According to the research we published recently, 83% of event planners intend to host an event within the next nine months. However, those that host events have hurdles to overcome in order to successfully allay stakeholder concerns about returning to event sites. As of today, 45% of event planners cite complying with government regulations as their biggest concern. Meanwhile, another 30% list safety and hygiene as their top concern. With this in mind, how can event planners navigate these challenges during a recovery period?
People in some of the recovering countries, such as Thailand, Vietnam, and China, are beginning to return to a way of life that seems familiar. Beijing recently hosted a large-scale, 6-day event, the China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS). Though the event was held in a hybrid manner, in-person participation was a feature of the event, highlighting the fact that large-scale events are still being held successfully in China.
We believe this shows that people are eager to return to the public sphere, as they are increasingly looking to resume their daily activities. At Marriott, we’ve been working tirelessly to improve our hygiene, compliance procedures, and employee training, in order to reassure guests that we’re doing everything possible to make our establishments a safe place. Below, we discuss a few key stakeholder concerns and how you, as event planners, can navigate them during recovery, as well as how Marriott can provide support along the way.
Ensuring the cleanliness
Event and conference planners and managers will need to assure participants that events are safe to hold. This can mean several things, but most notably, people looking for an event space will want to know that:
- Event spaces have been fully sanitized before use
- Space owners are assiduous in making sure guests follow the rules
Craig Smith, Marriott’s APAC Group President, recently said that “safety and hygiene is the new amenity” at Marriott, and that enhancing procedures in this area has been the hotel’s number one priority. Therefore, as part of the Marriott’s commitment to cleanliness, we recently formed the Marriot Global Cleanliness Council, which consists of in-house and outside experts in food and water safety, hygiene and infection prevention, and hotel operations. The council’s work will impact more than 7,400 of our properties around the globe, and will continually work to develop a new generation of global hospitality cleanliness standards.
So far, we have initiated plans to introduce enhanced technologies, including electrostatic sprayers and the highest classification of disinfectants recommended by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization, to sanitize surfaces throughout our properties over the next few months. Additionally, temperature checks will be fully utilized, and a number of contactless processes, such as contactless check in and contactless room service, are all being implemented into our procedures.
Encouraging good hygiene practices
To encourage good hygiene practices, event planners should make sure that their staff undergo organizational training to successfully implement new safety and personal hygiene procedures, such as properly using hand sanitizer, wearing face masks, and maintaining social distance. Staff should also be trained to screen guests before they enter an event, in order to check a few important boxes which can help all event attendees feel more safe, such as asking if the guests have experienced any fever like symptoms, or if they routinely come into contact with high risk individuals. Staff can also be asked to work in consistent teams, so that there is less unnecessary interaction among team members.
Health Declaration Forms
Event organizers can also assure people it is safe to attend events by encouraging event spaces to require guests sign a Health Declaration Form. This would give hotels and guest spaces the assurance that no attendees are experiencing any symptoms or have a recent travel history, helping all parties assess if anyone could be infected. In addition to this, it would also provide them with the contact details of the guest if the possibility that they have been at risk of being exposed arises, which would aid in contact tracing. High-risk establishments have been requiring this of guests, which are aimed at making all parties aware that group spaces are safe to visit again.
Event planners should also assure guests that event staff are properly vetted so that there is less risk in hosting events. All event staff should also be required to sign the declaration forms, letting guests know that event planners are taking every precaution necessary. Having these guidelines in place can assure guests that it is safe to participate in events and conferences, and assure staff that employers are committed to keeping them safe.
Providing childcare related services as a value-added service to your attendees
Another consideration that businesses should be aware of is the disruption of child related services. The fact that that most of the schools have been closed since earlier this year means many parents have been scrambling to figure out what exactly they’re going to do with their young children who need supervision. For those that are eager to host and attend events but are constrained by this factor, Marriott is available to help.
Many of Marriott’s locations have child services which can assist and assure guests attending events or conferences at our hotels that there is an option for their children to stay on site. For example, Marriott’s Mai Khao Beach location in Phuket offers kids activities at their Kids Pavilion, where painting or crafts activities are available. Marriott Courtyard location in Bali (Nusa Dua) has both a kids’ club and pool. Babysitting rooms and services are available at a number of our establishments – such as at JW Marriott and Sheraton’s Seoul locations – so babies and young children can be dropped off for the duration of the day while guests attend other functions. Across the world, Marriott has 800 kid-friendly hotels, and when coupled with the fact that kids stay free at the Marriott, we know that we’ll be able to handle concerns of parents who are eager to attend events.
We hope the above guide has provided useful insights into navigating stakeholder concerns during this unprecedented time for you. Marriott is fully committed to continuously improving venue safety and health to ensure your experience with us a safe one. Contact us now to discuss your event needs and how we can accommodate your requests.