The global pandemic has caused a significant change in most sectors. Arguably most of all in the hotel sector. Not only have they operated as quarantine centres and makeshift hospitals, but hotels across the world have had to re-think their offerings when it comes to attracting guests and corporate events.

The Ritz-Carlton, Perth has shifted its focus when it comes to MICE by observing patterns and adapting its processes in order to stay competitive.

We chatted with director of sales and marketing for the hotel Li Ann Loo about what event planners are now looking for, the opportunities that have arisen from Covid, what the future of event food will look like and the Covid-safe assurances in place at The Ritz Carlton, Perth that set it apart.

What is your 2021 MICE calendar looking like?

Our 2021 MICE calendar is starting to see meetings and events with accommodation requirements returning, as well as more intimate weddings and social events.

What changes have you noticed this year in what event planners are looking for?

This year we have seen a noticeable shift with what’s top of mind for event organisers. We have seen a rise in requests for more intimate conferences and functions, valuing flexibility when planning events and shorter lead times. The request for hybrid events has also increased with each city holding their event locally and then virtually coming together.

Have you collaborated with any other hotel brands in order to make events happen this year?

We work closely with the other Marriott International properties in Perth and Australia to ensure we assist our guests as best we can.

What do you believe the future of event food will look like?

We have already seen an increased interest in food practices as a result of Covid-19 this year. Hygiene is top of mind and clients this year have asked about food practices like individually-wrapped meals, take-away cups and serving ware, and even Bento boxes. Events are opting for individual meals rather than buffet or cooking station options and we are foreseeing a rise in sit-down functions for meetings and events.

Have any opportunities arisen from Covid-19 for your hotel?

We have been more creative with the use of our function spaces, including using our foyer areas for long table dining events and wedding ceremonies, and using our Club Lounge for a variety of corporate, social and wedding events.

What flexibility does your hotel offer in terms of cancellations/postponements?

As this year has shown, situations can change rapidly so where possible we offer flexibility with cancellations and postponements for our MICE business.

What ‘Covid-safe’ initiatives does your hotel offer that others may not?

The hotel has taken preventative measures in line with Marriott’s Commitment to Clean protocols which include increasing cleaning frequencies of kitchen and guest public areas, implementing strict food handling processes and tableware disinfection, offering a no-contact policy on room services or deliveries, and providing extra hand sanitisers for both guests and its staff.