As South East Asia’s biggest international hub, Singapore is an almost inevitable stop for those doing business in the region. It has long played a key role as a central international business hub, and a meeting point for corporate travelers attracted by opportunities in its biggest industries, including shipping, banking, trading, oil and gas, and increasingly, tourism.
As business travel increasingly flows to Singapore, the following are our executive tips for executives.
As Signapore is the center of the world of corporate travel, staying connected is easily achieved. Many international mobile phone companies have roaming agreements in place, however if you’re traveling frequently or for a long stay, it’s cheap and easy to buy a local SIM card (you need to show your passport to buy one).
Internet access is easy to find, and most cafes and accommodation throughout Singapore offer public access. There is also a free city-wide Wi-Fi service called Wireless@SG which you can access by registering by telephone or online. Surfing speed is up to 5Mbps.
In an emergency, public telephone booths take phone cards (and sometimes credit card), and can be used for both local and international calls.
Show an Interest in Business Cards
Business cards are exchanged in Singapore at every social and business event, so make sure you travel with a well stocked supply.
You should give / receive them with two hands (as you would with money or a piece of paper). While business here is conducted off a Western model, customs and etiquette are still influenced by Asia (especially the Chinese). It is common courtesy to show an interest in each card you receive instead of immediately putting it away.
Use Singapore’s Air BnB For Business Travelers
Singapore has a wide range of accommodation options which cater to business travelers, though a stand out is MetroResidences; a Singapore-based Air BnB-style service connecting business travellers to “best-value at best-price” serviced apartments.
This is a curated platform which has been around for 2 and a half years, and lists corporate serviced apartments for up to 40% less than those provided by hotels and traditional serviced apartment players. Their whole aim is to make corporate stays more affordable while upholding a consistent experience for guests.
This is primarily for business travelers staying in the city for more than 30 days, and focuses only on longer-term rentals. Each apartment is set up in central neighborhoods with quality furniture, amenities, condition of the building and location. Guests book online and use a smartphone app to communicate with MetroResidences guest services during their stay.
Be Prepared For Corporate Entertaining
Singapore is known for corporate entertaining, and business is often done over corporate lunches and dinners. Keep in mind that smoking is not always socially acceptable, and is prohibited in a number of places, so you should always research ahead of time.
Stay Looking Sharp
Singapore’s location close to the equator means you’ll be working in a tropical climate. The weather is hot and humid, so you shouldn’t plan to walk for anything more than 10 minutes to preserve your sharp look. Anything longer than this and you may need a change of suit to avoid looking wilted and damp.
Singapore taxis and ubers are cheap (and air conditioned!), and the MRT is very fast and convenient. You should take the MRT during rush hour other wise you will need to budget extra time for the drive (punctuality is very important for meetings).
There is also plenty of rainfall throughout the year, so be sure to have an umbrella and a sleek looking raincoat on hand. It’s also important to stay properly hydrated so you avoid dehydration.
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