Knowland’s Kristi White and hospitality event management guru Phil Saims, Vice President for Federal Conference, met up for a discussion on how to prepare your hotel sales staff to plan and execute the best hybrid meetings. They also discussed things that meeting planners should consider when working with the property.
Hybrid meetings are here to stay. Your ability to host these events will expedite your recovery. But what does that mean for your hotel sales staff? In this session, these two industry experts break down the sales elements of a successful hybrid event and provide you with practical tips to help you deliver on a great attendee experience.
Three unexpected insights from this conversation:
#1 Hybrid is here to stay – but know your technology
Phil and Kristi shared insights they have gathered from conversations with hoteliers today. Some hotels are already sold out from now until the end of September and RFPs are exploding for the back half of the year. With that, the hybrid component is huge and will continue to be a big part of meetings and events for what could be into the next 2 years.
Phil mentioned one customer that has booked a hybrid event in 2023, a sure sign that hybrid is here to stay…at least for the foreseeable future. That being said, every hotelier needs to ensure they have the proper power and WiFi to manage these events from back to front. Every attendee touchpoint from guest arrival and check-in, to mobile app, to the meeting space, and departure should be covered when walking the property.
He also noted that it is important to remember that yesterday’s A/V is NOT a video production company and cautioned that properties should look to partner with production companies that can meet their needs for the expectations of today’s hybrid event.
#2 Meeting planners need to make a decision on their program and book it
Demand is here, and space is going fast. Meeting planners that wait too long to sign contracts and book the space will find that the option to book will be gone. Phil noted that hotels need to be honest with feedback on deadlines and holding space. Planners that come back too late with a decision will be disappointed and he cautioned that they should know the type of event they want to conduct, survey their attendees so they have an accurate headcount to provide to their hotel partners and stick to the plan. Remember, hotels are for-profit entities, so it is key that planners be reasonable and rational when it comes to balancing expectations with reality when booking space.
#3 Inclusivity is a key driver in the hybrid meeting
The positive side of hybrid meetings is the inclusivity it brings. Attendees that may never have attended your event because of their location, or those who are now challenged with work from home scenarios and childcare, for instance, will now have the option to be attend the event remotely.
Whether it’s a corporate meeting or an industry event, consider the requirements within the organization you are working with to determine the right fit for the customer. For instance, masking may not be required within the state, but the incoming organization may require it or vice versa. Ensure staff is familiar with each group’s preferences and knows how to manage the needs of the attendees.
At the end of the day, good communication and understanding the expectations for the program and its attendees will ensure success on both sides of the hybrid event.
Listen to Kristi and Phil talk about these and other interesting topics when you watch on demand.
If you’re a hotelier who’s ready to find and book more meetings like the hybrid ones that we are talking about here, schedule a demo with one of our prospecting pros. We’ll ensure you have the right information to capture the best opportunities for your property.