Inside look: What’s it like to host an event in Singapore now?

We visit Fairmont Singapore to track the delegate journey in today’s new normal, from check-in and event attendance, to in-room experience.

Fairmont has already hosted a string of smaller scale meetings and events, such as a solemnisation hosting 20 people on August 8.
Fairmont has already hosted a string of smaller scale meetings and events, such as a solemnisation hosting 20 people on August 8. Photo Credit: Fairmont Singapore

SINGAPORE – As event planners await upcoming pilot events to test new hybrid models, M&C Asia joined Fairmont Singapore on a walk-through of the hotel's ‘new normal’ event standards to get an idea of what the future of MICE might look like.

New digital and contactless solutions

Stepping into Fairmont, the entrance is flanked by a contactless temperature taking device which churns data in under three seconds. Clearly demarcated signages on the floor led me straight towards front desk, newly fitted with plastic panels between staff and guests.

At check-in, instead of presenting passports and getting physical key cards – guests should have received an email 24 hours earlier for pre-arrival registrations, which require typical personal data such as confirming address and credit card details. Guests will next receive a QR code and confirmation number, which they can screen-grab to show upon arrival at Fairmont. Reservations are instantly retrieved and pre-sanitised keys passed within a few minutes, greatly reducing time spent at the front desk.

Rooms are turned over with the strictest cleaning standards and protocols, with contact minimised thanks to electronic in-room guest services and the usual breakfast (no longer buffet) now sent to their rooms. Restaurants and events have also made the switch to digital menus. Across every step of the journey, sanitisers in automated dispensers or bottles are never too far away.

“[These measures] serve not only to put guests’ safety and wellbeing first by greatly reducing risks of cross contamination with high-contact items and surfaces, but have also been a huge thumbs-up for sustainability as traditional printed collateral, such as in-room menus, have been greatly cut down,” said Marcus Hanna, general manager of Fairmont Singapore and Swissôtel The Stamford.

Top tip: To personalise the experience, customised breakfast boxes, and/or meal sets can be delivered during events.

When a suspected case is detected on-site

The guest is immediately isolated and brought to the doctor located at Raffles City Shopping Centre located in the same building. Should anyone be tested positive for Covid-19, all colleagues who were in contact with affect guest(s) are quarantined. Rooms and event space would also be disinfected thoroughly before being released for a subsequent event.

“In this case, it is extremely helpful to use the contactless event butler platform as face-to-face engagement will be kept to a minimum.”

Keep the (physical) distance

Lifts are cleaned every 30 minutes, and takes four guests each time. No mingling is allowed in the waiting area. Should all four lifts be filled, everyone queues outside until a fresh lift arrives back at the lobby.

At the restaurants, capacity is kept well below government approved levels – Prego for instance can sit 50 diners, but are admitting just 20 at any one time to “play it safe”. Booth seats may be huge, but still seat just two, while tables are spaced at least one metre away.

Just one entrance leads to the spa, gym and pool – which meant I had to clock multiple check-ins to visit these areas.

Delegates are free to roam the entire hotel, though a few sections remain closed: the South Tower of Fairmont Singapore; Asian Market Café and Szechuan Court.

Top tip: Jazz up an intimate event by holding it at Prego, which received a facelift last year – including a Mini Cooper right in the centre, making for an interesting photo opportunity. The pool can also be converted into a private event space.

Events in the new normal

Fairmont launched their Contactless Event Butler platform which gives events planners the opportunity to liaise directly with the operations team, who will walk onsite around the hotel. Despite the lack of face-to-face interactions, Fairmont has already hosted a string of smaller scale meetings and events.

Following STB’s announcement of a risk management framework for events of 50 pax, Fairmont swiftly entered the hybrid meetings space with Encore – an events management technology solution provider. Products developed exclusively for Fairmont include:

•    Chime Live, a web-based platform that provides high-quality video streaming
•    Managed Webinar, for interactive seminars and meetings
•    Content1 Virtual, which can help presenters bring virtual content to life.

Top tip: Hybrid solutions are an exciting possibility for events executed at any of Fairmont’s three ballrooms and 34 meeting spaces. Amp up the experiential factor with a cheese and wine delivery for all delegates.

“A significant advantage we have over other hotels or venues is the ample function spaces and configurations we can set up to cater to virtual conferences; and these can be paired with food and customised menus by our experienced chefs from Prego, Mikuni and SKAI,” said Hanna.