An interview with Queen’s Landing Hotel’s Conference Operations Manager, Paul Kurek
Queen’s Landing Hotel has long stood as Vintage Hotels’ flagship conference centre but this year things look different at the Georgian mansion hotel in Niagara-on-the-Lake. While the venue isn’t hosting their typical 300-person conferences, they are successfully providing meetings and event space for up to 50 people.
With increased safety initiatives and creative venue structuring, the hotel has been able to host safe small meetings since June. We asked Conference Operations Manager, Paul Kurek, to walk us through the new safety initiatives, room layouts, dining options and more.
How are you ensuring safe meetings and events for your guests?
Our guests’ meetings look different now then they did prior to Covid. Like all of us in our own lives, we as a company needed to adapt and have taken great measures to ensure our guests and staff are safe during these times.
We want our guests to have complete trust in us, knowing that we are doing everything possible to ensure that their safety is our number one priority, while not compromising the high level of quality and service that is expected when visiting our Vintage Hotels properties.
We started with following government protocols to the letter and then further expanded with our own additional safety protocols known as our Duty of Care policy. Today you’ll find sanitization stations outside of all meeting areas, a number of single use items, deep clean protocols for all meeting spaces as well as, redesigned meeting spaces for physical distancing and a reimagined food program.
You mentioned redesigned meeting spaces, how are you able to facilitate physical distancing during meetings?
We took great care in measuring and testing the possibilities for proper distancing in each of our meeting venues during our closure. So now it all starts with our Sales Team, they provide guests with a meeting space that has enough square footage to allow each guest to sit a minimum of six feet from one another with an additional six-foot-wide walking aisle that ensures guests can easily maneuver around the meeting room while maintaining distance.
Can you speak further to how meeting room set-ups have changed?
The biggest changes are the distance in which guests are seated apart (six feet) and the size of the meeting room that events are now taking place in. For example, meeting rooms pre-Covid that would have hosted a classroom set-up of 100 people are now holding a classroom set-up for 25.
As for the set-ups themselves, we are finding that most event groups are choosing a classroom, hollow square or a U-shape set-up as they are all more conducive to physical distancing.
Some set-ups like a boardroom have become more difficult to use because distancing becomes an issue. Though as safe as we are being, we are also being creative, for instance, if a group wanted to do a breakout session we can provide plexiglass dividers that form a protective barrier for tables of four.
How has your conference food and beverage program changed?
The quality of our food and beverage offerings have certainly not changed but from a safety perspective much has. Coffee breaks are a great example, pre-Covid, most groups had self serve food and beverage stations, but this style is no longer available. Our coffee breaks now operate essentially as their own coffee shop where we have staff located behind a table and plexiglass taking guests orders.
Your more formal conference meals are offered in our Tiara Restaurant, private banquet room or in your meeting room.
We have noticed a trend that groups are choosing to dine in their meeting room. The way we are facilitating this is similar to a ‘take-out’ order from a restaurant, where we serve a to-go style meal for each guest to enjoy in the meeting room, or wherever they wish. Our Executive Chef has taken great care in designing a ‘hot item’ menu and our meeting planners pre-select the offerings during the planning process. We wanted to ensure that we continue to offer the same high quality of food and service that we are know for, but just in a different way. The guest feedback has been amazing.
Are groups still participating in Team Building activities?
When it comes to team building, groups are choosing activities that allow them to maintain physical distancing, such as golf and private tastings at the local wineries and craft breweries. There are still plenty of activities to choose from here in Niagara-on-the-Lake and all have their own embedded safety protocols.
What would you want those searching for a meeting venue to know about events at Queen’s Landing?
We know that now more than ever, businesses need to still come together and plan for the future and we can offer a stress-free experience to our guests. So much time and effort has gone into the strength of our safety measures and safety protocols, we know that guests can feel safe and confident in our procedures when visiting Queen’s Landing.
Contact our Sales Team
For more information or to book your next Niagara meeting, contact our sales team.