To address the dramatic shift in how people meet and celebrate in the age of coronavirus, Hilton is introducing a new suite of offerings, which the company is calling Hilton EventReady Hybrid Solutions. The Hilton EventReady Hybrid Solutions will begin rolling out globally later this month. Additionally, the expanded Hybrid Events chapter of the Hilton EventReady Playbook, which will include detailed case studies, pro-tips and a glossary of hybrid event terms, will also accessible to customers working with any hotel within the Hilton global portfolio.
The Hilton announcement comes on the heels of announcement from other major brands also looking to a return to group business this year. Last month, for example, Marriott International announced that it has updated its health protocol options, including COVID-19 testing, that event organizers can select for group meetings at select hotels. These protocols build upon initiatives already in place as part of the Connect with Confidence program, designed to help meeting organizers customize solutions in ways that meet the needs of attendees. IHG has similarly enhanced its Meet with Confidence program to provide meeting and event organizers with the solutions they need. In the fall, IHG Hotels & Resorts rolled out its Meet with Confidence commitment with a range of cleanliness and safety practices.
According to a company statement, the Hilton solutions will continue to evolve over time. Related websites currently direct event planners to Hilton’s hybrid-ready hotels while also providing them with planning resources, including an expanded Hilton EventReady Playbook and flexible customer offers. As part of the Hilton EventReady Hybrid Solutions, participating hotels will have access to comprehensive team member training resources to build and strengthen their knowledge in hybrid events.
“Hilton has remained a leader in the meetings and events industry for more than 100 years by listening intently and innovating quickly to changing customer needs,” said Martin Rinck, executive vice president and chief brand officer, Hilton. “Hilton EventReady Hybrid Solutions were born out of our continued commitment to excellence – from accessing the capabilities of our global portfolio to rolling out a suite of extensive event planner resources and introducing team member training to ensure we can deliver the optimum overall event experience.”
The portfolio of hybrid-ready hotels will spotlight the baseline requirements that customers should expect when hosting a small hybrid event, which include:
- IT Readiness: Each hotel will have undergone an evaluation to assess the available IT bandwidth and infrastructure of the hotel to meet the requirements of small hybrid events. To be deemed “hybrid-ready”, hotels are required to have a minimum amount of incremental and available bandwidth that is above and beyond the hotel’s average circuit utilization level. This requirement allows for seamless communication and connectivity to optimize the hybrid experience within the hotel while providing easy access for virtual attendees.
- Multi-Site Offering and Express Agreements: These incentives enable customers to book the in-person portion of their event at multiple hybrid-ready Hilton locations as well as create a more seamless contract experience.
- Expanded Playbook: While the EventReady Playbook is available to customers globally, those looking for in-depth information on planning and executing small hybrid events can access the expanded Hybrid Events chapter, which will continue to evolve alongside customer needs.
As part of the Hilton EventReady Hybrid Solutions, Encore (formerly PSAV) is offering several event technology packages created for small hybrid events at participating hotels in addition to Presentation Stages, a production-ready event solution equipped with critical broadcast technology and staging equipment that helps elevate event messaging and engagement. Presentation Stages offer a clean and safe pre-built location to produce, record and/or broadcast a high-quality online event far exceeding production values available from the typical home or office. The Hilton properties equipped with event technology will accommodate between two to six onsite presenters and up to 50 in-person attendees.
Presentation Stages are currently available to book at Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach, Hilton Atlanta, Hilton Anatole, Hilton Denver, The Beverly Hilton with several more being made available in Cleveland, Minneapolis, New York, Washington, D.C. and across Europe, Middle East and Africa by the end of the year.
Hilton was among the leading hotel brands last years to launch new programs to up their standards of cleanliness and disinfection at hotel properties in light of the public health threat. As with other hotel brands, many aspects of the program, which initially rolled out last April, are enabled by next-generation technologies.
- Contactless check-in technologies: Hilton will double-down on its digital key technology for guests who desire to have a contactless arrival experience. Guests can check-in, choose their room, access their room with a digital room key and check-out using their mobile devices through the Hilton Honors mobile app at participating hotels. Hilton will continue to expand its digital key capabilities to common doors and access points throughout the hotels.
- Advanced disinfection technologies: Hilton is exploring the addition of new technologies, like electrostatic sprayers – which use an electrostatically charged disinfecting mist – and ultraviolet light to sanitize surfaces and objects.
Dubbed Hilton CleanStay, the program was designed to build upon the existing housekeeping and hygiene standards at Hilton properties worldwide, where hospital-grade cleaning products and upgraded protocols are currently in use. According to a press statement at the time, the goal of Hilton CleanStay was to provide guests with assurance and peace of mind when they stay at any of Hilton’s more than 6,100 properties representing 18 brands.