Dana Lewis, Director of Meetings, Events & Leisure, Northern Europe for Accor; Danny Percorelli, Managing Director for Exclusive Collection; Kathy Bradley, Groups Director for All About Flights and Amy Bramhall, Convention Bureau Manager for Meet Bristol discussed the preparations being made by Hotels, Venues, Destinations and Airlines are for the ‘new normal’. How will they provide corporates and agency planners with confidence to bring live events back to their destinations and premises?
While the domestic market is tipped to bounce back first, like many UK DMO’s Meet Bristol has been working with their suppliers and local authorities to keep the communication going and plan protocols for the city re-opening.
They have also reached out to local MICE companies to see how they can work together and hopefully secure some events at home whilst the industry is waiting for international events to resume. What is required?
For buyer’s a secure environment is at the heart of planning. Space is key but the environment shouldn’t feel clinical. The demand for sporting events in the UK is good at the moment with confirmed groups for September and some last minute enquiries for July and August.
Most Accor hotels are still closed in Northern Europe (85% of the properties). An accreditation programme covering safety and hygiene standards throughout the properties will be launched and all staff will be trained as soon as they return from furlough. Hotel booking enquiries in Northern Europe (including the UK) only slowly started to come through in May for events to take place in 2022/2023. In the rest of Europe, requests have been coming through earlier and in higher volumes for events to taking place in 2020.
Airlines were not helping the industry at the beginning of lock-down, not refunding cancellations, pushing for re-booking and vouchers which did not work,
All airlines have to conform to different protocols depending on where they are based, from temperature checks to the wearing of PPE, use of very strong disinfectant to clean the cabin and the removal of touch screens in favour of phone apps, etc.
Social distancing is unlikely to work for aviation however, aircrafts are the safest environment to travel in as their filter systems can kill up to 99% of airborne bacteria. Passengers will also have to take responsibility by washing their hands or using antiseptic wipes.
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