This article first appeared in the Jan/Feb 2011 issue of World Gaming Magazine.
Though gaming is still number one, Macau continues to work on diversifying. Organisations of all sizes and industries in Asia are discovering Macau is the perfect place to hold MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and events) for their customers and staff. World Gaming takes a look at Beacon Events, an event company that has made Macau the venue for its flagship conference.
Large casinos are perfect for holding events. They have plenty of well-appointed accommodation, numerous conference and meeting spaces of all shapes and sizes and quality catering for any number of people. Las Vegas has become the convention and events capital of the US with nearly every major company heading to the American gaming mecca for their major events. Clients and workers fly from all over the States and even abroad packing the casinos and their facilities. Las Vegas has more hotel rooms than any other city in the world, and because of this the very biggest US events cannot be held anywhere else. Macau is relatively new to this game but it is already making great inroads to the MICE market.
It’s a win/win for all concerned. For the people who organise the events they get everything they need, all in one place and at a good price. The casinos get to fill their facilities during quiet times and on the weekdays where it is usually harder to attract business. The conference attendees get to enjoy the facilities the casino has to offer once conference commitments are over for the day.
Beacon Events is a perfect example of a company that is enjoying what Macau has to offer. This company is a spinoff from the Institute for International Research (IIR) which was the largest privately held conference and training company in the world. General Manager and Project Director, Ms Rosalind Wade is based in Hong Kong and has been responsible for looking after the Beacon’s popular gaming conferences in this part of the world. After the fantastic success of their gaming conferences in Macau, Hong Kong and Singapore last year they are back this year with the ‘iGaming Asia Congress‘, to be held 1 to 3 March 2011 at the Grand Hyatt in Macau.
“Beacon has been involved in the gaming industry in the Asia-Pacific for over four years now and we have organised nine events in the region since then, covering both land-based and online gaming. The iGaming Asia Congress is our flagship event and is attended by over 300 people each year,” said Ms Wade.
Gaming conferences keep the industry heavyweights up to date about what works and what doesn’t, and this kind of information sharing helps the industry operate in a more efficient and productive way. Ms Wade recognises that it is a tough job organising an itinerary that appeals to all clients but she has learned what the industry expects with such events.
“iGaming is one of the most fun, but also most challenging events I have ever worked on due to the complex nature of the i-Gaming industry here in Asia. A lot of the networking takes place behind the scenes, so we strive to find new ways to facilitate that, as well as deliver a high-level conference programme.”
Conferences such as these accommodate all levels of industry people. It’s not only the CEOs in attendance; other key personnel come to Macau to hear experts in their field discuss industry issues. The gaming industry is one that is all about ‘who you know’ and when it comes to networking there is simply no better way of doing business. Where else are you going to find the best minds in the business all under one roof?
The hotel venue for the 2011 iGaming conference in Macau was a tough decision for Beacon. They have held conferences from Hong Kong to Singapore but in Macau they are spoilt for choice, with many quality venues competing to hold the prestigious event.
“We have chosen City of Dreams as the venue for the second year running as COD is now taking its place as the entertainment centre of Macau. With the US$250m House of Dancing Water production attracting huge attention and praise, plus a new nightclub and Hard Rock Café, I have no doubt that participants at iGA 2011 will be able to supplement their learning and networking with some world class entertainment.”
The City of Dreams complex also offers a wide range of dining and accommodation options which must have been attractive to Beacon when making the decision. It is important clients not only come away full of new ideas and new contacts, but also that they can let their hair down and enjoy themselves particularly those who have travelled a long way.
World Gaming magazine is proud to be a media partner of this year’s conference. CEO Andrew W Scott will be speaking on day 1 and chairing day 2 and Editor-in-Chief James Potter will also be speaking. There is a long list of well-known industry giants featured on the program and gaming industry personnel will find the agenda relevant to their business.
Beacon will hold gaming events in Manila, Australia and Singapore later in the year.