Accor and Microsoft have collaborated to develop a new hybrid meetings concept called All Connect. The initiative, which is powered by Microsoft Teams technology, officially launches in April.
The concept focuses primarily on smaller meetings of eight to 50 participants, and allows corporate customers and meeting planners around the world to combine “physical in-hotel meetings with virtual interactions across multiple locations.”
Meetings take place on the Microsoft Teams platform, with attendees able to connect and engage virtually through “industry-leading audio and video device experiences.” Accor hotels’ meeting spaces will have Microsoft Teams Rooms and Surface Hub 2S to connect the on-site guests with remote participants.
Customers will benefit from the expertise of dedicated teams, and there will be bespoke programs and experiences available to attendees. The concept will also be operated in line with the group’s All Safe sanitary and safety protocols.
Currently, Accor says that 55 percent of its hotels with meeting rooms are already providing hybrid meetings solutions to customers. The hotel group aims to build on this, aiming for 100 percent of these hotels to comply with the new hybrid meetings standard by 2022 across all of its brands worldwide.
According to a survey by Accor, half of the meetings planned by the company’s meetings and events customers in 2021 will switch from physical get-togethers to virtual formats. Additionally, 70 percent of respondents see hybrid meetings “as an important service in the future.”
The company also states that further sector analysis reveals a trend towards remote events and meetings that is unlikely to disappear after the pandemic, especially as customers begin to focus on more sustainable corporate travel.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has caused business travelers and meeting planners to review the way they work,” said Patrick Mendes, group chief commercial officer in charge of sales, marketing, distribution and loyalty at Accor.
“Virtual and hybrid formats have become an essential part of daily business life. Accor’s new concept All Connect, created in collaboration with Microsoft Teams, will be an important tool for our guests, offering them the opportunity to organize safe, qualitative and seamless hybrid meetings as they continue to focus on health and safety and sustainability.”
Accor joins a growing list of hoteliers offering hybrid meetings in response to the pandemic. NH Hotel Group has redesigned its meetings and events experiences for the COVID-19 era, while Marriott is offering virtual solutions and Hilton has rolled out hybrid-ready solutions across its portfolio.
Marriott is also offering COVID-19 testing for group meetings at select properties in the US.