BETHESDA, MD—In a survey led by Marriott Bonvoy, Marriott International’s travel program, on the expectations of meetings & events in the Asia-Pacific region, half of those surveyed are planning to continue with offline events (50%). However, there is a high volume of concerns around government regulations (45%), and safety and hygiene standards of venue (30%), among many others.
The survey reached more than 500 respondents including event and meeting planners, administrative support staff and those in management roles across multiple industries in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.
“The current ‘new world’ we are experiencing through this pandemic has required us to have a different elevated experience for guests across different sectors and markets,” said Rajeev Menon, president, Asia-Pacific (excluding Greater China), Marriott International. “We are seeing leisure travel slowly returning, followed by business and then groups. And with our Commitment to Clean initiative, we are ready to welcome guests back to our hotels around the world, providing them with a safe environment that aligns with expert protocols to travel and connect with confidence.”
To address some of these concerns, Marriott International is introducing new content via a digital platform for meetings & events. The platform aims to redefine processes and reimagine spaces guided by cleanliness experts and best practices to help hosts, organizers and attendees plan and execute meetings and connect with confidence. This comes after the company’s announcement of its Commitment to Clean and Global Cleanliness Council.
Meeting planners now have access to a series of new materials including an informational video, customer stories and resources that provide additional context and information for designing successful events in the current environment. The tools, available on MarriottBonvoyEvents.com, illustrate Marriott International’s approach to delivering high-quality meeting experiences across its full portfolio of hotels and resorts.
The survey also found that 70% of respondents prefer domestic destinations. With Marriott’s Connect with Confidence hygiene protocols in mind, Marriott International properties across the region are offering virtual solutions for event planners who are unable or prefer to not travel. Through these solutions, event planners will not have to be onsite to get a full picture of the properties and meeting facilities. Masks and hand sanitizers will be made available upon request by meeting planners and attendees to allay hygiene concerns. Regular temperature checks will also be implemented for all attendees upon arrival at the properties. Additionally, all associates are required to wear masks. Through the virtual planning, consultations, pre-convention meetings and site tours can be adapted to include hygiene and safety briefings.
Venues can accommodate different seating capacities through flexible rearrangement of meeting furniture. Furniture are kept at a safe distance to ensure that social distancing requirements are met. Where available, live or virtual hybrid meetings through live-streaming capabilities are available to minimize social contact.
Meals and breaks are spaced out for different events to avoid co-mingling with attendees from other events. A wide variety of enhanced F&B options tailored to group size may be offered, including grab & go; canned and bottled beverages; or plated service available on request.
While offline events might be a popular choice, 36% of the respondents are planning to host more hybrid events– this means combining physical and live-streaming elements to maximize reach across geographical restrictions.
A majority of Marriott International properties are equipped with the necessary technology and have experienced stand-by staff to empower businesses in their hybrid events. Events conducted in a hotel can help to create a well-balanced ambiance and atmosphere for both live and online audiences. Dedicated onsite staff can also help to address any event needs quickly and ensure that the event runs smoothly.