500% REVENUE GROWTH OVER 5 YEARS

Malaysia 2019 | TOURISM | VIP INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Brendon Lee, General Manager of Connexion Conference & Event Centre (CCEC), on growing guest numbers, MICE tourism in Kuala Lumpur, and competitiveness in the region.

What was the vision behind the establishment of CCEC?

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 200,000 square feet 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.

What have been some of your chief highlights and achievements in the past year?

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 very 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.

What strengths and unique features set the center apart?

Based on feedback from our clients. CCEC has been their preferred venue over the years because of our location between Petaling Jaya and Kuala Lumpur. As part of the Bangsar South integrated city, it is conveniently surrounded by hotels, co-working spaces, various exciting retail and dining outlets, train stations and over a 1,000 parking bays, making it one of the few venues in Kuala Lumpur that provides exceptional connectivity and accessibility for our clients and their guests. Aside from that, the Centre also takes pride in its customisable solutions to suit each client's specific event requirements in order to deliver a seamless experience each time. This flexibility in offering, convenient location and the right pricing strategy is what sets us apart from the rest of our competitors.

What is your strategy in further positioning CCEC?

Last year, we obtained the Halal certification which took a year's worth of effort. After this achievement, we set our sights on the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) certification which is a pre-requisite for securing international events. Our goal for 2019 is to lift the share of international business in our total operations. Currently, corporate events represent a large scale of our revenue but we still see ample room for growth in the corporate segment especially in the international market. The additional certifications will enable us to secure bigger and also more international events in the future.

What are the most important requirements for Malaysia to enhance its international competitiveness and attractiveness for business events?

As of now, Malaysia is already an attractive location for a lot of international companies and event bodies due to its stable political environment, state-of-the-art meeting and conference facilities, good accessibility and a well- connected transportation system. These contribute towards Malaysia's competitive edge against other neighboring countries and make it one of the most business-friendly countries in the region. If Malaysia continues to keep this up, it will further strengthen Malaysia's brand and position for the international market.