Meetings, events and hospitality: What’s new for 2022?

There’s no denying that the hospitality sector and meetings and events industry have been some of the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic, but there’s some truth in what they say about strength and ingenuity being born from adversity.

In an industry that in some instances might have previously been a little guilty of resting on its laurels, the last two years have enforced a little bit of a rethink into how we approach business.

As the year comes to a close, we thought we’d reflect on a few of the imaginative ways the MICE and hospitality industries have overcome some of the obstacles thrown in our paths and take a look at the shape of things to come.

 

Contactless check in

It just makes sense doesn’t it? Not only from an infection control perspective but for all-round convenience and time saving potential. It’s worth noting that contactless check in works just as well across the meetings & events industry as it does the hotel / hospitality industry too and can help your business create a seamless customer experience before, during and after your event.

With the ability to give your guests a higher standard of service across all touch points, they can obtain their admissions ‘ticket’, reserve a seat at talks and demonstrations and even arrange one-to-ones with exhibitors or fellow delegates attending your event, all in one platform.

Where an on-site check in is unavoidable, ‘virtual queues’ and self sign-in kiosks or tablets can minimise the gathering of large numbers of people in one place, reduce the number of check-in staff required and save guests time stood in physical queues.

There has been an absolute explosion in the availability of tech to address the seemingly simple act of checking in to a venue – each offering a wealth of features that venues and event organisers can tailor to the needs of themselves and their guests. Contactless check-ins are definitely here to stay.

 

Fast disinfection tech

With Coronavirus and its variants now part and parcel of everyday life, heightened cleaning and infection control measures have offered hotel and M&E venue guests the vital reassurance required to encourage them to attend.

Suffice to say that the manual investment in keeping all physical touch points pathogen-free is huge, and far from failsafe. So fast disinfection technology is an investment worth making for many venue owners and event organisers.

As we learn to live with Coronavirus, electrostatic spray disinfectant technology offers an efficient and effective means of infection control across portable equipment and large open areas such as waiting rooms, hotel receptions, restaurants and meeting rooms.

Ultraviolet light air disinfection feels like something out of a sci-fi movie but the effects are real. It works using an incredibly powerful UVC wavelength that travels through the air. When it hits a cell, a reaction is triggered that changes the molecular structure of that cell and essentially kills it. This only takes a matter of seconds to occur (Yup! Mind blown!) so you can see how hotels might reap the benefits in terms of sterilisation of rooms between guests and meeting and events venues can effectively decontaminate spaces between hires.

 

Hybrid events

Where once, event organisers felt the pressure to get physical feet through the doors at their in-person events, the recovery of the industry post-lockdown has seen many embrace the benefits of hybrid events. With in-person attendance restrictions in place, not only does sharing your live event online make it available to a wider audience, but there is the potential to increase the longevity and revenue generated by your event too.

Here at Venue View, we’ve been involved in the creation of digital content for the online version of a number of live events this year. This has taken the form of 3D walkthrough virtual tours as well as indoor and outdoor drone video content, allowing virtual delegates to explore the physical event setting, exhibitors, talks and demonstrations in a similar way to how they would in-person.

The ability to host chat rooms and one to one meetings within these online events, provides the same opportunity for networking and engagement as  the live, in-person event. And as we seek to overcome the challenges faced by event organisers, exhibitors and attendees in the attendance of events, we are sure to become increasingly creative in their execution.

 

QR codes

Yes, they’ve been around a little while now, and the uptake has been a little slow. But QR codes offer huge potential in the contactless sharing of content and marketing materials in a world where no one wants to be handling leaflets anymore. They’re a great solution for businesses wanting to improve their eco-credentials as well as infection-control measures, while still being able to get their message across. From a user perspective they offer an easy and convenient means of accessing information of interest and being able to digest it at their leisure.

 

Virtual tours

Virtual tours are now an expected part of any venue sales journey. FACT. Not only that, but they work. Prospective guests and clients enjoy the opportunity to satisfy their curiosity and explore every inch your hireable spaces in their own time, from anywhere they please.

Added to that, your sales and marketing teams can benefit from a valuable tool that they can refer to throughout the sales journey – from initial enquiry to securing a booking and finalising the finer details of an up-coming event.

 

More mindfulness

After the events of the last 20 months and their impact on the MICE industry, we’re seeing an amplified focus on mental wellbeing throughout the sector. This is demonstrated by an increase in open discussions around mental health and the stress and pressure of working in the industry – especially in light of the pandemic. A greater focus on mindfulness and wellness is surely a force for good.

 

Smaller more intimate events with greater personalisation

The rise of the micro-wedding might have been hugely accelerated by the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, but it seems many are enjoying a more intimate affair.

Not only does it feel ‘safer’ in terms of infection control, but the opportunity to be a little more indulgent towards ourselves and our nearest and dearest also has its appeal. This attitude is slowly spreading to other sectors where more niche events are preferred over the mass-gathering, more diluted offerings of a larger scale event.

 

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