over will not be a zero-sum game.

How should centres compete for business today?

By being adaptable, listening to customers and by being brave and visionary; by walking into the unchartered with the belief that every potential failure is a stepping stone to success.

What would you most like to see members do to support their association?

To take advantage of the valuable programme offerings by AIPC by actively participating and contributing their experiences. These programmes have been carefully developed out of interactions with industry and economic leaders; clients’ feedback and members’ survey findings.

What do you hope to accomplish during your term as president and what will be your first priority?

For members: That every member derives value through their participation in AIPC and tapping on the collective wisdom of the association. I plan to better understand from members in the different regions, what are the issues, challenges and opportunities they are facing so that we update or devise programmes that meet their collective needs.

For AIPC: To position it as a progressive, thought-leader in the global MICE industry.

Paul Colston


Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World. Write Paul an E-mail

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