Amid COVID-19, Marina Bay Sands in Singapore is developing what it believes will be a staple of the meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) industry both during and post-pandemic.
MICE is a crucial component of the integrated resort business. The massive gaming and hotel complexes cater to large-scale conventions and meetings to keep their rooms filled and gaming floors busy. But that sector has become basically nonexistent in 2020.
In an effort to lure back small MICE events in the interim and prepare for larger gatherings once the world emerges from the COVID-19 crisis, Marina Bay Sands is debuting a new offering called “Mixed Reality” (MR).
Marina Bay Sands has accelerated our adoption of technology to adapt to the new environment,” explained Marina Bay Sands Senior VP Paul Town. “We are providing a comprehensive platform for our clients to transit into the hybrid sphere successfully — using digital modes, hologram functionalities, and now, MR. This will further increase delegate engagement and drive greater content and idea generation.”
Summarized as a “hybrid trade show,” Sands’ MR integrates the virtual and physical worlds to create an immersive and interactive realm. The casino resort says attendees both physically at the resort’s convention center and those joining remotely are unified in a more meaningful and interactive way.
“This is the future … and we hope to continue inspiring the industry, driving digital transformation, and elevating hybrid event experiences,” Town added.
Marina Bay Sands is considered the gold standard of the IR sector. The multibillion-dollar complex is much more than a casino and hotel. While the resort’s gaming floor measures 160,000 square feet, with 610 table games and 2,690 slot machines, its convention space measures 1.2 million square feet.
Las Vegas Sands founder and CEO Sheldon Adelson is credited with creating the MICE-based integrated resort concept. In 2019, Sands reported that conventions generated $546 million in revenue for the organization.
“Marina Bay Sands stands as the preeminent reference site for new jurisdictions considering the opportunity to harness the economic power and direct contributions to tourism, employment, and GDP growth of our unique MICE-based Integrated Resort business model,” Adelson told investors in Sands’ 2019 shareholders report.
“The benefits of our MICE-based Integrated Resort business model extend far beyond our own financial success. The company’s properties and service offerings increase the appeal of our host cities and countries as leisure and business tourism destinations, while helping to diversify their economies, attract outside investment, and increase employment,” the billionaire added.
Sands’ MR technology will run out of the Sands Expo and Convention Center’s Hybrid Broadcast Studio. The space features a three-dimensional studio stage with an immersive backdrop.
Sands says it has a pool of tech-savvy convention employees who are ready to work with MICE organizers and business executives to allow them to take full advantage of the MR space.
Sands has not disclosed what sort of investment the resort made for the virtual studio, nor how much renting the facility costs. The space has already been used for several MICE virtual events, including TravelRevive, WiT Experience Week, and Singapore International Energy Week.