IHG Hotels & Resorts has further strengthened its Meet with Confidence program by partnering with CVS Health and PCMA. CVS Health’s Return Ready is now a recommended supplier for on-site COVID-19 rapid testing. IHG also has signed a new Education Sponsorship agreement with PCMA for the development of an industry-first Digital Event Strategist Introductory Certificate Course for Hotels and Venues.
An August survey from PCMA, the world’s largest network of business events strategists, found that 54% of planner respondents are turning their attention to designing digital event experiences. In its September survey, nearly half of planner respondents said they are planning a digital/online-only event for Q4 2021, and for Q1 through Q2 2022, one-third are planning a digital/online-only event and 47% are planning a hybrid event.
“These partnerships come at a perfect time as face-to-face meetings are coming back through the rest of this year and into 2022,” said Derek DeCross, SVP, global sales, IHG Hotels & Resorts. “We are excited to welcome them back and well-being is our top priority. We are the first hotel company to partner with CVS Health and PCMA, and their expertise will help us better serve planners and our guests. We will continue to strengthen our Meet with Confidence program to provide industry-leading meeting and event solutions without compromising on the experience or flexibility that guests and planners need.”
As event planners prepare for hybrid or in-person events, CVS Health, a leading provider and expert on COVID-19 testing and vaccinations, is a convenient and reliable provider of on-site rapid testing through Return Ready at IHG Hotels & Resorts in the U.S. And while vaccine rates continue to trend in a positive direction, preventive measures and effective testing will continue to be critical to hosting hybrid and in-person gatherings. This on-site testing offered through CVS Health further complements the IHG Way of Clean program, which was enhanced in 2020 with additional cleanliness and well-being measures implemented at all hotels, and IHG’s Meet with Confidence Commitment, to make every event just right.
James Margiotta, SVP, Return Ready, CVS Health, said, “As we continue our fight against the pandemic, we know prompt diagnosis through measures such as on-site testing continues to play a critical role in helping to limit the spread of COVID-19. CVS Health is proud to be able to offer IHG a customizable, on-site testing solution through Return Ready so they can welcome back travelers and guests for safer hybrid or in-person events across the U.S.”
As the needs of meeting planners have evolved, particularly around technology for hybrid events, IHG is upskilling its hotel teams around the world to meet the needs of planners and attendees. The company will serve as the education sponsor for a new Digital Event Strategist Hotel and Venue Introductory Certificate Course created by PCMA, in partnership with Encore. The course is designed as a development program to educate and train hotel and venue teams to successfully partner with planners in the hosting of corporate and social hybrid events:
- Supporting Strategic Hybrid Event Design
- Design of Hybrid Events
- Venue Readiness of Hybrid Events
- Audience Experience of Hybrid Events
“The pandemic changed the way our audiences engage with business events, but not their desired outcomes from business events,” said Sherrif Karamat, president/CEO, PCMA. “Reskilling is a real need for our community, and we are proud to be part of this important and collaborative program. Now is the time to safely get back to business, and collectively develop a plan for the future of the business events industry.”