The flexible combination of spacious and intimate spaces made Marina Bay Sands the ideal choice for two of YPO’s leading events, writes Pamela Chow Event brief This year, the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) returned to Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands (MBS) – the only Asian city and the only venue to host YPO more than once – with a double bill: the Global Leadership Confer- ence (GLC) and flagship event YPO EDGE. The occasion brought upsized ambi- tions. These included 2,800 young leaders in attendance and a line-up of high-profile speakers, such as Singapore’s prime minister Lee Hsien Loong, as well as the founder of the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative, and former tennis champion Billie Jean King. Solution The Roselle-Simpor ballroom was trans- formed into an experiential Venture Market- place of businesses, products and services. At the same time, networking events, private gatherings and breakout sessions were hosted at smaller, alternative venues with a touch of exclusivity. These included private dining rooms of celebrity chef restaurants such as Adrift by David Myers, CUT by Wolfgang Puck and Osteria Mozza; the recently revamped 24-hour hotel lounge, Renku; the new LAVO Italian Restaurant & Rooftop Bar; and individual meeting rooms in the convention centre. To elevate the culinary experience, MBS’ banquet team curated special menus with more than 20 varieties of food per meal, with separate counters and buffet lines set up for those with specific dietary requirements, treating delegates to a selection of local and international food. Key takeaways Having previously hosted YPO in 2012, MBS had the advantage of familiarity with YPO’s needs, enabling the venue’s team to make suitable recommendations and work in part- nership with the organisation’s planning team. Mike Lee, vice president of sales at MBS, reflected: “Our partnership with YPO was formed years ago, and to have the group return to our integrated resort for their 2018 event is akin to welcoming an old friend home. “For that reason, some of MBS’ senior management – including myself – were per- sonally involved in the planning process with YPO. We were excited to work together again to push the event’s boundaries of creativity and build on the success of its 2012 edition.” Event Young Presidents’ Organization Global Leadership Conference and YPO EDGE Organiser Young Presidents’ Organization Venue Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre Date March 5-9, 2018 Number of participants 2,800 Challenges To facilitate a series of plenary and concurrent sessions, discussion forums and networking functions, the integrated resort had to provide a combination of large and intimate spaces within a single venue. “YPO needs a location where there is a hospitality venue that is big enough, but also offers quality and intimacy,” said Terry O’Connor, YPO EDGE 2018 host city chair and former regional chair of Southeast Asia. Feeding the delegates well was another crucial task, as they hailed from more than 90 countries and had diverse dietary requests. Furthermore, the 2018 GLC and YPO EDGE conference was YPO’s first green meeting, putting the ISO 20121-certified venue and its expert team to the test. On top of these, the YPO delegation also comprised visit- ing spouses and partners, who were looking forward to a memorable experience at the iconic venue. Thinking big, getting cosy At least five meals were served daily, in- cluding Happy Hour drinks and canapés every evening. The most impressive F&B setup was at the Venture Marketplace, which presented a seafood bar of fresh oysters, crab legs, prawns and more. Other personal touches included a dedi- cated check-in counter for YPO attendees, YPO- and MBS-branded welcome amenities and gifts, as well as a YPO-branded pagoda in the Tower 1 lobby that served as a photo- worthy backdrop for delegates. During their stay, delegates and their part- ners were invited to a private brand showcase at the Louis Vuitton Island Maison at The Shoppes. Participants were also treated to TWG Tea canapés and ferried around the mall with a dedicated buggy service. To meet its sustainability requests, MBS’ MICE team worked with the event organiser to incorporate several green event initiatives, such as using water dispensers instead of plastic bottles; recycling plastics, glass and paper where possible; as well as diverting leftover food away from landfills using onsite food waste digesters. YPO also produced more than 2,800 recyclable registration bags, which included reusable water tumblers. At the end of the event, the organisers collected and recycled approximately 700 bags and achieved an overall event waste diversion rate of 75 per cent.