Enhanced hospitality experience
Health and safety service modifications have been integral to sustaining events during the pandemic, which increased the need for making small moments and human interaction matter even more than before. The enhanced guest experience will remain well into 2021. That includes self-service buffet stations replaced with station attendants serving guests, offering an additional moment of conversation and hospitality, extra hospitality training for staff so they understand hospitality, which translates into heightened empathy and compassion.
Paradigm shift in space usage and service styles
Pre COVID, a full room and crowded event was a successful event. The pandemic has forced a paradigm shift here, most of all a successful event now is a safe event, so spreading your points of service out with multiple food stations serving 1 or 2 items each and breaking up your menu across the entire space or set multiple stations serving complete, composed plates. As we navigate through the next phases of the pandemic, we, as hospitality professionals, must recognise that our guests will remain sensitive to their sense of “personal space” beyond the pandemic, and maximising real estate will continue into 2021.
In the ongoing, pre-emptive action of mitigating crowding, mixing up the service styles will also enhance the guest experience. Tray pass concurrently with access to open food and beverage stations rather than the previous approach of “rolling” service (tray pass, then stations, then maybe tray pass again or something to-go). The goal is to provide a natural environment for social distancing, so guests do not feel awkward and can naturally avoid gathering around service areas.
Emphasis on quality
As face to face events return through 2021, planners, hosts and guests will inevitably experience a lot of anxiety transitioning back into outside group activities large and small. Do not sacrifice the quality of what you are serving; every delicious bite and tasty sip sets your guests more at ease. Our future event guests in 2021 will also return us to more of an educated experience about food and beverage, thereby adding a greater appreciation for quality and craftsmanship. Many have been watching cooking and mixology videos via Tik Tok and Instagram, participating in virtual cook alongs, experimenting at home, having restaurant take-out and otherwise delivery expanding their palates. The future event guest will be looking for an experience, a spark of joy or curiosity and higher quality.