FUTURE OF MEETINGS: ALL ABOUT EXPERIENCES
Hotelier India|May 2021
Facilitated by the availability of digital tools and accelerated by the pandemic, hybrid events are here to stay
VINITA BHATIA

Following COVID-19’s outbreak, many companies and workers shifted to remote work to ensure a semblance of normalcy. This overnight adoption of digital meeting tools accelerated the longer-term transformations in how companies operated.

However, there was one niggling hitch. Despite the access to superlative digital tools the importance of in-person meetings could not be replaced, especially for sales and business deals. While reduction of travel for internal work meetings, especially internationally, is anticipated business travel will continue to remain important for cracking deals.

Patrick Mendes, Group Chief Commercial Officer (Sales, Marketing, Distribution and Loyalty), Accor tells Vinita Bhatia that hybrid meetings are here to stay – pandemic or not. As this trend shapes up to impact a large part of meetings, hotel brands will continue to rely on a dynamic domestic market by optimising the use of available spaces and diversifying revenue for the longer term.

Are hybrid meetings restricted to boardroom interactions or can it encompass business events allowing delegates to meet in-person and communicate with participants off-site?

A hybrid meeting features at least one group of face-to-face attendees connecting virtually with other meeting participants who are unable to attend physically. It is so much more than just boardroom interactions.

It can be more interactive and engaging as physical and online attendees from different locations come together and participate in the same experience or content through technology at the same time. This is an ideal meeting solution during and following the pandemic and we are convinced it will become the norm in the future.

According to our internal research, 70% of media and events (M&E) planners see hybrid meetings as an important service in the future. We expect the trend towards remote meetings and events to remain a lasting legacy even after COVID-19.

How can hotel brands rethink and redefine their options for event delegates and corporate clients in hybrid meetings?

Hotel brands have a key role to play in re-attracting meeting planners. They will leverage two distinctive pillars. The first will be focusing on exclusive brand experience.

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