Business travel agents tips: Singapore city guide for corporate travel
20th May 2015
Business travel agents and meeting planners have valued Singapore as Asia’s top convention destination for years, mostly due its offers for meetings, conventions, events and also incentives. The latest annual statistics of the International Congress and Convention Association supports this, ranking the city among the top 10 meeting and events destinations worldwide, together with Paris, Berlin, Vienna and Barcelona. With many Export-oriented trade organisations, businesses in the technology and pharmaceutical sectors bring corporate travellers to Singapore, contributing to the city’s economic growth averaging roughly 6 percent over the last 39 years. The island nation is a fascinating mix of East and West, old and new, traditional and modern, in a cosmopolitan multicultural setting. There are over 7,000 multinational corporations, trading companies and financial services institutions in Singapore’s towering office blocks and the vast range of hotels, restaurants, special venues and clubs, together with extremely fast internet and teleconferencing services are the base for the city’s reputation as an exchange capital. Technology, talent and ideas come together in this buzzing place and create synergistic value for businesses and people, i.e. growth that is powered by the generation and exchange of ideas, leading to innovation.
Organising corporate meetings & business events
Recently, Singapore has improved its “must-visit” reputation with business travel agents even more. This is partly due to Singapore economic role, and partly because of numerous transformations of the city’s convention and exhibition centres as well as the excellent and distinctive facilities these event locations have to offer. Some key venues every meetings and events planner should know are the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Center, Suntec Singapore International Convention and Exhibition Center and the Singapore Expo, as well as the Resorts World Sentosa. However, if your events budget is limited, there is a wide choice of smaller sized venues offering the same level of advanced and superb facilities and supporting services to fit your meetings and events budget. When it comes to arranging your delegate travel, it is best to ask your appointed business travel management company, who can develop attractive business travel solutions, help source the perfect venue for your corporate events, and provide professional destination advice. If you are not working with a business travel company yet, don’t worry Singapore offers a huge choice of opportunities for organisations through its network of business travel agents, meeting organisers and event planners working in partnership to deliver first-class business events, such as Flightline Travel Management. By leveraging on extensive networks, infrastructure and the city’s dynamic knowledge-based economy, you get one step closer to achieving success. Offers for business and leisure customers are easily accessible.
Getting from & to Singapore Changi Airport (SIN)
Singapore Changi Airport (SIN) is one of the world’s most outstanding airports and serves more than 100 airlines offering 6,400 weekly flights connecting Singapore to over 270 cities in around 60 countries and territories worldwide. Based on international passenger traffic, it is the fifth busiest airport in the world and second in Asia.
To make sure you find the right business travel solutions, we have compiled below a choice of ground transportation options that are available for corporate travellers in Singapore. There is a 24-hour Ground Transportation Desk situated in each terminal’s arrival hall, available to handle all passengers’ transportation queries and requests. The options available are airport shuttle buses (S$9, i.e. £4.29, €5.38, $7.22 to most downtown hotels), 4-seater (S$55, i.e. £26.22, €32.86, $44.11 per trip to any destination in Singapore) and 7-seater vehicles (S$60, i.e. £28.60, €35.85, $48.12 per trip to any destination in Singapore). It takes about 25 minutes to the city centre in regular traffic.
By train, using the Singapore Mass Rapid Transit (MRT), passengers who want to travel from the airport to the city, need to transfer at Tanah Merah train station to the westbound train. The last train leaving the airport and allowing for the transfer leaves at 23:18. For travelling from the city to the airport, passengers have to transfer at Tanah Merah train station to the east bound train, with the first train arriving at the airport at 05:26 (Mondays to Saturdays) or at 05:54 (Sundays and public holidays). The fares vary according to the distance travelled, but in any case it is cheaper to pay via a so-called smartcard than cash, which you can get from ticket offices.
Public buses are leaving between 06:00 and just before 23:00 from the basement bus bays of Terminals 1, 2 and 3. The bus number to catch when going from the airport to the city is the number 36 (below S$2, i.e. £0.95, €1.19, $1.60, with no change given), which takes about an hour. To go from the city to the airport you take the same bus number and arrive at Terminals 1, 2 and 3.
There is a free shuttle bus service between the airport and Changi Business Park, however, only between 11:45 and 14:30.
