Setia SPICE: Revisiting an Iconic Landmark

4th Jul, 2021

Setia SPICE is rising in face of the pandemic with a new plan in place to guarantee its position in the sector. This Penang event giant, which has undergone several renovations and rebranding, sees this challenge as another opportunity to innovate towards the future.

The Setia SPICE Convention Centre was, in many ways, a unique project built on the island of Penang, Malaysia. Not only for its unconventional architecture - evident in the 4,500-square meter pillarless ballroom or in the roof lighting structure that has become an icon in the country − but especially by displaying the first solar-powered hybrid convention centre in the world. With acres of community park, a solar PV Farm and sustainable resources throughout, Setia SPICE − the Subterranean Penang International Convention and Exhibition Centre − is also the largest convention venue certified by the green building index in Northern Malaysia. Well ahead of its time, this hybrid solar-powered convention centre is partly supplied from the national power grid and the solar panel itself. Some of its impressive sustainable features include expansive green spaces, eco-friendly technology, energy efficient systems, architectural redevelopment and social inclusive design. “We have been upgrading our centre in terms of technology applied to sustainability, moving towards a hybrid and balanced approach,” says Mr. Francis Teo, Head of Convention Centres for Setia SPICE, the company that owns SPICE. “We are also working closely with the authorities to ensure that compliance with Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) is at the highest level of hygiene, where safety becomes standard practice.”

Like many other venues, this past year has not been mild for the bottom line and influx of Setia SPICE. This is quite illustrative of the drop in business in this MICE complex compared to the normal pre-pandemic period, having affected the target revenue of Setia SPICE versus the actual revenue which fell by 47% in the year 2020. Due to lockdown, business events will be the first to be affected and the last sector to be recovered. With all the SOPs in place they expect to “slowly catch up with previous numbers in this post-pandemic phase.”

However, together with Amari SPICE Penang earmarked for opening in Q1, 2022, they are in midst of repositioning the SPICE branding with more vibrant experience to all delegates. “Our strategic partnership with national and state convention bureaus, Malaysia Convention and Exhibition Bureaus (MyCEB) and Penang Convention and Exhibition Bureaus (PCEB), add to a better activation package in the reopening of the international border, focusing on incentives, promotion, and other interesting solutions for local approach,” says Teo. Another issue raised was the business retransformation at a hybrid and virtual level, pledging commitment to the delegate safety in Penang and a new confidence booster for the events industry. To this end, Setia SPICE has partnered with Malaysian event tech provider, meGo Event, to provide a range of new digital services, such as pre-registration with contact tracing before the event and contactless registration on site.

In September 2020, Setia SPICE launched its “Relax, We Got You!” campaign, paving the road to recovery and combining a mix of smart tech solutions, enhanced health & safety protocols, and new hybrid event models. “Our venues were quickly equipped with the necessary technology and stringent procedures to ensure the safety and health of our employees and visitors,” said Te0. Lastly, the venue will act as a vaccination center in Penang. “The new business event market is coming and we are ready to explore it in cooperation with all industry partners,” closes Teo. Wherefore, embracing challenges together.

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