As for taking existing show formats into the emerging markets, Tarsus plans to adapt its models to suit the region. In the Middle East, its business began with eight shows and now has 11, with scope for more organic growth. "We've opened an office in Abu Dhabi and have two to three launches we are looking at now," says Emslie, pointing to other Middle East growth in Egypt, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Another market Tarsus is growing in is China, where it has three businesses: a wholly-owned business; a joint venture vehicle with 24 exhibitions in central China, forged with a company titled Hope; and a partnership with World Expo. "That is a very immature market and there are lots of opportunities to launch shows. What is happening is a lot of the manufacturing is moving out of Shanghai and Beijing and moving into the centre as they have surplus labour and it's a lot cheaper," says Emslie. "We see that as a very interesting dynamic change so we got into that market early. "There are some fantastic facilities now in central China. It is very competitive and a lot of people are a bit scared, but once you get in there, you learn some lessons and we're now quite comfortable with it."Emslie has clear views on the benefits of working in partnership to break into new markets. "A lot of people go into new countries and create partnerships, which helps a business move quicker in the early stages," he says. "But the problem with partnerships as they mature is people forget where they started and who had the power in the beginning; it might not be the partner with the power at the end. "My experience of partnerships is you get half the profit for double the hassle. We are careful about setting up JVs, and in places like China it's quite important but it doesn't mean you can't do it yourself. We were told we couldn't launch Labelexpo by ourselves but we did and that gave Exhibition World | Company profileThE magazinE for ThE global ExhibiTion communiTy WWW.ExhibiTion-World.nET | may 2011 | 29us a lot of confidence," he comments, intimating that the preferred method of international expansion for companies including UBM is optional for Tarsus. "There is a balance, people often default into partnerships, but I don't believe you need them all the time."What Emslie says is not optional is bonding closely with customers - both visitors and exhibitors. "Our ethos is to spend a lot of time not just with exhibitors, but to also stay close to and understand the buyers," he says. "Ultimately, buyers determine where an exhibition goes. As an industry I think we forget that because we spend 95 per cent of our time flogging space to exhibitors, and only five per cent getting buyers to come."Additionally, he says, we have to be aware we're going to get lots of competition, especially in new markets. "The year after we launched Labelexpo in China we had four competitors. The strength we had was that we were taking international companies to Chinese buyers."I think we will see a lot more companies doing 50-50 or 60-40 joint ventures rather than acquiring 100 per cent, whereas in the West full acquisitions are normal. What we have done is been successful in buying businesses created by entrepreneurs and keeping those entrepreneurs on-board. "In China, we bought 50 per cent of the JV business because we wanted to be certain that the next time we turned up, the partner had a financial reason to be there." But Emslie concedes that business partnership is taking time to yield fruit. "It hasn't grown as quickly as we thought, and a lot of that has to do with our approach to business versus the Chinese approach. They interpret growth as launching lots of shows, which might be not profitable."So while others find a hand to hold as they press into uncharted territories, Tarsus is willing to go it alone. It will be interesting to see if the model continues to work as these markets grow more manageable.
The Game ChanGerMarina Bay Sands opens up a world of creativity, flexibility and possibilities to clientsIt used to be that whenever one thought of exhibition space, the images of booths standing side by side, with their wares in proud display, came to mind. Not anymore.With the arrival of marina Bay Sands, the traditional utilitar-ian usage of non-carpeted trade show space has gradually evolved into one that's more creative, fun and distinctive.Take for example, the recent men's Fashion Week (mFW) 2011 Singapore that took place from 30 march to 3 april 2011. Over five days, two stark and sprawling halls at the Sands expo and Convention Center - measuring 100,000 sq ft - were transformed into a Fashion metropolis featuring cat-walks and concept stores display-ing the hottest labels from europe and asia; intimate VIP lounges, a media hub with web-streaming capabilities; concerts and after-parties.The fashion show area even had a 100 foot runway and 1,000 seat viewing gallery. another section came complete with street lamps, topiaries and columns for people watching.Converting an empty space into a glamorous and glitzy af-fair that lives up to the top billing as the inaugural men's Fashion Week Singapore - the first in asia - was certainly a task that was relished by the 160-strong mICe Operations team at marina Bay Sands. Benny Zin, marina Bay Sands' acting Chief Operating Of-ficer and VP of Conventions & exhibitions, "Sands expo and Convention Center can be compared to a blank canvas that holds a world of possibilities for our clients. events such as men's Fashion Week show that our venue has the capabil-ity and flexibility to transform two blank halls into a fashion metropolis with distinct and elaborate sections with a cat-walk amidst them." Because of the scale and elaborate set designs of men's Fashion Week 2011, marina Bay Sands put five event man-agers on the project, with a team of specialists and techni-cal crew who worked from 9 am to 2am each day to make it a runway success. The entire run of events involved 20 fashion shows, gala din-ners, pre-cocktail, post-cocktail and after-parties, some of which had a tight turnover time of three hours. 24 hour StandBy, one-Stop ServiceKimberly Vodopich, marina Bay Sands' Director of Special events and exhibitions added, "What's unique about us is that we offer a one-stop service that makes it more convenient and seamless for our clients. They don't have to work with 20 different contractors because we have the required expertise in-house."marina Bay Sands' in-house teams include rigging profes-sionals who will set up exhibition equipment, installations and other special effects; aV crew, video conferencing experts and lighting technicians, as well as a dedicated mICe kitchen that offers catering menus for networking sessions and individual booths. another unique touch: a floral service unit with its own cold storage room on premise to deliver fresh flowers to brighten up any event."Our event managers will string together all these in-houseexperts to put together the various logistics necessary for theclient's specific requirements" added miss Vodopich, "Be-cause we have a team on site 24 hours a day, our turn-around time is very fast. This allows us to work on tight deadlines overnight and deliver the goods - literally the next morning."Sands expo and Convention Center also boosts one of the highest exhibition hall ceilings in Singapore, allowing exhibi-tors greater flexibility in constructing creative booth designs. It is also the only venue in Singapore with an infrastructure built on top of the expo hall, allowing maintenance to be car-ried out without disrupting show days or setup.GrowinG MoMentuMSince the opening on 27 april 2010, marina Bay Sands has ex-perienced solid momentum on the mICe front, with over 1,155 deals sealed so far which will bring around 670,000 partici-pants till 2012 to its property. These comprise of a mixture of both intimate and marquee events - a signal that the integrated resort has the flexibility and capacity to handle events of varying sizes."There's a growing confidence in our services and multiple venue spaces - because our track record is now evident to all. Last year alone, we hosted 700 events within 8 months - that's equivalent to having nearly 90 events per month," said mr Zin. "happy clients are returning to us for their next installment, and are also exploring us for other types of corporate events."©MFW 2011 SingaporeAdvertorial