Client Exposé!

This issue’s interview is with long-standing client and renowned exhibition industry player Dato’ Vincent Lim, President, C.I.S Network Sdn Bhd. He is also the President of the Malaysian Association of Convention and Exhibition Organisers and Suppliers (MACEOS) and the Malaysian Interior Industry Partners Association.
1. How many event(s) have you held at the Centre? What are the name(s) of these events?
Since 2007, I have hosted over 30 exhibitions at the Centre. Annually, I hold three exhibitions - Home Décor and Design Exhibition (HOMEDEC), International Architecture, Interior Design & Building Exhibition (ARCHIDEX) and International Invention & Innovation Exhibition (ITEX).

2. What are the top five things you look for in a venue provider?
The first thing I look for is the size and exhibition space availability, as well as the venue’s previous event profiles, i.e. business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C) events. The next is location, as this often affects the average footfall traffic your exhibition attracts. Venue management also plays an important role because an experienced operator always works with organisers to ensure the smooth running of their events. The fourth thing I look for is technology, for example WiFi is now a necessity and is the lifeline for many events. Last but not least, accessibility, which includes parking, public transport connectivity and venue design and location. The aim is to make it as convenient and easy as possible for visitors to attend.
Client Exposé!

3. Do you use technology to enhance the visitor and delegate experience? If so, what kind of technology and how do you implement it in your event?

Yes, we use technology in our exhibitions, more specifically mobile apps. Not only do apps help organisers cut costs, but they allow visitors to e-register, providing them with a QR code so they can enter the exhibition without having to queue. 

Mobile apps also allow us to interact directly with visitors and upload show directories, programmes and schedules, which reduces our event paper consumption and helps make our exhibitions as environmentally-friendly and sustainable as possible.

In addition, we use LED panels to enhance décor and ambience, as well as provide signage and onsite promotions. This also reduces the number of banners, flyers, brochures, etc. that need to be printed.

Client Exposé!

4. What industry trends and challenges are affecting your event(s)? How do you/are you planning to accommodate these?

In terms of business-to-business (B2B) shows, there are too many shows, as you are competing regionally and even internationally in this arena. Everyone is trying to increase exhibitor and visitor numbers, so competition is great. In order to successfully do this organisers must create hybrid events, which contain different components. For example, exhibitions nowadays need to encompass a conference or forum element or a gala dinner and awards ceremony to help generate higher attendance numbers.

For business-to-consumer (B2C), it is no longer ‘one size fits all’. Organisers have to find innovative ways to differentiate their exhibitions from the competition. For example, online-to-offline (O2O) is becoming more prevalent. This means organisers have to be even more creative and innovative in how they integrate online content to support their events and entice visitors to attend. We are currently finalising our own O2O mechanism and hope to launch it next year (2017), so keep an eye out for that!

5. What is your view on the outlook for the business events industry in Malaysia? What can be done to enhance the country’s business events proposition?

In the past few years, the Malaysian exhibition industry has witnessed positive growth overall. But according to UFI’s (The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry) latest report, the local industry has slightly declined, due to the limited exhibition space available. That said, the industry overview moving forward is still positive and once the country’s additional exhibition space comes on stream, exhibitions that have the demand to grow will drive the industry forward.

The recent launch of Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau’s (MyCEB) ‘Malaysia’s Business Events Roadmap: Charting Malaysia’s Journey to 2020 and Beyond’ is a good step forward and lays strong groundwork to further enhance the attractiveness of the country’s premier business events proposition.

The role of the Malaysian Association of Convention and Exhibition Organisers and Suppliers (MACEOS) will also be an integral part in the growth and development of Malaysia’s business events industry. Especially in talent development and ensuring the education sector supports the local business events industry through increased awareness and the creation of specific degrees catering to this field. 

Finally, the entire industry needs to come together to boost industry regulations and best practices, as well as improve government relations and support, so we can make Malaysia Asia’s most professional, successful and sustainable business events industry.

Client Exposé!