710km2 - the size of our heavily urbanised and small city-state. On a usual workday, you are likely to find yourself entering the packed roads and dense urban jungle that is uniquely Singapore.
On weekends, as you take a stroll along the Central Business District or even our heartlands, you’ll find the ever-ongoing developments of skyscrapers occuring wherever you go. With such rapid developments happening on our relatively limited land area, it is inevitable for rental costs to rise.
Rising Rental Costs a Key Reason for Closure of Local Businesses
Rising rent remains a common reason as to why many of local retail businesses in Singapore fold. The F&B industry is no stranger to this phenomenon. The recent closure of the iconic Tong An Eating House at Keong Saik Road and the modern Wok & Barrel are apt examples.
Alternative Venues for Offsite Meetings
While on one hand, Singapore is known to be a city with typically high rental costs, she is also a renowned destination for meetings and events. It is this characteristic that local businesses should tap on.
Offsite meetings, corporate events and community meetups - these are just some examples of possible functions happening in our local retail or F&B spaces. Economically distressed businesses can recoup rent by leasing out their spaces during off-peak hours or days.
With fatigue from visiting common function spaces such as hotel or condominium rooms, Singaporeans are increasingly growing more receptive to alternative venues for meetings and events. One good example is how art gallery, Chan Hampe Galleries, is now host to events from the Finance industry.
Keen on supporting local businesses in this respect, We Are Spaces is a new online venue platform aimed to spread the awareness of alternative local spaces to organizations and individuals.
A New Way to Build Up Brand Awareness
Hosting an event also has strong marketing perks. In the case of Chan Hampe Galleries, through the event, guests were also exposed to the artworks on display there as well - such is an exponential way to gain word-of-mouth awareness.
As with any benefit, there is much effort needed to be put in before it can be reaped. Local retail or F&B businesses looking to host events need to be equipped with common event needs. These include the provision of WiFi, projection systems, and sufficient space for a gathering.
For businesses considering this option, event venue rental is a new way to make assets pay for themselves. In comparison to other tactics such as offering discounts to improve sales, or layoffs to reduce costs, opening a new revenue channel based on an otherwise underused asset seems to be the smarter way to go.
The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect this publication's view, and this article is not edited by Singapore Business Review. The author was not remunerated for this article.
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A writer first and foremost, Daniel currently earns a living as a marketing executive working at We Are Spaces. At other times, he is a freelance writer who enjoys using words to help people in the communication of their ideas.