VIENNA, VA. – Southern Management Companies (Southern) will soon offer hybrid meeting packages, merging the experiences of in-person and online audiences.
Each of Southern’s properties—The Hotel at the University of Maryland, Cambria Hotel College Park, The Hotel at Arundel Preserve, and Bear Creek Mountain Resort and Conference Center—will offer hybrid meeting packages, which can be customized by the audiovisual team based on the needs of each client. The packages provide all base equipment and necessary technicians to execute the shared experience for virtual and in-person attendees, with or without breakout rooms.
“Hybrid meetings are here to stay. We’re excited to be at the forefront of the industry by offering our clients affordable and unique options to engage all guests,” said Jeff Brainard, vice president, sales and marketing, Southern Management Companies. “From 500-person conferences to 50-person meetings, our team is equipped with the tools to help bring events to life—no matter the audience size or location of attendees.”
Each package varies slightly to accommodate client needs, but all include audiovisual equipment such as screens and projectors, 12-channel audio mixers, microphones (including a wired podium), lavalier and wireless handheld mics, audio and video technicians, and high-speed internet connections. Additionally, clients can opt to have the hotels utilize their Zoom licenses and digital room setup tools, which will provide access to an audiovisual team that will work with the client to set up meeting rooms and breakouts and assign remote personnel to each room.
“The hybrid meeting packages complement our EVENT Strong initiative by reinforcing our commitment to exceptional service and experiences for all attendees. Now, not only are we able to safely welcome attendees to face-to-face meetings and events, but we can deliver a cohesive experience for all guests, whether they are at our property or participating from anywhere around the world,” Brainard added.
EVENT Strong is Southern’s plan to safely host meetings, social gatherings, and events of various sizes. It is based on four specific areas of focus:
- Ever Strong: This company-wide program is the foundation for health and safety protocols at all Southern properties. Ever Strong follows state and local guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and outlines key procedures for all areas of hotel operations (including sales and conference services), cleaning and sanitizing, physical distancing, and face coverings.
- Environmental systems: Another component of client and team member health and safety is the advanced HVAC technology in Southern’s hotel and resort properties. These systems include enhanced air filtering, which allows for both automatically and manually controlled air exchange that reduces airborne particles and aerosols. Additionally, each property has control systems for regulating airflow and circulation in event and pre-function areas. Advanced filtering and sanitizing capabilities, which vary by property, include automated CO2 monitoring, UV-C light sterilization, and remote sensing and adjustment to ensure optimal air exchange. The meeting spaces have multiple units that work in concert to provide customizable settings for different programs based on client needs.
- Technology: Customized audio-visual solutions accommodate hybrid meetings that combine in-person and remote capabilities. Multi-room, onsite broadcasting allows hosts to limit occupancy in individual spaces while accommodating larger group sizes.
- Food and beverage: Southern’s culinary and banquet service teams have expanded offerings to comply with the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. These changes include replacing all self-service buffets and stations with alternative service methods, including chef-attended stations, which are well-spaced and safely executed. Culinary team members wear appropriate PPE with physical safeguards in place.
Team members at each of Southern’s properties have received training on COVID-19 safety and sanitation protocols, with more comprehensive training for those with frequent guest contact, including housekeeping, food and beverage, hotel operations, engineering, and security. Action plans are in place and team members are trained on how to respond to any reported cases of COVID-19 on-property.