The global pandemic prompted an influx of virtual meetings and events over the past year. As the COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues to progress in the United States, some are looking to gather safely in-person while others are still opting to meet virtually from a distance. In response, hotel brands are rolling out hybrid meeting options that provide both the physical space and technological support that meeting planners need to hold safe and engaging events in a pandemic environment. Below are the latest announcements from leading hotel brands.
Accor Launches Hybrid Meeting Concept
This month, Accor is launching All Connect, a hybrid meetings concept supported by Microsoft Teams. The company is targeting 100-percent compliance with the new hybrid meetings standard across hotels with meeting rooms by 2022. This new offering will enable corporate customers and meeting planners to combine physical, in-hotel meetings with virtual interactions across multiple locations simultaneously. Meetings will take place on the Microsoft Teams platform, where attendees can connect and engage virtually. In Accor meeting spaces, Microsoft Teams Rooms and Surface Hub 2S will connect people on-site to those joining remotely. The concept will focus primarily on small meetings of between eight and 50 physical participants.
Hilton Rolls Out Hybrid Solutions
Earlier this year, Hilton began rolling out its set of Hilton EventReady Hybrid Solutions globally. The new suite of offerings, which the company plans to continue to evolve, directs event planners to Hilton’s hybrid-ready hotels while also providing them with planning resources—including an expanded playbook and flexible offers. Participating hotels will have access to team member training resources to build and strengthen their knowledge in hybrid events. Each hybrid-ready hotel will have undergone an evaluation to assess the available IT bandwidth and infrastructure of the hotel to meet the requirements of small hybrid events.
IHG Offers Resources, Tech, and Tools for Hybrid Events
In March, IHG Hotels & Resorts expanded its Meet with Confidence program to include resources, technology, and tools for hybrid events that can simultaneously connect multiple hotel locations to regional and global business and leisure events through live streaming, creating more shared experiences for virtual and in-person attendees. To further enhance the program, IHG has formed partnerships in the United States with Wellness 4 Humanity, Williams-Sonoma, and weframe to offer solutions liked rapid onsite COVID-19 testing, customized food and beverage experiences, and technology to enable digital collaboration. The technology is enabled by IHG’s internet solution, IHG Connect, which allows for unlimited device connectivity and the ability to manage bandwidth spikes for surge periods during large meetings and corporate events.
Marriott Expands Hyrbid Meeting Solutions
In March, Marriott made available new resources for hybrid meetings and events, including providers and pricing, at Marriott hotels across the United States and Canada. Marriott curated a list of providers including Encore, Cvent, Convene, MeetingPlay, and Hopin that offer technology solutions for hosting hybrid meetings. These providers offer a range of features and services that allow meeting and event professionals to execute hybrid meetings across the Marriott portfolio of hotels in the United States and Canada.
Omni Introduces ‘Ready, Set, Go Hybrid’
Omni Hotels & Resorts’ newest solution for meeting professionals who are planning virtual and hybrid in-person events is called Ready, Set, Go Hybrid with Omni. The program brings a new level of production quality and support for its customers’ presentations, small meetings, and/or full-scale hybrid events. Intended to simplify the process for Omni’s clients, the brand used direct customer feedback to design options for the simplest to the most complex event requirements, whether for individuals, collaborative meetings, or large-scale events with attendees in multiple locations. In each scenario, production elements such as audio, cameras, lighting, and the latest technology components are integrated with professional support solutions for high-quality outcomes. Omni is working with its event production partner, Encore, to provide these solutions.