Brendon Lee

Brendon Lee

General Manager, Connexion Conference & Event Centre (CCEC)
Alan Pryor

Alan Pryor

General Manager, Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre
Meeting spaces for conferences and conventions are welcome respites from doing business within the four walls of an office. CCEC and KLCC are available to deliver that welcome in style.

Can you tell us a bit about your events space?

BRENDON LEE The centre always been envisioned as a venue where people can connect through events. Set amidst the Bangsar South integrated city, CCEC was developed by UOA Group to meet the growing needs of the booming township by providing services and facilities for meetings and events in addition to all the other conveniences made available in the area. Since its launch in 2014, CCEC has come a long way. It has now doubled in size and has managed to increase its revenue by five folds. The centre currently manages over 200,000sqft of space, featuring a total of 15 function rooms, five ballrooms, an auditorium, a rooftop gazebo and an upscale event space known as The Oak Room.

ALAN PRYOR Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre belongs to PETRONAS and was opened in 2005 as part of the wider Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) development. The idea was to provide convention centre facilities for the precinct that would feed the retail for Suria and the surrounding hotels, which all are owned by PETRONAS as well, and this vision has worked extremely well. Over the last 14 years, the centre has been incredibly successful, and it is one of the few that work at a profit. Our business is divided into three main segments: a corporate sector, which includes meetings, town halls, and banqueting; exhibitions, of which we operate 63-67 per year; and the convention segment, which is responsible for most of our international sales. Because we compete on a global stage in the convention segment, we have to stay relevant to international benchmarks. To stay ahead of the curve, we are continuously updating our technology.

What have been some of your chief achievements recently?

BL Besides seeing an increase in the number of local and regional events at our venue, we are also delighted to be selected as the preferred venue for major corporate events of large and publicly listed companies such as Google, Alibaba, Microsoft, Pfizer, and Amazon. Having event organizers who return to us repeatedly like the recent Google Onboard event in March which we have hosted three times is also gratifying. Due to these high-profile events as well as positive feedback and recommendation from our return clients, CCEC welcomed a record-breaking quarter million guests last year. In addition to that, CCEC has also begun providing outside catering services recently. A new co-living space by UOA called Komune Living that has 648 rooms, nearing completion in just a few months will be one of the biggest external catering projects our team will undertake this year. From an intimate team of less than 50 associates since its inception, the team has now expanded to over 100 associates to accommodate the centre's rapid growth.

AP Our main achievement has been successfully dealing with changes. One has to stay relevant in the international community, and the centre has to be top notch. The three main segments in which we operate all saw significant changes, and in the corporate and exhibition segments we had to completely adapt and realign our sales teams to cope with changing trends. At the same time, the international market has been disrupted due to many reasons. In the last three years, in particular, the price point has become a huge issue in the corporate, exhibition, and international associations segments. We have to be able to compete but, at the same time, we cannot lower our quality and standard. It becomes absolutely necessary to be agile and adaptable, and the entire team has to operate more efficiently. New venues have opened, both in Malaysia and abroad, which creates more competition and business development challenges felt across the industry. We spend a significant amount of time and money to maintain our venue and make sure that despite its age, it is in a pristine condition. Moreover, we strive to stay on top of trends and changing client preferences, so that we continue to deliver what is expected. For example, our menu offerings have to be current and attractive.