Expert says Macau should have unified approach to attract MICE events, visitors

Patrick Delaney (left)

With its aim of becoming an attractive destination, Macau is in need of a unified message to send its visitors, said marketing and events expert Patrick Delaney.

Delaney was speaking on the sidelines of a three-day event titled “IAPCO Bespoke Edge Seminar,” organized this week by the Macau Meetings, Incentives and Special Events Association.

The interactive seminar aims to discuss the SAR’s role as a business event platform, along with providing new approaches in the industry.

Delaney, one of the session’s three speakers, noted that the challenge for destinations, particularly in this era, is the increased competitiveness amongst cities.
“There are a lot of destinations out there. Destinations in general have realized that this type of business is very good […] because it’s low volume but high impact,” said Delaney, who is a managing partner at SoolNua, a marketing firm based in Dublin.

“That impact comes in two ways: not only financially, but in positive aspects for destinations because the types of individuals [coming to meetings due to] corporate incentives are interested in bringing knowledge and bringing investment,” he added.

According to Delaney, destinations may be seen not purely as tourist locations, but rather locations more aligned with economic development and social improvement.

He added that the destination has to move away from relying on its big hotels as tourists come with the aim to learn more about a city, citing Las Vegas as an example, which has moved away from gambling to a center of innovation in particular areas, such as e-sports.

The expert also explained that the SAR is in need of a unified community that works together and has the same message, one which needs to be relevant to the audience.

“One of the challenges for Macau is telling the world that there is more [to Macau] than a destination for gaming. Gaming is brilliant […] but you want to have a diversified portfolio in terms of getting that message out,” Delaney explained.

“You have to tell people, and you have to tell them in a credible way so that they come, and you need a destination marketing organization that is able to link those delegates and attendees to whatever is available,” he added.

According to Delaney, Macau has become a successful destination, yet needs improvements in its strategy to attract visitors and provide easy access to what it has to offer.

He also stressed that Macau lacks both a coordinated message and presence in the online and offline channels that different types of businesses might use.

“It needs a coordinated approach. There are some very effective hotels, wonderful destination hotels, but not all are working together. You need to brand Macau in a way that is very clearly articulated because in the closure of today’s communication, you need to be able to have a relevant message,” Delaney said.

“I think there is a need for a wider range of offerings, because Macau has a lot more to offer but is only seen as one dimensional,” Delaney added.

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