Asia Pacific

AIME Leaders Forum: New tech can evolve event ecosystem

Industry leaders examine technology’s influence on the customer journey and the future of business events.

The all-new Asia Pacific Incentive & Meetings Event (AIME) kicked off with a full-day Knowledge Exchange, developed in association with PCMA. This included an invitation-only Leaders Forum, which examined emerging technology and consumer trends in this rapidly evolving region.

Leading economist and social commentator, Bernard Salt, examined the shifting demographics of China, India and Japan, and explained how the rise of the corporate model in APAC will continue to create more opportunities for the business events industry.

“There are new businesses of scale and pace in Asia,” he said and urged attendees to “leverage the uncertainty in the U.S. and EU”.

Meanwhile, Dr Ayesha Khanna, CEO and co-founder of Singapore-based AI solutions firm and incubator, ADDO, discussed how the industry can embrace technology to improve our customers’ journey.

“Smart cities make residents and visitors feel like the city is just for them,” she said, with reference to the installation of cashless payment systems in Singapore that meet the needs of Chinese visitors; and a data-driven app in Dubai that tailored government services and content based on residents’ behaviour (and digital footprint) rather than demographics.

Ultimately, the discussion led attendees (all of whom were CEOs of major venues, convention bureaus and industry associations) to question the implication of technology, challenges around data privacy, and how this is shaping the customer journey.

PCMA president and CEO, Sherrif Karamat, facilitated the forum and challenged attendees to identify and engage with their customer’s customer.

“You have to re-examine the role you play in attracting and shaping who your customer really is – and knowing your customer’s customer to personalise their experience,” he said.

“Today, having a successful event is just table stakes. If you can’t provide a platform for successful events then you’re not even in the game. How are you allowing your customer to grow their business within your community? This is critically important,” he added.

Karamat also encouraged industry leaders to step up to the plate and become agents of change.

“We are too dependent on governments and don’t really understand our power [as an industry] in transforming communities,” he said.

“Reconsider new stakeholders in an evolving business ecosystem, instead of focusing on traditional players. We need to focus on new ecosystems that allow us to leverage the power of what we do.”

He added: “The power of this region is incredible and you all have an incredible opportunity. With that opportunity comes incredible responsibility. Understand the role you can play in order to have a greater say in the development of your community, both economically and socially.”

Main image: Fabian Pfortmüller facilitated the AIME Knowledge Program

Reprinted with permission of Convene, the magazine of PCMA, © 2019,