Meeting planners in APAC raise concerns about hosting live events

Government regulations, safety and hygiene standards, and budget constraints are among the biggest issues for planners, according to a recent Marriott Bonvoy survey.

Half of the respondents plan on hosting physical events while 36 per cent are happy with running more hybrid events.
Half of the respondents plan on hosting physical events while 36 per cent are happy with running more hybrid events. Photo Credit: Unsplash

As Asia Pacific sees events returning amid the pandemic, meeting planners consider various factors affecting event hosting in a recent survey led by Marriott Bonvoy, Marriott International’s travel programme.

The survey reached 536 respondents including event and meeting planners, administrative support staff and those in management roles across multiple industries in Asia-Pacific excluding China.

Half of those surveyed are planning to continue with in-person events. While offline events might be a popular choice, 36 per cent of the respondents are planning to host more hybrid events.

With ongoing travel restrictions, it's no surprise that 70 per cent of respondents indicated a preference for domestic destinations. With Marriott’s ‘Connect with Confidence’ hygiene protocols in mind, Marriott International properties across the region are offering virtual solutions for event planners who are unable or prefer to not travel. Through these solutions, event planners will not have to be on-site to get a full picture of the properties and meeting facilities.

Ever-changing government regulations around hosting events pose the biggest concern to planners (45 per cent), followed by safety and hygiene standards of the venue (30 per cent) and budget constraints (16 per cent).

According to Marriott International, masks and hand sanitisers will be made available upon request by meeting planners and attendees, and regular temperature checks will be implemented for all attendees upon arrival. Additionally, all associates are required to wear masks. Through the virtual planning, consultations, pre-convention meetings and site tours can be adapted to include hygiene and safety briefings.

Venues can accommodate different seating capacities through flexible rearrangement of meeting furniture. Furniture are kept at a safe distance to ensure that social distancing requirements are met. Where available, live-streaming capabilities can also be used to facilitate virtual and hybrid meetings.

Meals and breaks are spaced out for different events to avoid co-mingling with attendees from other events. A wide variety of enhanced F&B options tailored to group size may be offered, including: Grab and Go, canned and bottled beverages or plated service available on request.

“The current ‘new world’ we are experiencing through this pandemic has required us to have a different elevated experience for guests across different sectors and markets,” said Rajeev Menon, president, Asia Pacific (excluding Greater China), Marriott International.

“We are seeing leisure travel slowly returning, followed by business and then groups. And with our Commitment to Clean initiative, we are ready to welcome guests back to our hotels around the world, providing them with a safe environment that aligns with expert protocols to travel and connect with confidence.”