CASE STUDY: Global Leadership Conference and YPO EDGE 2018


Dates: 5 - 9 March 2018

Venue: Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Marina Bay Sands


L-R: YPO’s Global Leadership Conference and YPO EDGE returned to Sands Expo and Convention Centre in 2018; Marina Bay Sands is the only venue in the world to host YPO more than once.

The combination of large and intimate spaces within a single venue, coupled with a host of refreshed offerings, was Marina Bay Sands’ winning formula that brought the premiere organization for chief executives, YPO, back to the integrated resort for a second time.

From 5 - 9 March 2018, YPO’s Global Leadership Conference (GLC) and its flagship event YPO EDGE called Marina Bay Sands home once again, six years since the last YPO event was held in 2012.

Singapore was also the only Asian city to host YPO more than once.

According to Terry O’Connor, YPO EDGE 2018 Host City Chair and former Regional Chair of Southeast Asia, Singapore and Marina Bay Sands were a “natural choice” for YPO when choosing a location for their 2018 conference.

“I think Singapore is a global city but with exciting features, and YPO had a great experience here at Marina Bay Sands in 2012. Our members gave it a very good rating, and part of that was due to the facilities, flexible space and the convenience of the venue. It’s really one of few places globally where we can get all of our members in one location,” elaborates Mr. O’Connor.

Themed “Defy Convention”, the 2018 edition of YPO EDGE returned on a bigger and better scale. The event drew more than 2,800 young leaders from more than 90 countries — up from 2,500 in 2012 — to the integrated resort to attend a series of plenary sessions, concurrent sessions, discussions and networking around topics of economic opportunity, sustainable environmental change and compassionate leadership. This year’s conference also boasted an impressive line-up of high profile speakers, including Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Founder of the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative and former World No. 1 tennis player Billie Jean King.


Size matters

The availability of extensive, flexible meeting spaces at Marina Bay Sands was a key consideration for YPO when choosing a venue for its 2018 flagship events. Furthermore, with a 2,561-room hotel located within an iconic integrated resort in the heart of the city, Marina Bay Sands remained an ideal destination for the organization’s second event in Singapore.

“I think YPO needs a location where you’ve got a hospitality venue that is big enough, but also offers quality and intimacy. Marina Bay Sands has a leading facility – not just in terms of its size and scale, but also the availability of smaller, intimate venues within a single location. These factors are important for the modern CEO,” said Mr. O’Connor.

L-R: Delegates registering for YPO’s events; YPO EDGE and GLC featured a series of plenary sessions, concurrent sessions, discussions and networking over five days.

Altogether, the YPO group occupied a total of 7,736 room nights — the highest ever that the group has booked within a single venue. YPO also utilized nearly 360,000 sq. ft. of event space, equivalent to the entire Level 4 and 5 of the 1.3 million sq. ft. Sands Expo and Convention Centre.

Over the duration of the GLC and YPO EDGE 2018, the Roselle-Simpor ballroom on Level 4 was transformed into a dynamic Venture Marketplace, which offered a select, experiential showcase of businesses, products and services.

At the same time, smaller, alternative venues — such as Marina Bay Sands’ recently-opened LAVO Italian Restaurant & Rooftop Bar as well as individual meeting rooms on Level 4 of the convention centre — provided the YPO group with intimate spaces for hosting networking events, private gatherings and breakout sessions. Leveraging on the integrated resort’s stellar line-up of award-winning restaurants, YPO’s organizers and delegates also made arrangements for individual celebrations, meals and meetings within the private dining rooms of celebrity chef restaurants such as Adrift by David Myers, CUT by Wolfgang Puck and Osteria Mozza.

For the first time, Marina Bay Sands reserved its recently revamped 24-hour hotel lounge, Renku, for exclusive access to YPO delegates throughout the event duration. This gave delegates an additional private venue to meet, network and carry out business transactions whenever they wanted to.

Renku was transformed into YPO-exclusive hospitality lounge.


New and unique experiences

To welcome YPO back to Marina Bay Sands, its Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) team made sure to roll out the red carpet for the VIP group. Given its prior experience with hosting YPO in 2012, Marina Bay Sands had the advantage of familiarity with the client. This enabled its MICE team to anticipate YPO’s needs, make suitable recommendations, and work in true partnership with the organization’s planning team.

Mike Lee, Vice President of Sales at Marina Bay Sands, said: “Our partnership with YPO was formed years ago, and to have the group return to our integrated resort for their 2018 event is akin to welcoming an old friend home. For that reason, some of Marina Bay Sands’ senior management – including myself — were personally involved in the planning process with YPO. We were excited to work together again to push the event’s boundaries of creativity and build on the success of its 2012 edition.”

YPO’s branding prominently displayed across the integrated resort including the Sands Expo and Convention Centre (top left) and the hotel entrance and lobby (top right and bottom).


During the event week, Marina Bay Sands was transformed into the home of YPO, with the organization’s branding displayed across nearly all digital signage and advertising panels around the hotel lobby, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands and Sands Expo and Convention Centre. The integrated resort had a pagoda in the centre of its Tower 1 lobby — which YPO was able to brand, and it served as a photo-worthy backdrop for the organisation’s delegates from all over the world.

