Four Things Meeting Planners Expect from Travel & Tourism Brands When Booking Live Events in 2021
On a global scale, the live-events industry lost more than $30 billion last year. With the pandemic, people weren’t traveling as much, and virtual events were replacing in-person events for both work and pleasure.
But airports are getting busy again: The number of May TSA airport screenings went up 715% compared with May 2020. That’s good news for hosts in the travel and tourism industry. They can expect more travellers to be coming through their cities for corporate events as well as personal enjoyment. And they can expect meeting planners to be booking at venues and in cities that support needs in both categories.
Here are four things travel and tourism brands should be prepared to offer meeting planners right now when booking live events.
Expert technological capabilities and support offerings
A Global Business Travel Association survey showed that 65% of organisers are considering hybrid corporate meetings with live and virtual participants as a result of Covid-19. The in-person component will help them build relationships in a more personal and intimate setting, while the virtual component can help them reach even more participants, regardless of location. Travel and tourism brands should ensure their venues and partners are equipped to stream these events to wide audiences in real time with limited interruption. They should be prepared to accommodate (and dazzle) guests with in-person amenities from catering to flexible event-space arrangements at the same time.
Effective health and communication measures with food and beverage services
A Sodexo and Centerplate survey indicated that contactless services are still key. Think pre-packed meals, snacks and beverages as well as digital ordering and payment. Helpful communication such as signage is also desirable, from social distancing reminders and markers to directions for foot-traffic flow and seating. Transparency around health and safety is important, too, whether that involves using masks and gloves while handling food or having hand-sanitizer stations set up by food areas.
An upgraded safety experience for people attending in person
To build on the safety measures around food service, incorporate touchless approaches into the overall guest experience. That can include digital check-in and check-out options, socially distanced seating arrangements and restroom lines as well as hand-sanitizing stations at the doors. Complimentary masks as an addition to swag bags or programs can’t hurt, either, since comfort levels will be varied across even vaccinated crowds.
An appeal to sightseeing and city fun beyond the main event
According to Destination Analysts, more than 77% of Americans are planning leisure travel during summer 2021. Moving into the rest of this year and into the following year, it’s the job of the travel and tourism industry to excite and satisfy all these people who’ve missed out on exploring cities they’re nostalgic for or that are entirely new to them. Draw visitors and meeting planners in with the promise of good times. Factor in food and beverage, entertainment, artistic and cultural opportunities.
Bottom line: A multifaceted approach to providing meeting planners with the tools they need to pull off a safe, innovative, and exciting experience for guests will help your brand drive conversions.