By Emma Moriarty
Conference and Banqueting Manager
Now that we are in ‘Level 2’, companies and organisations are allowed to host meetings and events for business related activities that can cater for up to 50 people. We’re sure many of you breathed a big sigh of relief behind your mask – we all know the benefits of physically being in a space with your colleagues – it is more creative, focused, goal driven and far easier to communicate that via Zoom call. Certainly in the run up to Christmas, this is a wonderful opportunity for us to get offsite and hold team bonding events or strategy sessions for 2021, having not seen our team for many months! It is also great to facilitate meetings and catch-up events with our clients and industry colleagues around the country – we certainly need as many productive meetings as we can before the new year!
With this in mind, Emma, our Meetings and Events Coordinator has put together some top tips on what to look for when booking a meeting room or event space, so that you can be sure your meeting is compliant in line with all safety regulations.
1. Ask The Hotel for their New Health and Safety procedures
Whilst many events venues are meeting all the requirements, there are still those who are bending the rules. At Cork International Hotel, we have carried out extensive work while we were closed and have completed innumerable risk assessments, sanitisation, cleaning and hygiene standards and health and safety protocols, which you can find in our Trust & Care Programme online HERE. Our teams work with government guidelines and the Failte Ireland and Irish Hotels Federation groups to ensure we not only adhere to guidelines, but go above and beyond to ensure delegates safety and we are happy to provide you with copies of our protocols and our certs of completion for these.
Also make sure you keep an eye out for the Failte Ireland Covid 19 Safety Charter Logo – we proudly display ours on our website as this ensures that all team members have completed extensive training before returning to work. It also means we have signed up to regular spot checks so our standards never slip!
2. Speak with the hotel regarding any concerns or questions you may have to answer to those attending.
Since the government announcement, we have been delighted to welcome back many of our corporate friends! We have found that no question is a silly question. When you are planning on holding an event with us, our coordinator can provide you with a document filled with detail, so that you can answer some of the most frequently asked questions that your attendees may have. From face masks protocols to sanitizing and social distancing, we are 100% compliant with regulations, and we’re happy to provide you with information to set your attendees minds at ease. This is a new way or working and teams might be wary at first, but we are happy to answer all questions and provide you with solutions!
3. Choose a location with easy access and amenities.
Whereas before, you could host a meeting anywhere, anytime, now you might need a bit more forward planning and in most cases, at most venues, pre-booking is necessary. Nevertheless, whether it is just somewhere to sit solo to make calls for half a day, or whether you are planning an event for 50, we have booking options available for you. Now more than ever, you need to provide delegates with access to parking and dining options, to make the day easier, so as always, we offer free parking to delegates and we have a variety of food options available in order to let attendees decide what they are more comfortable with.
We offer “touch-free” food options – pre-order lunch menus can be emailed the day before and emailed back to order on the day (avoiding everyone ticking a piece of paper or a clipboard being send around a room for an order). We can also facilitate socially distanced dining in our private dining spaces, or we can offer in-room dining with pre-ordered and individually packaged soup, sandwiches and treat breaks per guest.
4. Look for an event coordinator
As always, you will want everything to be professional and run smoothly on the day. The benefit of booking a hotel as opposed to other event space, is that you will be dealing with a professionally trained and dedicated events team who will look after your every need. Having an event coordinator at your venue is important as they can help you with signage, sanitising stations, and food breaks, They will also check your schedule with you to ensure the event space or meeting room is cleared periodically at a designated times (most likely break/lunch) in order for the staff to clean and sanitize the room & all touchpoints in a quick and efficient manner.
5. Curate an attendee welcome letter with help from our team
As long as you’re comfortable, your team will be too.
We can assist you in preparing an introduction on arrival to all attendees, to ensure they are fully familiar with the schedule of the day and made aware of guidelines, responsibilities and facilities available to them. We suggest this letter includes detail on:
- Detail on where the event is being held in the hotel and how to get there
- Where the facilities are (toilets, restaurant and other)
- Hand sanitizing stations
- Timing and detail on scheduled breaks so guests can plan ahead
- Any expectations of the attendees in terms of their own responsibilities (i.e Social distancing, mask-wearing) for the day.
Let us do the rest!