IACC, the former International Association of Conference Centers, has had a big year already in 2016. On the 19th of April, they unveiled a new logo and complete re-branding after identifying what the association needed to be in order to stay relevant and represent their 378 global members.
Just a day later, on April 20th, IACC released their first published research under the new brand.
Mark Cooper, IACC CEO, comments, “While the overall objectives and goals of meetings have generally remained constant, there are clear indicators that the adoption and use of technology, the physical design of meeting space, and the emphasis on experience creation will be increasingly important. Compounding the pressure on meeting planners to adopt and incorporate these tangible meeting elements is the increased requirement to demonstrate the value of meetings to their leadership, peers, or clients while simultaneously operating in an environment of shrinking budgets. It is critical for meeting venues to respond accordingly and provide those elements that are increasingly sought after and important to the overall meeting objectives.”
Here is what IACC found:
Meetings Now and in the Future
Meeting planners are cognizant of the impact of meeting venues on delegates’ productivity, creativity, and ability to respond to new ideas and thinking. As meeting planners look to the future, it’s clear that their decision making process is largely based on their observations on changes within the industry over the past several years.
75% of responding meeting planners report that their current role involves more “experience creation” versus two to five years ago.
Over 77% of respondents report that access to interactive technologies, such as tools to encourage audience participation, collaborative communication platforms, and others, are more important now versus the last several years.
47% report the importance of flexible meeting space now versus in the past.
Using these indicators as a road map for future trends, meeting planners predict an increased emphasis on, and need for, select venue elements.
Currently, the flexibility of meeting space is the most important venue element when evaluating meeting space, followed by access to interactive technology as well as networking spaces adjacent to the meeting/event space. Access to interactive technology, however, is projected to surpass flexible space in the upcoming years.
Physical Meeting Spaces and Design
The report states that fundamentally, there are elements of meeting venues that are critical for successful meetings and these have largely remained constant over the past several years and are projected to remain important in the years to come, including high-quality broadband, strong acoustics, and good lighting.
However, meeting planners do cite a continued trend towards more unique and flexible meeting spaces. When asked how strongly they agree with the statement, “Access to collaborative meeting space will become more important in the next two to five years” (on a scale of 1 - strongly disagree to 10 - strongly agree), meeting planners provided an average rating of “8” indicating the need for more creative, less traditional options.
Communications & Connections
While meeting planners have numerous wish list items for their ideal meeting venue, there is no mistaking the critical importance and dominance of technology when selecting a venue. Responding meeting planners report that an increasing percentage of budgets are devoted to securing and implementing new technologies, such as event apps, beacon technology to track traffic and attendance, and video conferencing capabilities, the reliance on technology is only expected to increase in the next several years.
Now and well into the future, meeting planners will expect venues to have enough bandwidth to accommodate all of their and their delegates technological needs.
The program’s ambitious long-term goal is to predict and showcase a clear vision of what is new for today and what solutions need to be sought for tomorrow’s meeting rooms, to deliver what clients want and need for maximum productivity. Collaboration, productivity, and inspiration will be at the heart of the 2016 concept, with the plan to build on this annually.
Ellen Sinclair, Global Project Group Chair, highlights, “IACC, in pursuing its mission to provide support meetings’ excellence, is engaging industry visionaries to provide insight on reimagining meeting spaces and resources to support memorable meeting experiences in the rapidly transforming landscape, that values collaboration and dialogue as well as more formal content. This initiative will keep us forward facing, ready to deliver the productive meetings in the future.”
A full copy of the report can be downloaded from the IACC website: http://bit.ly/22U4GoP