While most meetings and events are on hold for the time being, the vaccine rollout means we may soon see the return of business gatherings, although they will look a little different from before. Hotels are devising innovative solutions for your next get-together. Here we round up some of the major programmes in place – from hybrid events that combine in-person and virtual participation, to measures such as temperature checks and testing procedures.
Hilton has extended its cleaning protocols to its event operations, calling it Hilton Event Ready with Clean Stay. The programme includes meeting room seals and checklists, sanitising stations, a playbook offering guidance and resources for planning events (including testing provider details) and a physical distancing meal service.
Hilton also recently introduced a set of solutions to help event organisers plan hybrid meetings at participating hotels (see meetings.hilton.com/hybrid-solutions). In October 2020, it held its global sales hybrid event at Hilton McLean Tysons Corner in Virginia (pictured). The “hybrid ready” properties offer seamless connectivity, a planning playbook and expertise from dedicated staff. Select hotels will have “presentation stages” that are pre-built with technology for recording and broadcasting high-quality online events. This currently applies to Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach in Florida, Hilton Atlanta, the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, Hilton Denver and LA’s Beverly Hilton and is set to be rolled out in other select US locations and across Europe, the Middle East and Africa by the end of the year. Properties equipped with such technology will accommodate between two and six on-site presenters and up to 50 in-person attendees.
Hilton is providing Covid-19 testing and health screening resources for event attendees in the US. Participating hotels will provide a list of third-party providers that can provide handheld temperature check devices, personal screening checklists, self-testing options and same-day on-site testing.
In March, Hilton Prague and Hilton Prague Old Town held a hybrid event showcase for 300 clients from 30 countries, in partnership with AV Media Events. The main stage was set up in the Congress Hall of Hilton Prague, while the Vivaldi meeting room at the Old Town property was used as a breakout space. hilton.com
Last year Accor introduced its All Meet Well initiative at 135 hotels in its Northern Europe portfolio. Meetings and events are run in accordance with the group’s Allsafe programme, features of which include daily cleaning in the evenings and during lunch breaks, including disinfecting light switches, door handles, chairs, tables, hangers and consoles; vacuum cleaners equipped with HEPA filters; and cleaning checklists provided to event organisers.
At the time of writing, the group was set to launch All Connect, the concept of a hybrid meeting powered by Microsoft Teams technology. The initiative will allow corporate customers and event planners to combine “physical in-hotel meetings with virtual interactions across multiple locations”. The concept focuses primarily on smaller meetings (eight to 50 physical participants) and meetings will take place on the Teams platform. Within the hotels’ meeting spaces, Microsoft Teams Rooms and Surface Hub 2S will connect on-site guests with remote ones through “industry-leading audio and video device experiences”. Bespoke programmes and experiences will be available to attendees.
As of February, 55 per cent of Accor hotels with meeting rooms provided hybrid solutions. The group is aiming for 100 per cent of its hotels with meeting rooms to comply with the new hybrid meetings standard by 2022.
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