Make incentives a core market, says Scott Kreeger, Galaxy’s director of operations development

Incentives is a key component for convention centres. Opening in 2021, Galaxy International Convention Centre in Macau is aiming for the title of Asia’s most technologically advanced event facility.

Scott Kreeger, Galaxy’s director of operations development, spoke to M&IT at IBTM in Barcelona.

The latest project developed by Galaxy Entertainment Group (GEG) is gearing up for the top spot as one of the largest meetings and incentive destinations in the world, with a total event space of 40,000 sqm. The 9-metre high ceiling is rigged with a programmable LED ceiling, while all meeting room walls are decked out with large, high-spec digital screens.

The Galaxy Arena is one of Asia’s largest venues with a 16,000-seat capacity. The grand ballroom can hold more than 1,000 guests and there is 10,000 sqm of pillar-less space to accommodate up to 7,000 delegates.

Intent on bringing a Las Vegas ambience to the Galaxy International Convention Centre, GEG hired Scott Kreeger as director of operations development. He was previously the president and chief operating officer of the SLS Las Vegas. Kreeger has more than 20 years’ experience in Las Vegas with MGM Resorts International and Station Casinos.

“The idea of an international conference centre was stimulated through our vision for Macau and also their government. We have a five-year plan to become a world centre for tourism and leisure,” Kreeger said.

“Macau is a great international destination with good infrastructure. The right time for us. There have been infrastructure improvements, with three major international airports, which service 200 destinations and also the Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macau Bridge. In under an hour, you can go from the airport to our conference centre. We can compete head to head with any destination in the world.”

Hotel hotspot
The resort will have Macau’s largest collection of luxury hotel brands under one roof -The Ritz-Carlton, Macau; Banyan Tree Macau; Hotel Okura Macau; Galaxy Hotel and Broadway Hotel. There will be more than 120 dining options at Galaxy Macau, which spans from Michelin stars to authentic regional cuisines.

“The whole theme of the Andaz is based around a local Macanese (mix of southern Chinese and Portuguese influences) antique shop. As a delegate, if you don’t have time to leave the facility, we are going to give you that local experience. That’s the trick – to weave it together.”

Scott Kreeger, director: operations development at Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd.

Scott Kreeger, director: operations development at Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd.

Hyatt Hotel’s first Andaz Hotel to Macau will offer more than 700 rooms and suites, plus a dedicated check-in lounge catering to large meetings, conferences and incentive groups. “Andaz is directly connected to all the facilities. You literally push the button, go down in the elevator and you are in a meeting space.”

In terms of digital spec, Kreeger believes the resort one of the most advanced in the world. “We had a goal to be the most iconic and the most technologically advanced international conference centre in the world,” Kreeger said.

“It’s just loaded with technology. We have deployed the most advanced back engine technical features of any conference centre in the world. That goes for the overall infrastructure to the digital footprint. We have over 400 large-format digital displays in the venue. There’s not a drop-down screen in the whole place. Everything is floor-to-ceiling digital.”

Beyond the casino
The autonomous region on the south coast of China is keen to be known for more than its nickname of ‘Las Vegas of Asia’. In fact, it has far surpassed the Nevada precinct. The gaming industry in Macau is the largest in the world, generating over US$24 billion (£19 bn) in revenue and is approximately seven times larger than that of Las Vegas.

“Incentives is one of our core markets. We have over 120 restaurant offerings, entertainment, plus 200 retail shops.  It’s a playground with the world’s largest sky-top pool waterpark, extending over 75,000 sqm,” Kreeger explained.

For incentives, Macau is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with more than 20 historical locations for visitors to explore. These include the Guia Fortress, a colonial military fort, chapel, and lighthouse complex built by the Portuguese in the 17th century.

“When we grow our precinct, we will have 11 recognised hotel brands and over 400 retail shops. To bring an incentive group to this location, everything you need is there,” Kreeger said.

“The conference centre was built with consideration to the incentive market in mind. A multi-purpose arena which can do everything from a large general session to a sporting event to world tour concerts.”

GEG is moving forward with a strong focus on the non-gaming sector, targeting the meetings and incentives market. A budget of $1.5 bn (£1.17 bn) was slated for the building programme, ploughed into Galaxy Macau and StarWorld Macau.

Strategic planning
The company is performing well, despite a number of adverse conditions. “Macau has faced numerous headwinds in 2019, these includes ongoing trade tensions, a slowing global economy, regional competition, currency fluctuation, disruptions in Hong Kong among others.,” Dr Lui Che Woo, chair of GEG said.

In Q3 2019, total visitor arrivals to Macau were 9.9 million, up 10 per cent year-on-year. Visitor arrivals from Mainland China also grew 10 per cent year-on-year to 7.1 million. China, Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan are the core markets, with a strategy to gain awareness in the UK.

According to Macau International & MICE Travelers Market: Current Trends, Opportunity, Growth Potential and Forecast to 2025, by 2025, Macau will generate more than US$ 15 bn (£12 bn) in revenues by international travellers and attract more than two million visitors from the meetings, incentives, conference and incentive market by 2025.