While three billion people around the world were in lockdown during the pandemic, the Principality of Monaco on the French Riviera kept in touch with meeting planners, despite events being postponed indefinitely. The Monaco Government Tourist & Convention Authority introduced a flexible trade policy, waiving cancellation fees and postponing deposits to help offer solutions for clients who had to postpone. The work paid off: 20 of the 25 events scheduled from March to July 2020 were successfully postponed.
With the event industry on hold, Monaco launched a campaign to keep meeting planners engaged. The message: “Take care of yourself, we miss you!” A simple yet effective way to say that when travel restrictions are lifted and life slowly resumes, the principality will once again be ready to welcome the events industry. May is one of the busiest months for Monaco thanks to the Grand Prix, but this year marked a different kind of turning point for the principality—the gradual ease out of confinement. After two months of lockdown, the principality began allowing professional and economic sectors to reopen (with strict safety measures in place, of course). On June 2nd, bars, restaurants and museums opened, followed by shops a few days later. Most of Monaco’s hotels have also opened up their doors for stays, ensuring the Principality may still, in fact, have a bustling summer season.
On a brief visit in June, Boardroom experienced some of the new sanitary measures that have been put in place to protect against the spread of COVID-19. In all properties of the Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer, temperature checks are now performed at entrances, hand sanitizer dispensers are placed at various points of contact, and surfaces like door handles and elevator buttons are cleaned with a virus-killing agent every two hours. Social distance rules of 1.5m are also enforced in places with high foot traffic.
Sandrine Camia, Deputy Director of the Monaco Government Tourist Authority, launched a video to explain how operations are resuming with new sanitary measures in place across the principality (see below). The Grimaldi Forum (GFM)already has a packed agenda starting in September, and has mobilized teams to help prepare for the upcoming events. For events that have been planned since the start of confinement, GFM assisted clients with postponements by arranging room changes and reducing the times for assembly and disassembly between events, in addition to creating a safety guide outlining the new measures. Social distancing signs have been placed throughout the building, plexiglass screens have been installed at reception desks, and security guards and hostesses wear both masks and visors.
“We are optimistic about business resuming activity. Widely recognised for twenty years for its ability to adapt to all the projects of event organisers, the Grimaldi Forum Monaco has always placed security as its top priority,” says General Director Sylvie Biancheri. “We are doing everything we can to put in place optimal reception conditions. We have a busy schedule starting in September, and we are particularly pleased to welcome the 31st edition of SPORTEL from 25 to 28 October.”
SPORTEL, the global flagship event and world’s leading Sports Content Media Rights and Technology Convention, started over 30 years ago. Last year, the event drew 3,126 attendees from 980 companies located in 73 countries across the globe. With the introduction of the new safety measures, plus the design of the Grimaldi Forum, which features plenty of ventilation, attendees descending from all over the world can meet in confidence knowing that their health is at the forefront of the planning process.
“We are fully operational with the perspective of carrying out the organisation of SPORTEL Monaco and SPORTEL Awards,” explains SPORTEL CEO, Laurent Puons. “The health of our participants is paramount and remains our major concern. We are doing everything in our power to guarantee that health standards are respected, enabling us to welcome our participants with complete peace of mind.”