Event planners will have been making the most of any downtime, which often bridges the Christmas and New Year festivities, until corporate clients wake up as spring looms. The very lucky ones will be flat out working, but most will be catching up on admin with a furtive eye on the year ahead.
And what can they see? Associations. Not the professional societies of medics or accountants, but societies for those involved with business events, conferences and incentives.
Like businesses seeking a larger market share in Asia, we’re likely to see MICE industry associations, clubs and award-evening organisers doing similar in 2017.
Watch out for the PCMA (Professional Conference Management Association) as it stretches its reach across the Pacific and out beyond its Singapore foothold to other parts of Asia.
The PCMA’s Convening Leaders conference in Austin, Texas, January 8-11, is being made available as a live stream to audiences in Asia as the organisation seeks to raise its profile in the region.
You can register for the Delayed Asia Broadcast here – it’s scheduled to be screened January 10 and 11, beginning when the clock strikes 11am in Singapore, Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur.
(At this stage I have to declare an interest, as I’ll be in Austin for Convening Leaders, and look forward to meeting any readers who are also attending).
The march of the PCMA will make it all the more interesting for two relative newcomers on the block – ICESAP (Incentive, Conference & Event Society Asia Pacific) and the Macau Incentive & Special Event Society (MISE), which is being looked upon with a mixture of awe and envy from across the Pearl Delta in Hong Kong. Some 30 event and incentive professionals in Macau received certificaiton from the Society of Incentive Travel Excellence in training organised through MISE recently.
ICESAP rounded off its third annual conference in Singapore last November with its secretariat making the move to the Lion City from Hong Kong, where they were holed up in the offices of a British publisher.
While MISE is trying to work closely with Macau government officials as the SAR faces its own challenges, ICESAP is championing the interests of the end-users of meeting and events services, namely corporate buyers. Expect to see ICESAP’s agency accreditation scheme battling hard to win hearts and minds during the year.
Joining the fray will be the International Live Events Agency, which is eager to breach the confines of Hong Kong and make itself a pan-Delta organisation. ILEA is bigger in the US, UK and Australia, but it may not be until the opening of the Hong Kong to Zhuhai-Macau road and tunnel link that its growth in Asia will eventually be spurred.
2017 looks like an interesting period for those active – and reaping the dividends – in MICE industry associations. Corporates have long been hawkish with event budgets, but many agencies are essentially sole traders who cannot absorb the chicanery of those who see it their business to steal ideas from proposals they have requested and callously stall on payments.
As associations battle for members in Asia, potential recruits should be choosing carefully as it’s not just about networking, but watching each other’s backs as budget strings get tighter and mammoth players jostle for business against independent operators.
Martin Donovan is the Editor of MIX