The most important consideration today is health and safety, with innovation and technology taking center stage and here is how Hilton is keeping groups safe.
Planners expect not only the venue they are meeting in, but the entire experience to be safe and Hilton is heeding this desire.
“Through our customer advisory forums, we know our event and meeting planner customers are looking for innovative solutions for the entire event experience, including flexibility in planning, physical distancing protocols, and transparency in cleanliness policies. They need to feel at ease to book or reschedule future events – and they also need to trust that their attendees feel safe and secure during the event,” says Frank Passananate, senior vice president, Hilton Worldwide Sales – Americas.
In direct response to these needs, Hilton introduced a global cleanliness and client service program, specific to meetings and events called Hilton EventReady with CleanStay.
“We partnered with customers and our internal teams on solutions that achieve event objectives while also addressing health and environmental concerns. This includes working hand-in-hand with our operations team to build out creative, physically-distant event sets. Additionally, our food and beverage team offers unique solutions to buffets as well as sit-down services,” says Passananate.
Hilton has also been using innovation during this unprecedented time. “It’s been inspiring to see our hotel teams’ imaginations come alive to safely accommodate client requests. There are a number of great examples that come to mind – but one, in particular, happened recently at DoubleTree by Hilton Seattle Airport,” explains Passananate.
There was a group that wanted to meet, but Washington, at the time, was still restricted to group meetings of five people or less. “Our team saw that as an operational hurdle instead of a roadblock,” he said.
The group’s original plan was to meet in four separate rooms of 50 people – based on anticipated reopening phases – and livestream speakers into each room to connect the group.
When they were limited to five people per room, the team implemented a creative plan. Guest rooms were converted to meeting rooms, and the ballroom was broken up into pods with pipe and drape barriers. Video partner PSAV set up monitors, livestreaming into 45 different rooms. The group set up a broadcast from a central command, and all pods had video streaming in both directions enabling the group to conduct their meeting and achieve their annual vote of officers.
The F&B team delivered 220 meals each day to every guest/meeting room and pod. Coffee breaks were staffed by a banquet coffee attendant with limited access to small groups of five or less. Additionally, directional arrows kept people from crossing paths. “The group had ‘wardens’ assisting and keeping people from gathering. If you had walked through the hotel public and meeting spaces, you would not have realized the hotel had more than 200 people doing business there,” adds Passananate.
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