Hybrid events: The best of both worlds

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many meeting planners are having to choose between postponing events or quickly pivoting to an online format. As we all adapt to the new norm, events as we know them will never be the same. And that’s a good thing!

Hybrid events, where participants attend in-person and/or participate online, can offer the best of both worlds, if done properly and safely. Digital meeting platforms can’t replace the power of face-to-face networking, but do offer a vast array of interactive capabilities that can enhance a participant’s event experience.

While this sounds great conceptually, it’s important that your chosen venue offer the infrastructure and technology to maximize a hybrid event experience. In addition to finding that perfect venue that has appropriate safety measures in place, we can help you avoid surprise expenses and lock in associated costs prior to signing a hotel contract.

We’ve done the research on the best venues for hybrid events.

When it comes to finding the ideal venue for a hybrid event, let my team at Meeting Your Needs do the leg work for you — at zero cost to you! We make it our business to know which venues are well poised to combine a safe in-person with a quality digital experience.

Workations, staycations!

Most of the larger hotels and resorts have reopened. With well-established safety and social distancing protocols in place, hotels are eager to host groups to raise their occupancy levels. But with travel and gathering restrictions still an issue in numerous cities, many groups are not able to host events as they have in past years. What is a meeting planner to do?

For those who want to meet, network with customers and recognize top performers and suppliers, some of our clients choose to host local, drive-to meetings and smaller incentive events — like golf groups, fishing excursions and hunting getaways held outdoors. These more intimate gatherings enable companies to continue fulfilling key business initiatives while offering enhanced networking opportunities with key colleagues and business decision-makers. For a meeting planner, though, the workload exponentially increases with every segmented event.

On a more personal level, families and friends are also shifting their distance travel plans and opting for small group staycations at nearby hotels and resorts. Hotel sales teams are happy to work with these small groups as well by offering competitive group rates that benefit all involved. In many cases, hotels are also willing to waive or reduce past performance requirements in the hopes of securing base business in the future. In these cases, it’s important to know what to ask for.

Workations and staycations also offer an opportunity for planners to reallocate dollars spent on typical travel expenses, such as plane tickets, to activities that enhance an overall event. Small groups may take advantage of discounted group rates offered by local businesses. Planners may want to incorporate more fun activities, excursions, shopping and dining opportunities, which also support the local economy. Again, this means an increase in workload.

Let us help you plan your next workation or staycation — at no cost to you.

We have extensive experience helping families, friends, coworkers, franchisees and sponsors find their perfect venue and event amenities at the best possible rates. We can help you too. We’ll make certain your terms are attractive and that you avoid guaranteeing anything you should not commit to. Best part, we advocate for you at no cost to you! What have you got to lose, besides workload and stress?

Attrition: No longer what it used to be

As a meeting planner, one of the most challenging aspects to securing a location has always been the fine balance of booking enough hotel rooms to benefit from a great rate while mitigating the risk of attrition (performance) penalties. And it has been an anxiety-filled waiting game until that committed room block was met. Until now.

This year, the rapid outbreak and spread of COVID-19 had many meeting planners and hotel representatives scrambling to find viable solutions for booked conferences, meetings and events that needed to be canceled or postponed. The same viable solutions need to be properly addressed for new bookings as well.

Just as COVID-19 is changing the way the general business world operates, it too is forever changing how the hospitality industry is managing conferences, meetings and events going forward. Contract policies surrounding attrition and cancellation no longer hold the same weight in many cases due to COVID-related government restrictions and WHO/CDC safety guidelines taking precedence.

Today’s meeting planners want more flexibility and less risk in hotel contracts in order to successfully host safe events in an environment that is highly unpredictable and continually evolving. Hospitality brands, with their low occupancies and revenues, are very willing to address what planners need now and in the future.

Although many standard agreements now include language to address issues like what we have faced this year, it’s more critical than ever before to ensure that said language is mutually-beneficial. Meeting planners need great deals to keep event costs down and hospitality brands need to make money.

The fine balance is where Meeting Your Needs comes in. With our extensive experience in both hospitality and meeting planning, we can ensure that event contracts protect meeting planners and deliver on what events need, while ensuring that hoteliers can continue to do what they do best. Who wouldn’t want a solid win-win-win?

Rick’s Picks: 5 hotels doing COVID-19 right

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, safety is the number one priority when choosing a meeting or conference venue. The following brands are doing a great job at keeping meeting and event attendees, as well as hotel guests, as safe as possible:

Westin St. Louis

Marriott and its commitment to clean makes our list. The Marriott Cleanliness Council is committed to providing guests a safe environment that aligns with expert protocols.

MGM Grand Las Vegas

MGM Resorts has been working with medical experts and offers a Seven-Point Safety Plan to put guests’ health and safety at the center of all they do.

Stoweflake Mountain Resort and Spa

Stoweflake Mountain Resort & Spa is making a great effort at following the recommendations and highest level of standards and guidelines set by the State of Vermont, CDC and AHLA.

Hilton Fort Worth

Hilton offers its CleanStay program and partners with RB, the maker of Lysol and Dettol cleaning brands, to provide guests total peace of mind.


Posadas encourages people to Travel with Confidence as the company partners with 3M, a world leader in health and hygiene sciences, to promote health and safety.

These are just 5 of many hospitality brands throughout the world doing COVID-19 right.

Looking for a viable venue for your upcoming meeting or conference? My team and I can help match your event with the venue that best meets your timing, space, rooms, location, and most importantly, safety needs … and at no cost to you! That’s right, you don’t pay us a dime for our services. Contact us to learn how.

COVID-19: It’s a meeting planner’s market

This year, most companies and associations have postponed or canceled their group meetings and conferences due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of these same companies are in a holding pattern, waiting for the crisis to pass and to see how their market rebounds.

Meanwhile, hotels, conference and convention centers sit empty, idle. What does this mean for you as a conference planner? The market is yours! Never has the hospitality industry had so much availability and been so open to highly negotiable contracts, minimums and comp space.

Get more value for your planning dollar, now

Leverage the industry’s slowdown and book your future event at a time when venues are at their hungriest. At Meeting Your Needs, our team has the ins and outs on the COVID-compliant locations and venues that will ensure a safe and successful event. We can also assist with on-site inspections and contract negotiations, ensuring you get the most value for your planning dollar.

Let us do the leg work, at no cost to you

Mitigating risk is a hot topic these days. When working with Meeting Your Needs, there is zero risk or cost to you. Our objective is to match you with the venue that best meets your timing, space, rooms, location, and safety needs. Let us be your hotel search, site inspection resource and tough contract negotiator.