Industry NewsBrandsIHG Hotels & Resorts Partners With CVS Health and PCMA

IHG Hotels & Resorts Partners With CVS Health and PCMA

IHG Hotels & Resorts has strengthened its Meet with Confidence program by partnering with CVS Health and PCMA. CVS Health’s Return Ready is now a recommended supplier for onsite COVID-19 rapid testing. IHG also has signed a new education sponsorship agreement with PCMA for the development of a Digital Event Strategist Introductory Certificate Course for hotels and venues. IHG continues to invest in the groups and meetings segment for hybrid and in-person gatherings.

An August survey from PCMA, a network of business events strategists, found that 54 percent of planner respondents are turning their attention to designing digital event experiences. In its September survey, nearly half of planner respondents said they are planning a digital/online-only event for Q4 2021, and for Q1 through Q2 2022, one-third are planning a digital/online-only event and 47 percent are planning a hybrid event.

Derek DeCross, senior vice president, global sales, IHG Hotels & Resorts, said, “These partnerships come at a perfect time as face-to-face meetings are coming back through the rest of this year and into 2022. We are excited to welcome them back and wellbeing is our top priority. We are the first hotel company to partner with CVS Health and PCMA, and their expertise will help us better serve planners and our guests. We will continue to strengthen our Meet with Confidence program to provide industry-leading meeting and event solutions without compromising on the experience or flexibility that guests and planners need.”

As event planners prepare for hybrid or in-person events, CVS Health, a provider of COVID-19 testing and vaccinations, is a provider of onsite rapid testing through Return Ready at IHG Hotels & Resorts in the United States. And while vaccine rates continue to trend in a positive direction, preventive measures and effective testing will continue to be critical to hosting hybrid and in-person gatherings. This onsite testing offered through CVS Health complements the IHG Way of Clean program, which was enhanced in 2020 with additional cleanliness and well-being measures implemented at all hotels and IHG’s Meet with Confidence Commitment.

James Margiotta, senior vice president, Return Ready, CVS Health, said, “As we continue our fight against the pandemic, we know prompt diagnosis through measures such as onsite testing continues to play a critical role in helping to limit the spread of COVID-19. CVS Health is proud to be able to offer IHG a customizable, onsite testing solution through Return Ready so they can welcome back travelers and guests for safer hybrid or in-person events across the United States.”

As the needs of meeting planners have evolved, particularly around technology for hybrid events, IHG is upskilling its hotel teams around the world to meet the needs of planners and attendees. IHG will serve as the education sponsor for a new Digital Event Strategist Hotel and Venue Introductory Certificate Course created by PCMA, in partnership with Encore. The course is designed as a development program to educate and train hotel and venue teams to  partner with planners in the hosting of corporate and social hybrid events:

  • Supporting Strategic Hybrid Event Design
  • Design of Hybrid Events
  • Venue Readiness of Hybrid Events
  • Audience Experience of Hybrid Events

Sherrif Karamat, CAE, PCMA president and CEO, said, “The pandemic changed the way our audiences engage with business events, but not their desired outcomes from business events. Reskilling is a real need for our community, and we are proud to be part of this important and collaborative program. Now is the time to safely get back to business, and collectively develop a plan for the future of the business events industry.”

Last year, IHG introduced its Meet with Confidence program to address the changing needs of meeting planners. Earlier this year, the program was strengthened to include tools, resources, and support for hybrid meetings and events. In addition to these new partnerships, IHG has existing partnerships in the United States with Williams-Sonoma, Inc., weframe, and Wellness 4 Humanity. These partners offer customized food and beverage experiences for virtual attendees, technology to enable digital collaboration, and rapid onsite COVID-19 testing.