It’s increasingly apparent that hybrid events will become the new normal – regardless of the status of the pandemic. A number of hotels and convention centers are adapting to this new reality.
Earlier this year, Hilton Hotels introduced its Hilton EventReady Hybrid Solutions program for meetings and events. It also provides the Hilton EventReady Playbook, which gives detailed case studies, tips, a glossary of hybrid event terms, etc. to customers working with any of its hotels. Portions of the Playbook are available to anyone planning and executing small hybrid events at any location.
Accor is working with Microsoft to make Teams its meetings and collaboration tool for hybrid meetings. Accor’s target is to get 100% of its hotels with meeting rooms up and running with Teams by 2022. Its “All Connect” concept will focus primarily on small meetings of up 50 in-person participants.
As part of its Connect with Confidence Program that helps meeting professionals identify and tailor solutions that best meet the needs of their event attendees, Marriott International has identified health protocol options that organizers may select for group meetings at their hotels. Optional health protocols include self-administered COVID-19 tests taken by the guest prior to travel, COVID-19 testing administered by a third-party testing provider on site at the hotel, daily and/or pre arrival health screening questions via a dedicated mobile application, and daily temperature checks to enter the event area.
Hybrid-ready hotels and convention centers should have the following baseline requirements:
- sufficient IT bandwidth and infrastructure, which is generally above and beyond the utilization level in the past;
- event spaces configured to allow for social distancing, leveraging outdoor spaces where possible;
- tables and chairs disinfected before every meeting or event and during breaks;
- attendee flow management with signage and staggered breaks where possible;
- enhanced food handling and service guidelines;
- hand sanitizer stations throughout the meeting and event space; and,
- state-of-the-art technology solutions to support virtual and hybrid meetings.