Over the past year, the meetings and events industry changed. We pulled up our socks and adapted to new buyer needs, virtual events and more.
Until the world is back to normal, we will meet – just differently. Hybrid meetings and events, combining both in-person and virtual experiences, are how our industry will reunite, recover, and rebuild.
You don’t need to explore this changed landscape alone. Mending the industry is going to take patience, discussion, learning and innovation.
Radisson Hotel Group are one such hotel chain which are ramping up their hybrid capabilities, from partnering with Zoom to offering varing levels of hybrid solutions depending on the size of the event. We spoke to Daniela Dumitrescu, B2B Marketing Director EMEA to find out about their hybrid offerings.
Find out how Radisson Hotel Group are approaching hotel safety:
1. How is Radisson providing that “wow factor” for hybrid events?
Our Radisson Meetings hybrid solutions enable event organisers to overcome one of the biggest challenges of hybrid meetings – ensuring a consistent experience for all. We help clients blend the physical and virtual environments together to create the same engaging and interactive experience for both in-person and remote attendees. Our professional hotel teams have the knowledge, expertise and experience to provide guidance on how to optimise events for both audiences, making them our number one asset in delivering successful hybrid meetings.
Offering best-in-class video-conferencing technology is the backbone of our hybrid solutions and also an important asset in providing that all-important wow factor. While many of our hotels were already equipped to deliver hybrid meetings and events pre pandemic, over the past year we have taken those capabilities to the next level and launched our Radisson Hotel Group wide Hybrid Meetings Solutions. We are very proud to be able to offer a consistent value proposition across all our 100+ participating hotels in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
For small to medium size hybrid meetings, we partnered with Zoom to create collaborative, easy-to-use, and modern meeting spaces with flawless video and audio. Additionally, our hotels are equipped with the latest video-conferencing hardware which provide ultra-wide lenses that ensure every seat at the table is clearly visible, face detection, machine learning AI trained to distinguish human speech from other sounds, background noise suppression, and much more.
For more complex hybrid event requirements, we offer both fixed and pop-up broadcasting studio solutions, in collaboration with expert technology partners. Our studios are designed to flex with our clients’ needs, from graphic printed sets to green screen backdrops, and can be installed in any meeting space of choice.
Unlike independent studios, Radisson Meeting Studios provide the full hospitality package, including on-site upscale accommodation, bespoke catering, custom branding opportunities, multiple break-out rooms, as well as other add-ons and personal touches to make in-person attendees feel special and valued.
2. What does Radisson do to ensure and communicate duty of care?
We ensure duty of care responsibilities are met through our comprehensive Radisson Hotels Safety Protocols, developed in partnership with the team of experts at SGS. This in-depth cleanliness and disinfection protocol is designed to ensure our guests’ safety and peace of mind from check-in to check-out.
A new 20-step protocol for hotels and 10-step protocol for meeting and event spaces have been introduced. These include measures such as cleanliness procedures, physical distancing, increased attention to safety in communal spaces, protective equipment, and updated training for team members. All our worldwide locations have been briefed on these protocols and strongly encouraged to implement them.
To give our clients the confidence to return to face-to-face meetings and events, we have also just launched onsite, rapid COVID-19 antigen testing for attendees. This is available in 23 countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa and delivered in partnership with leading healthcare providers.
3. Have you had to train up staff or make an investment to source new people for provision of hybrid events?
As part of the roll out of our hybrid meetings solutions, we have organised comprehensive training for our hotel teams, including but not limited to operational, IT and sales colleagues.
We made sure our teams are equipped with the know-how and skills required to deliver an exceptional service and flawless experience for our client’s hybrid meetings and events. And to ensure we can deliver on our promise, all our hotels offering this service have been individually assessed and received an internal certification recognising their expertise in hybrid events.
4. How do you think the skill set is changing?
With the industry constantly evolving at a rapid pace, planners and venues must be able to adapt quickly and adopt new event solutions and formats. A survey we conducted back in 2019 revealed that planners wished they could spend more time on training and development. At that time, few planners felt fully confident in their digital skills.
Today, the ability to adapt to emerging technologies and master new digital formats could mean the difference between success and failure. That might explain why training in new skills is now the top investment priority over the next 12 months for both planners as well as venues.
5. What in your opinion are the top factors to consider when providing hybrid events to your client?
Any meeting can of course be hybrid, but how do you choose which configuration is right for your event? It very much depends on the goals and objectives of the event, what you are trying to achieve and where your audience is based.
Determining the most appropriate configuration is critical for the success of the event. For example, our pop-up studio solutions are ideal for product launches or congresses because they tend to be larger in scale, feature globally focused content, and have participants from multiple countries.
For smaller size events, such as training or other types of internal meetings which require a high level of collaboration, co-creation and two-way communication, our hybrid rooms powered by Zoom are the most suitable solution.
The solution we offer depends on our clients’ objectives, and we work closely in partnership with them to find the best option to meet their business goals. It’s been a learning curve for us as well and we are constantly adapting as we co-create events with our clients. There is no “one-size-fits all” if you want to provide a truly great experience in this new hybrid environment.
6. What kind of hybrid events has Radisson held?
From small meetings for less than 20 people to multi-site events and large conferences broadcast to thousands around the world, our Radisson Hotels in EMEA have delivered a wide range of virtual and hybrid event formats for our clients.
Whilst the last 12 months have been difficult for the events industry, we remain positive that demand will increase in the second half of 2021, and that hybrid meetings and events are here to stay alongside in-person events.
7. What is the responsibility of the hotel/venue and planner when it comes to hybrid events?
As the entire industry navigates this changing landscape, we believe that good collaboration and co-creation between venues and event planners is more important than ever.
It’s crucial for planners to allow time for a detailed briefing on objectives, business outcomes and budget. By fully understanding what the end client’s objectives are, venues can make better informed recommendations, ensuring hybrid events are a success.
On the flip side, event planners need first-class support from their partners. This means demanding more from venue providers in terms of expert advice, safety protocols, technological capability and relationship management.
It can no longer be a purely transactional relationship. Venue providers must go above and beyond providing logistical and technical capabilities. They must become trusted advisors and help planners design a safe and engaging event experience for all delegates wherever they are. This is one of our ambitions at Radisson Hotel Group.
Hybrid is our way back to normality.
Event planners and venues must lean on each other more than ever to be successful. That means that it is key to collaborate effectively and to know what the other side expects.
Up next, check out our webinar series on reconnecting planners and venues through hybrid events.