April 13, 2022
By Olivia Cal

With countries across Europe relaxing restrictions, demand for travel and events is growing. As such, things are finally looking up for the MICE industry.

We spoke with industry professionals to understand their experience of this hope-filled yet challenging recovery phase. 

Dimitri Janvier, Cluster Associate Director of Sales for the Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht and the Hyatt Regency Amsterdam shared his experience of the pandemic with us.

A time for creativity & flexibility

When the COVID-19 pandemic kicked off in March 2020, Dimitri explained that things moved quickly. “We had to close the hotel – which was probably one of the most difficult moments in my career so far.

“We were very lucky though, because even though hotel staff across the industry were furloughed, we, in sales were still able to continue to work, and interact with our clients.

“We were facing the same challenge as many of them – working from home and being uncertain about the future. They were much more available, so we were able to discuss our clients’ future events with optimism. And we’re seeing what we discussed during 2020 and 2021 coming to life now.

“But it was a time to be creative – to work with different offers depending on the restrictions. We played around with allowing guests to rent rooms to work from, instead of their house, or creating smaller meetings with social distancing. It was of course a challenge, but we worked with what we had.”

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Bringing guests back with unique experiences

One of the most important things, Dimitri says, is using unique experiences to give guests and delegates a reason to return to in-person events once restrictions lifted. This is something that the Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht and the Hyatt Regency Amsterdam already specialised in.

“What we what we are trying to do, is just to give people the opportunity to forget about the last two years and just enjoy the moment while keeping them as safe as can be.

“I think that the future of hospitality is to have spaces where guests/delegates can mingle outside.

“Every time that we arrange events, our clients tell us ‘We need somewhere where people can just see each other. It's their first event in two years and they’ll want to have a drink and chat casually."

Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht

Creative experiences at Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht

“The meeting space at the Andaz does not look like regular meeting space. Helping our clients add fun and an engaging atmosphere to their meetings is where the two hotels prosper.

“One of my favourites is The Atelier at the Andaz. It is very playful meeting space for creative events, with couple of different areas like an apartment where you would receive people at home!

“The hotel is full of surprises; I love our iconic tulip chairs that carry away our guests based on the quirky acoustic it produces. That’s why we’re working on a hotel tour, so our guests can enjoy all these little details and the originality of our hotel.”

Sustainable experiences at the Hyatt Regency Amsterdam

With sustainability being such a huge topic of conversation, Dimitri says that the Hyatt Regency Amsterdam was perfectly poised, having opened in 2017, to give guests that unique experience they crave.

“Sustainability is something that has been in the blood of the hotel since its opening – from the way the hotel was built, down to the finer details such as how and what we recycle/reuse.

“So, we use all the leftover water from meetings to water the many plants on the property, we recycle leftover food into biofuel and what I love most is that we recycle our empty wine bottles into wine glasses for our restaurant. Our clients find the hotel sustainable and ethical, but also super fun!”

Hyatt Regency Amsterdam

Leveraging technology to enhance collaboration

A tool that has proven useful both before the pandemic and after for the two hotels, Dimitri says, is Cvent Event Diagramming. “The tool has been amazing for us and our clients, and it is very easy to handle. We have had new team members join lately and they were amazed at how quick it took them to get to grips with it.

“Cvent Event Diagramming is user-friendly which comes in handy when creating floorplans and working directly with clients. It helps us ensure that the meeting planner is on the same page as us when it comes to making sure they’re happy with the room setups.

“It creates a smarter way of communication. Visually being able to show how the room will look like, compared to what it looks like on the floorplan prevents so much back and forth and misunderstandings."

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Looking ahead – learnings from the pandemic

Dimitri says that while the pandemic has been hard for the whole industry, it’s taught him a lot. “I think flexibility and adaptability has become critically important across the industry. All companies are recovering at their own speed and facing their own challenges. With how the event should look or to adapt, we arrange different policies to ensure an event is successful.”

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.

Profile pic Olivia Cal

Olivia Cal

Olivia started her writing career as a music, film and theatre critic before moving into B2B. She has had 3+ years of experience writing for martech companies, covering digital marketing, retail and hospitality. When she isn't writing, she can be found with a good book or PC gaming.
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