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latest issue

Latest Issue

Hands Off

Hands Off

by Laura Bickle

“Touchless” and “contactless” have become the buzzwords in creating safer meeting and travel experiences.

From check-in to meeting rooms, several hospitality pros share exactly what that will look like.


“We are exploring new solutions for meetings and events, including low- to no-touch options, such as virtual experiences for site visits and tours, allowing a planner to visualize our hotels and event spaces without having to step foot onsite,” says Marc Cassier, CMP, vice-president, event sales & services, Accor North and Central America.

At the JW Marriott Parq Vancouver, guests are encouraged to use the Marriott BONVoY mobile app, which offers mobile check in, key, dining and chat. QR codes throughout the property provide menus and other guest services.

“We are working with groups to embrace and incorporate new technology such as live streaming support and using touchless options via Marriott’s Meeting Services App,” says Laura Pallotta, regional vice-president sales and distribution, Marriott International-Canada.

Hilton provides check-in through its app allowing attendees to choose their room, access it with a digital key and check-out without contact.

We’re testing new technologies such as electrostatic sprayers, changing the layout in public spaces to enable social distancing and elevating the company’s already rigorous cleaning protocols throughout hotels.

The customer needs to be ready. We cannot wait to see our guests again and we are doing a lot to give them the confidence they need when they walk through our doors....We expect to see shifts in the size and format of events with groups increasingly embracing and incorporating new technologies.
—Laura Pallotta, regional vice-president sales and distribution, Marriott International-Canada

We are closely monitoring what the experts in the health field are saying and following their leads and recommendations. We are aligning our programs with our various hotel partners to see if we need to renegotiate guest room blocks (to ensure no shared rooms with people other than household members or accommodate an expected decrease in attendance) or to increase meeting space to allow for proper social distancing at events....I foresee a bump in our business next year as we will be working on executing postponed business, handling pre-pandemic confirmed business and reimagining all future events.
—Anita Carlyle, CMP, CMM, managing partner, MCC Destination Management, Toronto

We’ve had discussions with speakers about safety protocols when live, in-person events return. These include everything from eliminating meet & greets and book signings to maintaining social distancing on site until a vaccine or treatment has been developed and is widely available....We are building some of the new safety expectations into our contracts, and providing a “pivot to virtual” clause which allows our clients to move to a virtual format if they are unable to hold their event on the scheduled date.
—Martin Perelmuter, president & co-founder, Speakers Spotlight


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