Event spaces at the Grand Hyatt Singapore have set the scene for a new training day that will be pioneered across the region before the hotel group rolls it out worldwide. And it starts the day with invigorating exercise and calming yoga to get participants at their peak.
The internal workshop is a vital part of Hyatt’s efforts to engage staff, and subsequently meeting planners, by upgrading skills and knowledge in negotiation, venue booking, creative event planning, F&B trends and more.
Two of Hyatt’s top event executives in Asia Pacific led the workshop with one taking the role of explainer, while the other changed the pace with case studies and other real-life examples.
Christophe Sadones (below right), regional VP of events, and Julie Goleman, Asia Pacific director of events, centred the subject matter on the 36 attendees at the one of the Grand Hyatt Singapore’s Salon event spaces. Attendees came from Hyatt properties in Danang, Vietnam; Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, including the Andaz property, set to open on October 26.
As the event was a day of motivation and engagement, it started with a group exercise on the hotel tennis courts. Karu Nanithi, Grand Hyatt Singapore’s spa director and wellness specialist for Hyatt Asia Pacific, led the kick-start, which saw attendees enjoying the buzz from cross-fit and the meditative benefits of yoga.
Grand Hyatt Singapore’s wellness programme is available to meeting planners, but the property is so far the only Hyatt in Asia Pacific to integrate the wellness element into its current events offering. The internal training was due to be carried out in 12 destinations in the region by the beginning of October.
Breakfast took the form of an ice-breaking session at the hotel’s salon’s breakout coffee space with menu selections that included organic, low-fat, sustainable and plant-based options. Beverages featured freshly squeezed juices, smoothies and sustainably sourced coffee.
After introductions, the workshop proceedings opened with a video message from Steve Enselein, the Chicago-based senior VP of events for Hyatt worldwide. Enselein explained that the Singapore training day would become a global initiative with a launch across the US planned.
The global events chief was to appear on video again towards the end of the day recapping the main themes covered in the sessions the attendees and giving insights into trends that Hyatt’s top executives have been observing. These ranged from demand for unique offsite venues, wellness and the increasingly common sight of fresh vegetables on display in dining outlets along with large fermenting bottles.
Such items reflected a demand among younger professionals to source organic “pick-to-plate” produce grown locally and other F&B trends such as return of the butchery craft and the pairing of craft beers and ciders as well as wines.
Teams were also given an insight into event design with the discussion elements of the day being broken up with videos. This session emphasised how memorable events revolved around event-guest journeys that featured “passion moments”.
One of the most fun modules of the day hinged on the dreaded topic of revenue management. The Hyatt Revenue Game was modelled on a board-type game with each table given a calendar, calls for guest and meeting room bookings and the all-important 3,000-square-foot ballroom.
The purpose of the exercise was to sharpen the participants’ selling strategies. Players had to decide whether or not to take the bookings and the customer demands they came with. Risks included overlaps in the hotel’s event calendar, how to handle the demands of a regular client, venue over-bookings and more that could make or break brand reputations.
Successful Conversations dealt with the successful resolution of conflict and the techniques to achieve this through role-play.
Issues included double-booked event space and a planner not ordering enough food for 200 guests. Solutions were offered and there was a range of “potential objections” to each.
To revitalise energy levels, wellness chief Karu Nanithi returned to motivate the day further with a drum circle. He also explained other aspects of Hyatt’s wellness programme, such as the therapeutic and thought enhancement benefits of being active.
Sandones, Hyatt International’s regional events VP, said the wellness programme would become an “annual curriculum” for the group’s hotels in Asia Pacific. “Feedback from the participants has been very positive, and it is through feedback that we are able to fine-tune future training sessions to have greater impact for our participants,” he said.