The topic of “hotel safety” has never been so relevant. Over the last year, hotels and venues across the world have adopted new health and safety protocols as well as technology to help.
We spoke to Cristina Pocol, MICE Sales Executive from HQ Palladium Hotel Group and Gabriella Digrandi, MICE Manager, Grand Palladium Sicilia & Garden Beach Resort & Spa to see how they are keeping their guests safe and secure.
Find out how Palladium Hotel Group are approaching hotel safety:
1. What steps are your property taking to create a safe but engaging environment for guests?
Cristina: "At Palladium Hotel Group, safety has always been our number one priority. And now, with the recent COVID-19 pandemic spreading around the world, we are more concerned than ever about the health and wellbeing of our clients and employees.
We have implemented the instructions and recommendations of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the expert authorities in Italy so that our Guests can enjoy the best possible experience: hygiene measures, social distancing and capacity control, food & beverage regulations in order to maintain a safe environment, the use of innovation and technology.
On the other side, our complex is located in a natural area, surrounded by large gardens, open air restaurants with terraces, that allow our guest to enjoy most of their time outdoors."
2. How are you adapting your marketing strategies to deliver safety messages successfully and rebuild trust?
Cristina: "We have created a microsite with detailed information on all our protocols and safety measures, that have been updated constantly, so that guests have access to this information even prior to the arrival.
On the other side, all our marketing material (presentations, factsheets) have also been updated including information related to the safety protocols, adapted capacities and measures taken."
3. What challenges or obstacles have you encountered while setting your property up for a post-pandemic environment?
Gabriella: "The most important challenge was to ensure the safety for all the guests and activities as it is a large resort with a wide range of facilities, so we had to guarantee all the protocols are fulfilled by everyone and in all the locations.
Some of the measures taken were: for meetings (to apply the social distancing that changed several times and work with reduced capacities, the mandatory use of masks), coffee breaks served outside the meeting rooms - we organised a path for a safe and secure movement of our staff and guests; and particularly in Sicily, during several months the maximum capacity indoors was of maximum 4 people per table, reducing a lot the capacity of our restaurants and forcing us to look for alternative solutions to be able to offer the meal services to all our clients."
4. What has been working well and what have your guests responded positively to?
Gabriella: "In general, all the measures and safety restrictions applied have been accepted and valued by our guests, being aware that it is for their own well-being and safety, so the responses have been satisfactory from both parties."
5. How has your property utilised business intelligence before the pandemic and after?
Cristina: "We used to utilise all this information to analyse our demand and create our sales strategy. Unfortunately, with the pandemic, we had to learn everything from zero since there was no forecast of demand behavior due to constant and sudden changes in all travel conditions nationally and internationally. All we used to know was no longer valid."
6. Have you been using any particular technology to help keep guests safe?
Cristina: "We have implemented an ‘ozone and mist disinfection system’ that allows us to purify the air and have strongly encouraged the use of technology so that our guests can check-in and check-out online.
We have also promoted the use of digital information via our applications such as the hotel information, web portal, and television, to try to eventually eliminate all inessential in-room stationery, printed menus and brochures. Through these channels, Guests are able to make reservations, access the restaurant and bar menus, and receive updated information on all the available services, and hygiene and cleaning protocols being followed."
7. What are you doing to make the life of event planners easier?
Cristina: "We focused on flexible contractual and cancellation conditions, that are highly valued, actually a must, in these uncertain times and help our clients reduce the risk of booking an event. We also inform them on all the changes within the protocols and new requirements of the local authorities, as these change frequently.
We have also launched different promotions to reward planners for trying to host events with us."
8. Has your property considered hybrid events/have you hosted any?
Cristina: "Our venue was under full renovation during the pandemic and it was inaugurated last May, so we had the opportunity to celebrate face to face events, although we are prepared to host hybrid events if required. Our main meeting room has a 12 sqm LED Screen, that can be perfect for this type of events."
9. Have you been leveraging CVBs/DMOs in any way since the pandemic? How?
Cristina: "We joined the Italian Convention Bureau this year, as we inaugurated the hotel last May. They have offered us the possibility of promoting the hotel on a new platform of interaction with national and international meeting planners, where we have also promoted our safety protocols."
10. Has Cvent helped you in any way regarding hosting events during COVID-19?
Cristina: "Cvent has been an important partner during these difficult times, offering us the possibility of having our own microsite on Covid protocols and safety measures, in order to convey confidence and attract events."
These are uncertain times, but together we will succeed.
Event planners and venues must lean on eachother more than ever to be successful. New restrictions and COVID-19 guidelines are new to all of us. That means that it is key to collaborate effectively and to know what the other side expects.
Up next, find out about useful venue sourcing tools for the return of in-person events.