Singapore – A new Helsinki-based “hotel without bedrooms” event venue concept has made its way into Singapore. Here’s a sneak peek inside Huone Events Hotel before its February 23 opening and why it is bound to disrupt the local meetings industry.
From an idea that hatched in a karaoke room, Evon Söderlund, Founder and CEO of Huone Events Hotel, first launched Huone (Finnish for “a room”) Helsinki in 2012, which quickly gained recognition with several global awards.
Huone Singapore features 11 uniquely themed meeting rooms, some inspired by Kakslauttanen – the popular arctic resort in Finland – and others by Clarke Quay during the colonial era.
Groups can brainstorm ideas sitting on swings in the Swing Room, or act out concepts in the Theatre room. Every room in Huone has been meticulously designed to inspire, evoke creativity and motivate engagement. All meeting rooms are soundproof and surround a common dining area that provides meals and breaks buffet-style, though private dining options are also available.
A 2016 study by the International Association of Conference Centres (IACC) shows a rise in demand (66 percent) for flexible event spaces. Confirming this trend, Biz Events Asia spoke to two Asia-based event planners on how this unique venue is going to be a game-changer.
“I am super excited that a concept like this has popped up. As it already is, there aren't enough venues locally that are embracing the idea of creative meeting spaces. Increasingly, clients are challenging us to come up with venues spaces that are not made up of four walls. We are focussing on creative setups that stimulate conversation, encourage a more intimate setting and allow for flow of two-way conversations rather than a lecture-style meeting. With this new creative space, it allows us the opportunity to showcase more creative and themed meetings to our clients, and be that conventional and forward-thinking agency that our clients want. We want to make NEW recommendations that truly serve the needs of our clients and I look forward to the startup of interesting spaces like these,” said Qixin Liow, CMP, Account Manager at Pacific World Singapore.
Jefter Ang, Events Manager at Events Travel Asia based in Thailand shared: “We can clearly see that new "millennial" companies are jumping into this trend to encourage creativity and out-of-box thinking among their employees to enhance their products and services. I do believe that a concept like this will work in the coming years with the younger generation joining the workforce and companies wanting to portray unique selling points to attract younger talents to join their company.”
Helming Huone Singapore as CEO is Joewin Tan, who is also the founder of events company Linear Dots Production. “Not only is it a creative and flexible space, we also bring on board in-house event consultants to provide complimentary event advisory. For those who prefer DIY, EVENTSOME®, our online reservation platform, is a breeze to use.”
Eliminating the hassle of juggling multiple vendors, Huone has been set up to offer everything an event would need (food and beverage, audio/visual, event designers, entertainment recommendations) and cater to corporates with all levels of event planning experience. Guests can also select from a wide list of additional programmes, from Zumba classes to crafting of paper flowers and other team building activities.
Amateurs at event planning can consult the in-house consultants who will offer advice, and if need be, structure, plan and help implement the events for the best results. Seasoned planners will be able to get everything set up and ready to go with a few button clicks on EVENTSOME®, a one-stop system to book, design, manage and measure the success of their events at Huone.
“We are innovating meeting design and it is our goal to disrupt and shake up the events industry as a whole. We are focusing on cosier spaces, providing end-to-end event needs, from event planning, food, stationery to even technology. At Huone, events and meetings are hassle-free so that guests can concentrate on what is important,” highlighted Söderlund.
Söderlund International, the parent company of Huone, has plans to establish itself in other business event cities by 2025, including Seoul, Berlin, Paris, Barcelona, Brussels, Amsterdam, London, Copenhagen and Tokyo. Depending on the markets, the Huone International expansion model will be a mixture of co-ownership and franchising.
For other unique venues in Singapore, read the latest issue of Biz Events Asia.
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