While events and group business streams have largely laid dormant through the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic, hotel brands and operators say conversations and future bookings with meetings planners show dramatic changes in what they're looking for in some events.
This includes expansions of what the industry had dubbed "hybrid events," which include combinations of in-person meetings and conferences with teleconferencing and online meetings.
Steve Enselein, senior vice president of events for Hyatt and one of the leaders of their Together by Hyatt platform, said a shift to hybrid events hosted at various properties opens up new revenue opportunities across their brand portfolio, with select-service brands like Hyatt Place or Hyatt House now able to participate in large conferences that used to strictly be the purview large-box brands like Hyatt Regency and Grand Hyatt. It also can change a meeting planner's calculus on what markets can host events.
Even things like food and beverage offerings can be customized to help the events feel unified in some ways but more region-specific in others.
Similarly, Marriott International officials have been making nationwide efforts to let planners know what's available in this new era of events, hosting pop-up "Learning Labs" across the U.S. that have shown "more than 3,000 meetings professionals" how things can change going forward, said Tammy Routh, senior vice president of global sales, in an email interview.
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