Fears over rust setting into meetings creativity

Marriott survey finds clients eager to return to in-person events, but concerns expressed over whether events and experiences will be as unique as those during pre-Covid

BUSINESS event organisers and corporate travellers in Asia Pacific believe creating unique meeting activities and experiences are a challenge as uncertainty lingers over restrictions on social gatherings and international travel.

Marriott International surveyed 300 business travellers and MICE professionals and found that 81 per cent of respondents believe in-person engagements with clients were vital for business recovery.

More than 60 per cent, however, pointed to continuing Covid restrictions while a further 40 per cent were concerned as to whether suppliers could produce new meeting products as the industry slowly recovered from two years of lockdowns.

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Findings from the survey, which was launched earlier this year, also revealed that 53 per cent felt face-to-face activities were important to motivating and bonding among teams and building company culture.

While the industry adapted to restrictions with hybrid and virtual events, Marriott executives have identified potential demand for in-person business gatherings at venues as restrictions ease and more destinations reopen to travellers.

“With the ease of travel and social gathering restrictions, the pent-up demand for face-to-face meetings is set to accelerate,” said Ramesh Daryanani, Marriott International’s vice president of global sales, Asia Pacific.

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“The desire to stay connected with each other has always been there in the past two years. When travelling and meeting face-to-face were not possible, the industry adopted to hybrid meetings and other virtual activities to keep people engaged,” said Daryanani.

Marriott recently launched “The 5Gs of Human Connection” campaign based around the concepts of “Gather, Global, Gratitude, Giving and Gourmet” as pillars for planners organising events at the hotelier’s properties through the Marriott Bonvoy awards scheme.

“On-demand destinations” named by Marriott include Singapore, Japan, Maldives, Australia and others that have reopened borders.

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