NAME: Stacey Byford

BUSINESS NAME: InterContinental Hayman Island Resort

POSITION: Events manager

What are you working on right now in anticipation of a return of events?

Our priority is making sure that when our clients are ready to meet again, we are ready to welcome them to Hayman Island. We have implemented additional health and safety measures in line with local jurisdiction and adopted the IHG Way of Clean Programme developed in conjunction with experts from Ecolab, a global leader in hygiene technologies and service.

We have also launched ‘Meet with Confidence’ – a flexible offer that invites planners to secure future group events and meetings with zero cancellation fees or attrition fees. This offer has been designed to give our clients peace-of-mind while planning in an unpredictable world, and so it is eligible for bookings of between 10 and 50 rooms when you book before December 31, 2020, for meeting/stay dates until June 30, 2021.

What’s one lesson you have learnt during the COVID-19 lockdown period?

Not to take anything for granted – both personally and professionally. My day-to-day revolves around connecting groups not only with each other, but with the beauty of the Whitsundays. As Australia (and the world) went into lockdown, I reflected on how important it is to stay present in the moment and really take the time to appreciate human connection, the ability to travel and the beauty of my island home.

What do you value more now than you may have pre-COVID-19?

The event industry typically operates at an incredibly high pace. As a resort team, we have been able to slow down and step back; which has given us the valuable opportunity to look at our way of working and develop ways to ensure each touchpoint in our client’s planning journey is as efficient and tailored as possible.

How do you think events will change in the future?

We will see a rise in hybrid events, especially while travel restrictions are in place. Groups will continue to meet in a physical venue, but I think we will see a strong trend towards integrating digital elements into itineraries. For example, virtual presentations from speakers across the globe being live streamed into meeting rooms.

Why are events important?

Events bring people together. For corporate groups, they provide an invaluable foundation for relationship building and teamwork, while also giving groups a chance to align objectives and celebrate wins. Then you have social events, which mark milestone moments and give family and friends the chance to create memories through weddings, birthdays, anniversaries and beyond. I think now more than ever, we all see how important and special it is for us to come together and connect.