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Along with new sanitization standards, several hotel companies are implementing new procedures and protocols around their meetings and events—for whenever they return—related to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In addition to the company's All Stay Well initiative, Accor has launched All Meet Well for North and Central America. Elements include promoted social distancing in arrival and gathering areas; attendee screenings that may include temperature checks; food-and-beverage set-ups that allow for six feet between chairs; gloves and masks for all staff; sanitization of all furniture and equipment in meeting rooms before and after every event; increased availability of outdoor and private spaces; adding more disposable F&B accompaniments; elimination of all pre-set items on tables except for single-serve bottled water; elimination of all buffets and self-serve options; and larger, one-way aisles with directional signage.
As an enhancement to its Commitment to Clean initiative, Choice Hotels is redesigning furniture arrangements in its meeting and event spaces for social distancing in accordance with U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. It also is adding signage and decals to meeting locations to reiterate the need for social distancing. The company's Cambria brand offers a contactless concierge text-messaging service, which guests and planners can use to request changes, for example, to thermostat settings, information technology or audiovisual support and food-and-beverage orders.
Hilton Worldwide has said it is working on a complement to its CleanStay program dubbed Hilton EventReady with CleanStay, but hasn't yet released details.
Hyatt Hotels Corp.'s meeting and event programming is being built off its Global Care & Cleanliness Commitment, said Hyatt SVP of events Steve Enselein in an email. A few examples of the enhancements include sharing virtual hotel tours; collaborating with its AV providers to elevate hybrid meeting options to support large-scale events within social distancing guidelines; using Cvent's Social Tables tool to collaborate with planners to arrange room layouts for social distancing; temporarily shifting from buffets to a la carte menus and made-to-order options at full-service restaurants; providing individually pre-packaged items at select-service properties with breakfast buffets; placing hand sanitizer stations at the entrance of event venues; making masks and gloves available to attendees; and temporarily suspending distribution of pads, pens and other items that cannot be easily sanitized.
Loews Hotels' enhanced safety and cleanliness protocols, released in May, covered meetings and events. The current protocols are based on gatherings of 50 or fewer attendees, and include classroom-style room settings with two people per six-foot table, including adequate space in front and behind each row; buffets replaced with individually wrapped containers and utensils; coffee, tea and accompaniments served by staff; beverages served where possible in single-served vessels; lines for bars and meals marked to adhere to physical distancing; and meals served in the same room as the meeting.
Marriott International's cleanliness commitment covers all areas of the hotel, including meetings and events, said Marriott SVP global sales Tammy Routh in an email. The company also is working with "industry organizations such as the Events Industry Council to find ways to instill trust and confidence in bringing back meetings and events." In addition, Marriott is working with groups to incorporate new technology, such as live-streaming support, and to offer touchless options via Marriott's meeting services app. Like other companies, Marriott will replace self-service buffets with grab-and-go items, and meeting set-ups will adhere to social distancing protocols. New room set-up charts will support social distancing as well. Future recommendations, based on new mandates and guidelines, include working with planners to determine room set-ups while ensuring physical distancing and, if buffets return, ensuring they will be attended and served by staff.
Radisson Hotel Group has introduced a 20-step protocol for cleaning and a 10-step one for meeting and event spaces. Some elements that differ from the overall sanitization initiative include door hangers in each meeting room with cleaning and disinfecting information; the placement of a "disinfectant box" in meeting rooms for used stationery items to be disinfected after use; ensuring physical distancing in all meeting facilities; sanitizing stations in all meeting spaces; ensuring that the hotel event manager is available via a planner's personal device to assist with requests; and frequently cleaning and disinfecting coffee machines.
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