Radisson Blu Hotel Manchester, Airport - Hotel exterior and parking lot

Case study

Sports Approved: proudly hosting the Para Powerlifting World Cup 2021 in Manchester
Responsible Business - Community Health & Safety

Clean and safe environment

The first event of its kind to be held in the UK since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the hotel not only had to provide the state-of-the-art facilities, restful environment, and exceptional service that the Paralympian hopefuls required to keep them fit and focused on the competition, but also had to meet strict health and safety protocols. 

Thanks to our own comprehensive Radisson Hotels Safety Protocols, we were able to work closely with British Weight Lifting, Manchester City Council, and Public Health England to ensure a comfortable, clean and safe environment was provided for the athletes.

Flexible approach

The hotel was initially briefed in summer 2020 but due to ongoing uncertainty caused by the pandemic, flexibility around final numbers and postponement was key. It was only confirmed that the event was going ahead a few weeks before, and during the run up, the hotel team stayed in close contact with the World Para Powerlifting event team to manage and accommodate any last-minute changes. 

The event had two key hotel contacts throughout the stay, Martynas Rutkasuskas, Operations Manager and Rachel Camorani, Event Manager, and due to Covid restrictions, we split the contact to ensure one was available at all times for the client. 

Covid restrictions in England at the time the event took place meant that the hotel was only open to key workers and not the general public which reduced the chances of interaction, but to ensure the utmost safety of the athletes, non-event guests were kept on separate floors.

Radisson Blu Hotel Manchester, Airport - Family Room

Accessibility requirements

The event required 227 rooms, and as requested, we made sure teams were grouped together in blocks. As many of the teams included wheelchair users, rooms were allocated around accessible bedrooms with one accessible room per team. We also worked closely with the event team to ensure any special requirements or additional needs of the individual athletes were met. 

All rooms were pre-registered and welcome envelopes complete with pre-keyed access were created for a seamless and easy arrival, with one-way systems and clear signage used to safely manage the flow of guests through public spaces such as the lobby. 

Athletes were required to take a Covid test on arrival and isolate in their rooms for the first 24 hours, so we set up a Covid-testing area for the event team. Hotel meeting rooms were transformed into spaces for training, pre-event weigh-ins, and briefings and the event team requested additional space to accommodate two medic rooms this time round to ensure the welfare of athletes.

Exceptional hospitality

A key element to ensuring the athletes’ health and wellbeing during such a high-profile competition is catering. As one of Radisson Hotel Group’s Sports Approved certified hotels and host to the event in 2020, Radisson Blu Hotel Manchester Airport has experience in delivering nutritious menus that meet athletes’ specific dietary restrictions and help them reach peak performance. 

But due to Covid restrictions, this proved more of a challenge compared to the previous year. While athletes were isolating for 24 hours after arrival, they were able to choose food options from a menu that was delivered to their rooms. After that, athletes were allowed to come and choose food, which was all pre-packaged, and take it back to their rooms to eat.

Radisson Blu Hotel Manchester, Airport - Business Class Lounge

Rachel Camorani, Event Manager, said: “Food needed to be healthy and heavy in protein and we tried to be as creative as possible to make sure it not only tasted good but was also presented well, despite it having to be pre-packaged. It was important to us that event guests experienced the exceptional hospitality that Radisson Hotels are known for, within the restrictions.

“Despite not being able to welcome or serve guests in the traditional manner, our staff went over and above to ensure that every single interaction was engaging and that they were a friendly face to see and talk to, especially since guests were spending so much time in their rooms.”

Fantastic feedback

Despite the challenging circumstances, the event was a huge success. Matt Marshall, Head of Events at British Weight Lifting said: “Feedback from all quarters has been excellent and the immense effort everyone put into this event, beforehand and during, meant that 125 athletes from 20+ nations were able to compete in Manchester in pursuit of their Paralympic dreams. It was great to work with such a high-quality team.” 

The athletes themselves were also full of praise: “It’s been a fantastic event again. Really enjoyed it last year. Really enjoyed it this year. I was apprehensive with all the Covid restrictions, but it has been really well managed,” said Louise Sugden, GB athlete. 

Suzanne Speak, City General Manager, Radisson Blu Manchester Airport added: “It was so pleasing to witness the success of this event not only for our staff but also for the athletes. Operating in a Covid world is challenging, through the combined efforts of the team at Radisson Blu, the expertise of the events team from British Weight Lifting and governing bodies, no stone was left unturned ensuring this was a safe and enjoyable event for all involved.”