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Westlake resident plans “micro” events for hotel customers during the pandemic

WESTLAKE, Ohio – Everyone has had to make adjustments in their lives during the pandemic. Some of the adjustments have been big such as unemployment. Other adjustments have been smaller such as getting used to wearing a mask.

But then other adjustments can now be termed “micro” and a Westlake resident seems to have become the queen of making those adjustments work for many people.

Nicole Bakker calls her efforts “micro event experiences.” Don’t call her an event planner.

She works for both the Kimpton Schofield Hotel at the corner of East Ninth Street and Euclid Avenue in downtown Cleveland as well as their restaurant, Betts, that is open on the ground floor of the hotel.

“I work for both the restaurant and the hotel. I am the only employee working for both, not just catering, but involving all departments and employees–and their guests,” she said.

Bakker noted she has an extensive background in hospitality.

“I have been in hospitality pretty much my whole life. I have worked from the kitchen to the front of the house to event planning, to marketing to social media to weddings to corporate and even to in-home—doing personal or corporate events in backyards for anywhere from five to 3500 people.

Her mission is clear and certainly takes a lot of planning and creativity but she said people are beginning to come back now to celebrate the times of their lives.

“I have some interaction with every person coming through the door and they are all celebrating something,” she said. “Now the people are re-scheduling and they just want to celebrate and make it happen. The picture from earlier in the year is gone. Everyone who walks into the hotel is really excited to be here. It’s gotten a lot more lively and people are more thankful to be celebrating.”

What, specifically, is important to them now?

“Quality,” she said. “That makes all the difference now. Due to the pandemic, people know what they want.”

But there has been one big change and that’s what Bakker does best.

“All things are much more intimate now, smaller, more personal, with groups up to only about 50 people,” she said.

Are they disappointed to not have more?

“No, they were disappointed in March but now they are grateful they can get out and celebrate. They have more appreciation for more intimate events and the purpose of the event. I hear it all the time. ‘It’s only going to be our closest friends and family,’ and they are happy about it. They are grateful to just be out.”

Bakker said it is not 60 people for brunch now, but only 10, “With people they really want to celebrate with.” This is the definition of micro events.

It doesn’t seem those planning an event in this unusual time could go wrong at the Kimpton Schofield/Betts Restaurant. Experience, understanding and enthusiasm are their outstanding calling card.

For more information on the hotel and/or the restaurant visit https://www.theschofieldhotel.com/ or call (216) 357-3250.

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