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Hybrid meetings are here to stay: Patrick Mendes, Group Chief Commercial Officer, Accor

Following COVID-19’s outbreak, many companies and workers shifted to remote work to ensure a semblance of normalcy. This overnight adoption of digital meeting tools accelerated the longer-term transformations in how companies operated.

Patrick Mendes, Group Chief Commercial Officer (Sales, Marketing, Distribution and Loyalty), Accor tells that hybrid meetings are here to stay – pandemic or not. As this trend shapes up to impact a large part of meetings, hotel brands will continue to rely on a dynamic domestic market by optimising the use of available spaces and diversifying revenue for the longer term.

According to our internal research, 70% of media and events (M&E) planners see hybrid meetings as an important service in the future. We expect the trend towards remote meetings and events to remain a lasting legacy even after COVID-19.

 

How can hotel brands rethink and redefine their options for event delegates and corporate clients in hybrid meetings?

Hotel brands have a key role to play in re-attracting meeting planners. They will leverage two distinctive pillars. The first will be focusing on exclusive brand experience.

Each brand has a distinctive brand positioning that reflects into its meeting experience. For example, Novotel Meeting experiences will promote collective classes to create bounding moments whereas Swissotel will focus on indoor and outdoor vitality activities.

Secondly, hotels will adapt unique F&B experiences to ensure attractive and safe meeting experiences. F&B has always played a fundamental role in facilitating human interactions. These experiences can be adapted to fit safety measure, for e.g. focusing on live cooking and individual servings.

 

How can virtual events solutions allow companies to connect with team members and collaborate seamlessly?

Accor ALL Connect allows seamless digital and physical meeting experiences and team collaboration by enabling physical in-hotel meetings and virtual interactions across multiple locations simultaneously, powered by Microsoft Teams. The latter is a hub for teamwork collaboration in Microsoft Office 365, which integrates people, content, and the tools that teams need to be more engaged and productive with Surface Hub 2S.

This is a modern, all-in-one collaborative canvas and meetings platform, easy to integrate into any workspace.

This collaboration helps us transcend the confines of the traditional conference room by bringing people together wherever they work. On Surface Hub 2S you can join a Teams meeting simply by touching the screen. The 4K camera and the sound are activated automatically and you can concentrate on your business.

This system can accommodate up to 1000 participants with no time limit with the possibility to record meetings in a secured environment. It guarantees the privacy of content and personal data.

 

Which new technologies will accelerate the adoption of hybrid events in contemporary times?

Technologies currently exist for interactive screen, cameras that follow speakers during the meeting and 4K quality. What will be different is the democratisation of these solutions to make it the norm. We can compare this to WiFi adoption. At the beginning, it was an additional service in the hotel. Now, it is the norm for every hotel.

 

Can hotels present hybrid events as a cost effective and inclusive experience for event planners and corporate clients?

Instead of hosting large groups at one location, meeting planners can host small groups in different locations without expensive travel costs. Our capacity as well as meetings and events global expertise will ensure consistency for the same meeting across hotels with similar meeting experience such as F&B experience, for e.g. Breakouts are a popular concept in any business event.

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