Taxis can be found at the taxi stands at each Terminal’s arrival level. The ride between the airport and the city takes about 30 minutes and costs between S$18.00 and S$38.00 (£8.58-£18.12, €10.76-€22.71, $14.44-$30.48), depending on the origin/destination. Additionally, there is an airport surcharge (between S$3, i.e. £1.43, €1.79, $2.41, and 50% of the final metered fare) for all trips starting from the airport.
Car rentals are available in all Terminal, i.e. Avis, Budget and Hertz. However, Hertz is not available in Terminal 1. Counter operating hours are from 07:00 to 23:00.
Whatever your ground transportation requirements are, speak to our Car-Line business travel agents team they can advise you, pre-book airport parking or car-hire or organise chauffeured limousine services for your VIP executive travellers.
Hotels & Accommodation Options
If you are looking for a full service luxury hotel option to accommodate your corporate travellers, we have some good addresses to keep in mind, such as the Fairmont Singapore, the Hilton Singapore, The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore, Pan Pacific Singapore, the Raffles Hotel Singapore or the Shangri-La Singapore. Some upscale hotel options to consider would be, Oasia Hotel Singapore by Far East Hospitality, the Crowne Plaza Hotel or Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium. For mid-range the IBIS Singapore on Bencoolen, Holiday Inn Express Singapore Orchard Road or Orchard Parade Hotel by Far East Hospitality.
Business Etiquette Tips
If you should commit a social faux pas, Singaporeans are not likely to take offence, especially when they understand you come from a different culture. Generally, do as ‘the Romans when in Rome’ and always be polite. Rather avoid discussions about topics such as racial issues, religion and politics. Here we share 13 must-know business etiquette tips so you do not put a foot in it when doing business in Singapore:
- Be aware that some Singapore taboos are punishable by a fine, jail or even capital punishment. For example, littering, jaywalking and smoking may lead to a fine.
- English is the official business language and business conduct follows very much the Western model. Nonetheless, Asian (especially Chinese) business ethics often prevail. Business cards are exchanged on every social and business occasion and you should make sure to give or receive them with two hands (this includes any piece of paper, also money). Never put the business card casually in your back pocket, haphazardly stash it in a folder or write on it. Any of these actions will most likely be misinterpreted as disrespect. To greet someone you usually use a friendly handshake, however, a slight bow is preferred by older Chinese people and a bow of the head towards Malays, especially with people of the opposite gender.
- Avoid showing affection of any kind in public as this is considered impolite and rude.
- Don’t point with your index finger or touch a person’s head (as it is considered sacred) and not show the bottoms of your feet or point with them (as they are considered dirty).
- Punctuality, as the Germans the Singaporeans are punctual for their appointments and expect the same from others. So, when your business meeting is planned for 8am, then they mean 8am. So, make sure you are arrive in time, but if you should be unexpectedly late, give them a call.
- Business dress is fairly formal, and locals as well as expats work long hours (official working day: roughly 0900-1700, much longer hours are common).
- Make sure when entertaining Malay associates (who are Muslim) to not do business on Fridays or during the Ramadan (the Muslim fasting month), not to serve alcohol or pork.
- If you plan on entertaining Indians, make sure to avoid beef or have a choice of vegetarian options, as most of them do not eat beef.
- Unless specifically invited, spouses of both sexes do not usually attend business events or functions.
- Usually, the bill of a business social event is paid by the inviting party. This can be reciprocated the next time by the other party.
- Do not tip, as tipping is frowned down upon by the government. Mostly, a service charge is already included.
- If you want to express your thanks by giving a gift, small business-related gifts, such as a pen with the company logo, would be adequate. Typically you wrap gifts, present them and the other receives them with two hands, and they are opened after the presenter leaves. Make sure to find out more about adequate gifts considering the rules of Islam and the beliefs of the Chinese to avoid a faux pax.
- Be patient throughout negotiations and never try to disagree directly with someone of a higher rank.
In case you need more detailed information or help to find the most appropriate business travel services for your trip, contact our experienced business travel agents team.
© Copyright Flightline Travel Management Ltd. All rights reserved. All prices correct at time of publication.
Are you planning business travel to Asia? Why not explore more city guides and tips for corporate travellers flying to Asia:
- Business Travel to China: Hong Kong City Guide for business travellers
- Business travel management: Destination Guide to Seoul
- Business Travel to Asia: 18 points every corporate traveller should know
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