Can Convention Centre Help Associations Grow?

Venue providers are no longer suppliers, we are the partners associations need to build and execute successful international meetings and congresses as well as in delivering a memorable delegate experience for the attendees. Hear it right from our Director of Sales and Marketing, Angeline van den Broecke on how we at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre is enabling the meetings industry further than our standpoint as a venue provider.

Author: Rémi Dévé
Source: The Boardroom, February 2018 Issue

As it has been long recognised that the meetings industry is all about the knowledge economy and that the impacts of face-to-face meetings go way beyond tourism benefits, suppliers are no longer suppliers, but clearly partners of associations that go the world over to host their conference. This is exactly how the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC) sees itself – and
rightly so. In fact, it’s even safe to say it is helping associations grow, in the country and beyond.
- Words Rémi Dévé

With the continued focus on the relevance of engagement and value creation to enhance the association journey, both from the organiser and delegate’s side, the role of congress centres and their responsibility as advocates, connectors and advisors has clearly evolved over the years. From the delivery of economic impact through association meetings, job creation or addressing professional development needs, what venues can bring to the table is definitely more than the rental of empty space or audio visual equipment.

Helping Capability

Up until 2015, KLCC hosted the Association Seminar, an association development interface which incorporated association development and education. Angeline van den Broecke, KLCC Director of Sales & Marketing, explains: “The primary objective of hosting the annual Association Seminar was to provide an engagement forum focused on association executives, and to offer a relevant and meaningful education and knowledge exchange platform with the right content. Topics included familiarising locally-based organisations with case studies, bidding processes and the professional support and assistance available to them when bidding for international events.”

KLCC’s strategy after 2015 was to continue an annual industry event that benefits associations. In this regard, the Centre, every year, initiates, supports or partners on to ensure the engagement and education of associations during dedicated activities. Examples include the Professional Development Grant for Association Executives, the hosting of the International Association of Professional Congress Organizer’s (IAPCO) Council Meeting in September last year, and partnering on their EDGE Seminar, or the launch of the Training Academy to provide association executives and students with business events courses and certifications. KLCC also recently initiated the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre Business Events Alliance, a collective designed to offer a one-stop service to association planners.

Long-Term Engagement

Associations invest years in a relationship with a venue as the nature of business acquisition is based on a long-term engagement and a strong personal interface. A centre like KLCC can facilitate and provides a local context, as it embraces the need to be adaptable and connected to client needs beyond the scope of venue provision. Dr Raveenthiran Rasiah, President of the Malaysian Society of Anaesthesiologists, who was instrumental in getting the 6th World Congress of SIVA-TCI in August, doesn’t say otherwise: “KLCC just doesn't provide you with physical space for the conference. They also provide you with the support, in our case, to prepare for the bid to win the event. But beyond this, they are a good team to work with and very accommodating. In fact, they are directly involved in building the profile and capacity of both our association and event. They are also helping us deliver a legacy and be connected, locally and globally.”

A venue is often the most effective interface with regional and national bodies with a stake in association events of all kinds, such as government, industry, healthcare, academia, and the likes. From a PCO perspective, venues and organisers should become strategic business partners with a common interest in the client’s long-term success. “KLCC has understood the importance of knowing the business perspectives and objectives of all parties involved in the organisation of an event,” says Roberta Odebrecht, of K.I.T Group, who chose KLCC for the World Library and Information Congress in 2016 and 2018.

“Association events are central to forging and maintaining brand and member loyalty. Both the organisation and the venue are responsible for the individual delegate, sponsor, faculty, guest experience and that is what determines brand awareness. Associations are mostly not-for-profit, but they face fierce and multiple competition – their success is largely dependent on delivering unique and valuable experiences at their major event – clearly, KLCC provides the foundation for that experience in a very pro-active and collaborative manner.”
she says.

In the end, a venue like KLCC remains a dedicated business events industry advocacy voice and is committed to the advancement and success of both the business events industry and the association community. “We believe a platform like ours provides an excellent opportunity for representatives from various associations to network and build rapport, share knowledge and experiences, which hopefully will result in more international meetings coming to our destination.” Angeline concludes.

Click here to read the full magazine of The Boardroom, February 2018 Issue.