How Hilton is preparing for the return of events

Spice was among the first to experience Hilton's new event program.

In a bid to boost industry confidence and restart in-person meetings and events, Hilton has launched a new global program specific to the business event sector.

Spice News was among the first to experience the new EventReady program, at a small COVID-safe event hosted by Hilton Australasia vice president of operations Heidi Kunkel and Australasia commercial director Shaizeen Contractor.

Arriving at Hilton Sydney, we were welcomed with contactless check-in, before proceeding into Marble Bar, the hotel’s heritage-listed bar and event space, which had been thoroughly sanitised and sealed off earlier that day.

Hilton staff demonstrated the new EventReady checklist, which ensures a COVID-safe inspection is undertaken before each event, including sanitisation, correct set-up of tables and chairs, team member preparation and food and beverage protocol.

hilton eventready
Hilton Australasia vice president of operations Heidi Kunkel

The checklist forms part of the entire EventReady program, which Contractor said is all about keeping event organisers and delegates safe and secure.

“[EventReady] is very specific about creating a safe and comfortable environment for both our clients, as well as the guests and delegates that attend,” she said.

“We’ve really tried to reimagine and really support our event planners who are starting from scratch with every venue, to make it safe for that event to be held.”

Event safety and flexibility

The EventReady program is split into four pillars: cleanliness protocols, booking flexibility, safe and socially responsible solutions and Hilton hospitality.

The cleanliness protocols, as mentioned above, expand on the elevated sanitation standards of Hilton CleanStay program. Hilton have identified 10 high-touch areas of an event space, which are thoroughly cleaned before and during the event.

While Kunkel confirmed overall banquet and meeting costs may increase with the EventReady program, Hilton teams will work closely with customers to provide flexible pricing, venue options and contract terms.

Overall, Kunkel believes the program will boost confidence among the event sector.

“We know [meetings and events] will come back, we’re confident they’ll come back, obviously with distance and all the appropriate protocol in place,” she said.

“Hilton is doing our job to make sure we’re giving people the confidence and the trust.”

Commitment to sustainability goals

While COVID-19 has brought with it major environmental challenges, such as increased single-use items and additional plastics, Hilton remains committed to its sustainable travel and events.

“We had a very, very strong focus around reducing plastics and we’re still very much committed on that,” said Kunkel.

“We still remain absolutely committed to our 2030 pledge, which is to cut our environmental footprint in half and double our social impact in environmental investment.”

Find out more about the EventReady program here.

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