Other personal touches included the set-up of a dedicated check-in counter for YPO attendees to ensure a smooth arrival process, the presentation of YPO-branded Marina Bay Sands chocolates as a welcome amenity, as well as a daily room turndown service with different Marina Bay Sands-branded tokens provided to delegates throughout their stay.

Dedicated check-in counter for YPO delegates to ensure a smooth arrival process.


As a result of Marina Bay Sands’ property-wide reinvestments, YPO delegates and their spouses/partners had the opportunity to stay in newly-renovated rooms across all three hotel towers, dine at the latest celebrity chef and signature restaurants, visit new stores at The Shoppes, and experience updated attractions such as the new light and water show.

While some delegates attended the conference, others and their spouses/partners had the option of attending a private brand showcase at the Louis Vuitton Island Maison at The Shoppes — an initiative that the property specially offered to YPO. Participants were even treated to TWG Tea canapes courtesy of Marina Bay Sands and provided with a dedicated buggy service to transport them around the mall.


Food and beverage

With YPO delegates hailing from more than 90 countries, there was a need for Marina Bay Sands’ MICE team to cater to guests with special dietary requests — ranging from gluten-free and halal to vegetarian and vegan. The integrated resort’s banquet team also curated special menus with over 20 varieties of food per meal, with additional complimentary dishes from the chef, to treat delegates to a selection of local and international food items.

The Tiger Beer booth was one of the many exhibitors at the event’s Venture Marketplace.


Over the YPO group’s entire stay, at least five meals were served per day, including a Happy Hour drinks-cum-light-bites session every evening. Each day, Marina Bay Sands’ Catering and Conference Management (CCM) team had to cater for at least 900 to 1,600 delegates per meal, with separate counters and buffet lines set up for those with specific dietary requirements.

The most impressive F&B set-up was during the conference’s Venture Marketplace, during which Marina Bay Sands’ CCM team rolled out a grand seafood bar offering fresh varieties such as oysters, crab legs and prawns. The team also went the extra mile to provide delegates with a free flow of quality cold pressed juices during their breakfast and morning breaks within the Venture Marketplace.

L-R: Marina Bay Sands’ chefs set up live stations within the Venture Marketplace; cold pressed juices were also available to delegates at the event.


Technology and social media

In keeping with changing MICE and industry trends, YPO also introduced several new elements to its conference. One example was the use of a dedicated event mobile app, which allowed for greater delegate engagement through features such as real-time polling. The use of this event-wide app required a strong internet connection, made possible by Marina Bay Sands’ high performing Wi-Fi infrastructure throughout Sands Expo, which allows for 40,000 devices to be connected simultaneously to high speed Wi-Fi. To better meet YPO’s connectivity needs, the integrated resort’s tech team even set up a customised YPO-exclusive Wi-Fi network that spanned across the entire Marina Bay Sands — allowing delegates to stay connected wherever they went around the integrated resort.

As part of its partnership with the organizer and to generate more buzz around the event, Marina Bay Sands also collaborated with YPO’s Social Media team to share assets, retweet posts and engage with delegates on the integrated resort’s official social media platforms. With content ranging from the prominent event signage around the property to delegate-exclusive benefits, Marina Bay Sands’ YPO-dedicated social posts garnered 101,769 impressions and 1,790 engagements across LinkedIn and Twitter.


An added touch of green

The 2018 GLC and YPO EDGE conference at Marina Bay Sands was also YPO’s first green meeting, with sustainability elements incorporated into its event settings. This was made possible given the integrated resort’s status as an ISO 20121-certified venue, its green building features and the expertise of its MICE team in helping YPO minimise its event’s environmental impact.

Working together with the organizer, Marina Bay Sands’ MICE team helped YPO incorporate several green event initiatives — such as the default set-up of water dispensers instead of plastic bottles, the recycling of plastics, glass and paper where possible, as well as the automatic diversion of leftover food from the event away from landfills using the integrated resort’s onsite food waste digesters.

On the organiser’s side, YPO also produced over 2,800 recyclable registration bags, which included reusable water tumblers for delegates to use in place of single-use plastic bottles.

At the end of the event, the organizers collected and recycled approximately 700 bags and achieved an overall event waste diversion rate of 75 percent, through recycling and food waste diversion efforts.

YPO’s events occupied the entire Level 4 and 5 of the 1.3 million sq. ft. Sands Expo and Convention Centre.


Mr. O’Connor concluded: “I think YPO members had a sensational week. The event has been seamless, and I’m overwhelmed by the gratitude that they’ve expressed for the experience that they’ve had at Marina Bay Sands. A large part of that is due to the service we’ve had from the integrated resort’s MICE team — every level of detail was thought through, from the hospitality to the food and beverage arrangements. The collaboration between the YPO team and the Marina Bay Sands team has been awesome.”


About YPO

YPO is a premier leadership organization of chief executives in the world. The organization provides chief executives with a global platform to engage, learn and grow. YPO members harness the knowledge, influence and trust of the world’s most influential and innovative business leaders to inspire business, personal, family and community impact. Today, YPO empowers more than 25,000 members in more than 130 countries, diversified among industries and types of businesses. Altogether, YPO member-run companies employ more than 15 million people and generate USD6 trillion in annual revenues.