Why Dubai is such a thriving destination for international events
Matt Denton, President at dmg events, Middle East, Asia & Africa, tells us why Dubai is such a thriving destination for international events.
Why is Dubai such a great location for event organisers?
Location and infrastructure. Dubai, as we know, acts as a regional hub and has fantastic exhibition facilities – other countries are not so blessed! Dubai has always been aware of the importance of business tourism and is seemingly built for events. The infrastructure just works: easy visa process, world leading airline access, hotels and entertainment at various price points and, of course, the event facilities themselves all position Dubai at the first choice host in the region. Visitors and exhibitors come here for business, but they also know they are going to be looked after and have a great time.
How does it differ from other international events hubs?
Location again, it serves an important geographic market with a fantastic events infrastructure. Dubai as a trading hub has a lot of regional companies headquartered here so you can reach far without leaving town. Also Dubai is really dominant in the region, whereas other hubs have competition – Singapore, Thailand and Jakarta. Duba,i and to some extent Abu Dhabi, have the only regional venues and infrastructure that can cater for a large international trade show.
How have you seen the MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and events) sector change in the region?
MICE has always been an important sector in Dubai and as the region develops the sector is becoming more professional and becoming more consolidated, with large international organisers targeting the region. Also as the markets grow and develop, we are seeing more niche and vertically targeted shows to satisfy growing demand and scale. An example being our Big 5 Construction show that has operated in Dubai for some 30 years and fills the Dubai World Trade Centre. However, in recent years we have spun-off concrete and machinery shows for a deeper dive into those industry segments and a specific windows, doors and façade show joins the portfolio this year.
What effect do you think Expo 2020 is having on the events industry in the UAE?
I think we’ll begin to see the true effect in the next few years as the fantastic plans the Expo team has visualised begin to rollout and the contracts start to flow both here and abroad. There is a huge amount of excitement surrounding Expo 2020 and it can only benefit the industry and its reputation. The legacy of Expo will undoubtedly be even greater awareness of Dubai as a destination, even more fantastic infrastructure and MICE facilities and of course more talent in the employment market. Because of the peripatetic nature of the Expo many will move on after it has finished, but many will have fallen in love with Dubai and stay to build their careers here.
How is dmg contributing to growth in the sector?
In recent years dmg has seen unprecedented growth both in Dubai and the wider region serviced by our Dubai regional office. In the last six years we have grown our local team from around 60 staff to over 230 and our event portfolio from six events to over 25 in the region and a further 20 international events managed from here. We have both launched and purchased events and attracted international partners to work with us here. Many of these events have a truly global footprint and showcase Dubai to the business world attract companies to do business here and ultimately for many to set up operations here.
What is the biggest event dmg currently runs in the Middle East?
It is almost a tie, we operate the huge and globally important ADIPEC, the oil and gas event in Abu Dhabi coming up in November. However, The Big 5 also in November wears that crown. Not only filling the DWTC it has also generated a host of spin-off events and we have also geo-adapted it into six other countries. I strongly believe with this footprint it is the world’s leading construction event brand.
How has technology changed the events industry?
As overused the term ‘engagement’ is, it perfectly sums up the need for events to connect with audiences on an emotional level to create successful and memorable events. This is where technology comes in - enabling organisers to meet the needs of the attendee by creating a more personalised and interactive experience. From what we have seen, when implemented successfully, technology can increase attendance, enhance learning and importantly facilitate networking.
What are dmg’s goals in the region?
We are always looking to develop in the region. Despite being a UK company we really do feel this is home. Recent developments have seen a lot of activity in Africa and Asia, but our core will always be here. Our geo-adapting and verticalisation of our events will continue, but we are also looking to broaden the scope of some of our smaller events. We have great plans to segment Index, our leading interior design event in May. In terms of new shows, one great success that springs to mind is the Windows, Doors and Facades show I mentioned previously. A new event for this year, extracted from Big 5, it has smashed its targets and attracted a far broader range of exhibitors who would not traditionally come to Big 5. It is a true testament to our verticalisation strategy.
Read the October 2016 issue of Business Review Middle East magazine
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.