Travel has been restricted for the majority of 2020 now and people are hesitant to leave their home countries for fear of sudden lockdowns and high flight infection rates. However, as domestic travel opens up and countries with the virus under control begin to return to a new normal, this broadens the possibility of having destination events again. It may be a while before international travel for large scale events is feasible, but event planners can capitalize on the relaxation of domestic travel by using these four tips to make their guests experience feel like an international getaway and boost positive sentiment at a time when everyone needs it!
01 Think outside of your hometown
Even though international travel is restricted, there are still plenty of options for events outside of your hometown that offer a complete change of scenery. Domestic travel can enable you to rediscover the hidden gems your country has to offer and provide the feeling of an intentional getaway, without risking the long-haul flights.
Choose somewhere that requires a plane, train, or long bus ride to get to as this would add to that going away feeling and add an element of excitement to the journey. Another positive of this is that you and your guests will not be jet lagged or tired from your travels and will be ready to get straight to the event. The location does not have to be very far, oftentimes even different hotels within the same city can offer a world of a difference in terms of atmosphere and environment.
The key to this would be to find new experiences or locations that another destination has to offer that your city does not. The northern parts of countries are usually significantly cooler than the south, and sometimes can even have experiences such as skiing or snowboarding that the south does not! Contrastingly, the south usually has nicer beaches and a more tropical climate, so choose somewhere that feels significantly different to where you (and your guests!) have been for the last few months! Centring your event around the contrasting environment can emphasize the international feeling and make your guests forget that they have not even left the country.
Marriott has many different hotels in every country, each one offering the absolute best of the local environments and will ensure you have a unique experience, no matter which one you choose. We have over 800 properties in Asia Pacific, so we have no doubt that you will be able to find an option for your event. Easily find a suitable venue by defining your specific requirements here.
02 Plan internationally themed events
At a time when everyone is reminiscing about travelling internationally again, making your events globally themed will satisfy this nostalgic feeling for your guests. If you are hosting a wedding, consider making each event in the theme of a different country – decorate the venue with details from the specific destination, serve the local cuisine and hire foreign entertainment. There are numerous options and details you could incorporate to make the experience feel as real as possible – from sending “boarding pass” invites to dressing event staff in costumes to playing the foreign music, these are all factors that will contribute to making the experience complete. Think of all five senses and how that would truly immerse your guests in the event, adding to the richness of the evening.
W Brisbane is achieving this by bringing Bali to the city. Haldon Philp, General Manager of the W Brisbane has highlighted the projected success of this initiative through his interview: “millions of Australians flock to Bali each year for the sun, surf and relaxation, and W Bali-Seminyak is the number one luxury lifestyle hotel in Bali. It’s the ultimate pairing to bring the best of W Bali-Seminyak to W Brisbane.”
The experience is being brought to life by transporting guests to a riverside location on the iconic WET deck, serving the cocktail menu directly from the WOOBAR Bali with the signature drinks, offering traditional Balinese dishes and decorating the deck with bean bags and swinging hammocks. To further enhance the ambiance, vibrant palm trees, tropical greenery, lantern lighting, coconuts stamped with “W Bali” and bright Balinese umbrellas recreate iconic scenes from Seminyak Beach. Find out more about this experience here.
Similarly, the JW Marriot Bangkok is transforming into the JW Marriot Nara by recreating signature experiences through music, art, food and wellness. They are serving the menu of the Nara hotel’s Azekura Restaurant at the Nami Teppanyaki Steakhouse and have added traditional Japanese dishes to the daily breakfast menu. JW’s Health Club & Spa will present the Nara’s signature spa treatment – a soothing 30-minute tea scrub infused with persimmon. In addition to this, there is a photo booth resembling Torii gate to provide guests with a souvenir of the stay that serves as a remembrance of the experience.
Incorporating these elements can truly allow guests to immerse themselves in an international experience while staying in their domestic countries. Marriot’s staff are experts at curating these luxurious affairs, so allow us to take care of adding these charms to your next event.
03 Use creative venues
Outdoor events would not only limit the risk of the virus spreading, but also provide a more interesting atmosphere. Aside from the outdoor locations our properties have to offer, if possible, transporting your guests to a nearby landmark for the event – such as a waterfall or national park – would enable your guests to partake in sightseeing while attending the event. This can make the entire stay even more dynamic and fulfil the lack of positive excitement people have been unable to experience in these unprecedented times.
If your event is indoors, making your guests travel across the country only to host a conference in a windowless board room would not be making the most of the opportunity at hand. Choose locations that offer a view of the destination, and allow us to pay attention to the details, from décor to menu to enhance the evening. Our newly reimagined spaces will ensure that your occasion will be remarkable, no matter where it is held. An example below is of a sit-down meeting in Le Meridian, Xiamen, where the event was held right in front of a waterfall on our property.
04 Invite (virtual) international attendees
As guest lists are limited to those only able to attend locally, inviting international attendees over online conferencing tools and having them interact at the event over our hotel’s large LED screens can expand the boundaries of the function and increase the feeling of connection. In addition to this, livestreaming events has proved to be increasingly popular and successful over the last few months, as people who are unable to physically attend do not miss out on the function. Marriott has all the necessary equipment to set this up for you, to ensure that your event runs smoothly for all your guests, including the ones not physically there!
A combination of these factors will surely provide an international feeling to your domestic event. Taking the risk for a long-haul flight is not necessary to obtain a unique experience that your own country surely has to offer, especially with the help of Marriott. Rediscover the hidden gems of your local country while staying safe.
Above all, ensure you are following all health and safety guidelines and regulations of your country. We understand that some countries may have tighter restrictions than others, but no matter how big or small your event, aspects of these tips can be incorporated to make your memorable occasion even more special. Unique times require unique solutions. Allow us to take care of it for you.