Accor has partnered with Microsoft Teams to create and offer a new hybrid meetings service, the company announced. Dubbed All Connect, the service is set to launch in April 2021, and Accor has a goal of full availability by 2022 in all its 3,200 hotels with meeting rooms across all brands. More than 1,800 Accor hotels already can facilitate hybrid meetings.
The new service will allow clients to combine physical in-hotel meetings with virtual interactions across multiple locations simultaneously. For hotels not already equipped for hybrid meetings, the new offering will allow attendees to connect and engage virtually on the Microsoft Teams platform.
To be compliant with the All Connect service, hotels will need to meet standards for minimum internet bandwidth, minimum meeting room hardware equipment and videoconferencing software, according to the company. This also requires integration of non-technical components, such as training of hotel staff and the company’s elevated hygiene program, rolled out last year.
All Connect primarily was designed for small meetings of eight to 50 in-person attendees, though options are available for larger meetings and events.
Research by Accor shows that 50 percent of physical meetings planned by the company’s meetings and events customers in 2021 will switch to virtual formats and that 70 percent of respondents see hybrid meetings as an important service in the future. Further, additional analysis indicates that virtual trends are likely to last beyond the pandemic even as corporate budgets return to pre-Covid levels.