In a post-COVID world, boardrooms that used to feel large and open can no longer safely host the team. In the past week, Discover Halifax needed a professional boardroom space that would facilitate a series of meetings with vendors on upcoming projects.
In this article, Discover Halifax hosted in one of the other variants of meeting spaces within Halifax. Many venues offer different meeting spaces, including oversized boardrooms. In this case, the same boardroom used by President Bill Clinton during the G7 Conference in Halifax back in 1995.
In a post-COVID world, there must be sufficient space when groups come together to meet safely. On average, to fulfill a 6-foot/2-metre physical distancing requirement, each attendee requires 29 square feet of space. As soon as the attendance count is greater than 6, many in-office meeting rooms can’t safely host the meeting, or comply with suggested/required health requirements.
Discover Halifax hosted sales meetings with prospective vendors for upcoming projects. Here, it was essential to get the whole picture, have dynamic conversations, and ensure presentations flowed naturally. With a boardroom too small to facilitate these meetings, Discover Halifax contacted the Hotel Halifax to find the right space to safely and easily host these meetings.
Sara Ericsson sat down with the venue Host, Kathleen O'Halloran, the Director of Sales & Marketing at the Hotel Halifax & Barrington Hotel for her take on meetings in a post-COVID world:
What is your property doing to make sure that you are able to host safe face-to-face meetings?
We have a full pandemic sanitization process in place, for all areas of the hotel including meeting rooms and guest rooms. This requires that everything be sanitized prior to guests having access to the areas. We also provide hand sanitizer in meeting rooms, along with other things that help guests while they’re using the space. We’ve also changed our menu offerings – buffets are no longer permitted – along with our foodservice standards so things are more individualized and there is no open food. Everything has been tailored to our current normal.”
How do you work with your meeting clients to make sure the process is as easy as possible for them?
“We ensure cleanliness so our meeting clients don’t have to ask any questions, plan anything or bring anything themselves: everything is taken care of before they even get there. Our already high cleanliness standards have been heightened, and all social distancing requirements are in place, both in public areas like the lobby and elevators, where signage asks people to maintain their distance and floor markers show where to stand.”
Meeting rooms specifically:
“We have new capacity charts for our meeting rooms that show which are best suited for a specific meeting under current public health guidelines. If somebody wants to do 20 people in a boardroom, we’re not necessarily using the same room we would have used prior to the pandemic. We’re using a bigger room to accommodate the six-foot rule, so people are finding themselves within a much larger space but are adapting easily to that. When they get there, the chairs are set six feet apart already.”
Do you feel face to face meetings provide higher value than ones done in a virtual environment? If so, how?
“I do think face-to-face meetings provide higher value. Certainly, virtual communication did work in terms of sharing content… but meeting in person gives you more communication cues missed by virtual. It’s the organic connections people make with each other, when face-to-face, that virtual misses. That’s not something you can replicate in any other way.”
Maybe you don't need a ballroom, but you need a bit more space. You’ll find dozens of venues with multiple configurations throughout Halifax. Head on over to the venue page to find the right fit for you.