Managing event guest list in the new normal

How do you manage an event guest list to ensure staff and attendees are safe? It’s a delicate question as planners and hotels try to balance security, privacy and liability.

“You don’t want people to feel like they’re in a hospital,” says Jamie Breslin, director of catering at Four Seasons Hotel in Chicago. “It’s supposed to be a nice experience.” Four Seasons and other hotels plan to take the temperature of people who enter the lobby.

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Urban Resort Concepts in Shanghai takes temperatures – and takes it a step further by also asking guests to provide certain documentation, says CEO Markus Engel. In Beijing residents fill out a health survey online, and software issues them a colored health code that specifies where they can go. They are required to present a green code on their phone in order to attend an event at the company’s PuXuan Hotel and Spa.

At the Intercontinental Hotel San Francisco, General Manager Raymond Vermolen says the hotel is taking the temperature of associates but not guests. But the staff would work with event planners to determine the level of vetting, including temperature checks at the door, he says.

Accor hotels in North America and South America send questions in advance to guests who book a reservation.

“If guests belong to a risk group for COVID-19 (indicated by a positive response to any of the questions asked), we ask that they postpone their travels until the risk period has passed,” says Jeff Doane, senior vice president, sales and marketing for Accor North and Central America.

Technology is supplying another option — no-touch thermal scanning where people walk by a thermal camera that records body temperatures with high accuracy. People who register an above-average temperature could be pulled aside for additional screening. “It’s an option for larger events,” says Chicago event planner Jodi Wolf.