A meeting room at a Meliá hotel. | Meliá Hotels International

Having reopened some 150 hotels worldwide under its "Stay Safe with Meliá" programme, Meliá Hotels International is now preparing for a reactivation of its conferences and exhibitions business,

For MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) tourism, this programme is characterised by additional hygiene measures, virtual tools, and catering that has been adapted to the health situation. For assembling exhibitions, there are virtual inspections, with 3D diagramming for the design of stands. In addition, there are signage systems for the correct flow and movement of people and separation features to ensure safe distance.

Hygiene measures include disinfecting mats, sanitiser gels, the sealing of rooms after they have been sanitised, glass bottles of water per person, the sealing of cutlery and frequently used items, stationery on request, and a reduction of decorative features. Catering services are in private rooms or in areas which have been reserved for groups. Outdoor "show cooking" is being encouraged where possible, as are outdoor stands. There will be individual, single-serving plates, and coffee and buffets will have assisted service in order to eliminate handling. Take-away is also on offer.

Melià explains that these measures are in compliance with new regulations and "with the purpose of meeting the new expectations of the business client". The company has consulted thousands of events organisers in drawing up its procedures. This consultation highlighted the importance of reducing capacity, of adopting social distancing when setting up exhibition spaces and providing restaurant services, and of reinforcing hygiene measures.

The company will also be introducing "hybrid meetings", a combination of face-to-face and remote conference participants and attendees.

For the MICE sector, Meliá has a specific campaign with the slogan "When you come back, entrust your events to Meliá". Bureau Veritas, one of the world's leading testing, inspection and certification companies, is certifying the procedures.