Impact Publications : MICEBTN-71
MICEBTN - August-September • Page 7 Every meetings element is up for debate... Meeting Room of the Future journey continues with more survey insights IACC www.iaccmeetings.com is moving ahead with its Meeting Room of the Future concept. It has targeted meeting planners and ‘buy- ers’ of meeting venues with a new survey whose findings will be added to the growing – and increasingly authoritative – database. The report’s editors note: “Invest- ing time and money in the design of the space to support the well- being of (meetings) participants... can turn a cost into a strategic investment that has the power to transform behaviours, cultures and companies.” IACC, which positions itself as ‘the only global association to repre- sent smaller meetings and confer- ence-focused venues’, is looking at what is available today, what is in planning or actively sought, and what ‘could be’. The project is in partnership with IACC member Microsoft – which already is working on future IT for meeting venues – and a number of other companies and industry clients. Asked what meeting venue ele- ments would be more important in the next three-to-five years, venue operators judged high-quality inter- net infrastructure as a likely leader at 71 per cent, followed by flexibility of meeting space (60 per cent), ac- cess to interactive technology (53 per cent), multiple options for food and beverage styles and spaces (53 per cent), enhanced public spaces to accommodate increased social/ networking (40 per cent) and avail- ability of team building activities (seven per cent). A greater number of meeting plan- ners indicated their role involved more ‘experience creation’ and that experience creation would become more important over the next five years. Planners pointed to the de- mands of incoming generations as the primary driver of this trend. Commented the report: ‘As power continues to shift to participants, venue operators (may) rely more on meeting planners to provide the experience creation element. This year, the percentage of op- erators indicating their role does NOT involve experience creation increased from four to seven per cent.’ ‘Yes’ was up one per cent to 57 per cent while ‘sometimes’ dropped five points to 36 per cent. Mark Cooper, IACC’s chief exec- utive was quoted as saying: “With the importance of creating mem- ories through experiences and inspiring delegates gaining more traction, we encourage venue teams to put in place a range of ex- periences that are unique and help meeting planners touch as many of the five senses - sight, sound, touch, taste and smell - as possible.” Elements offered by some op- erators to assist with experience creation were headed by creative meeting rooms, themed food and beverage, outdoor meeting rooms and spaces, ice-breakers, team building, team-based sporting activities and facilities, and destina- tion-based activities such as wine tours or visiting cultural spaces. Among other takings from the 2018 report: 40 per cent of meeting planners feel networking spaces outside the meeting room are important versus only 29 per cent of venue operators; 40 per cent of venue operators report that team building assists with experience creation at meetings; the number of venues with flexible meeting room furniture and equipment in 100 per cent of rooms increased from 28-37 per cent; and 72 per cent of venues report demands for meeting room spaces and design have changed over the past three-to-five years. When asked what barriers there were, if any, to providing flexible meeting spaces they answered: Cost of investment (59.7 per cent), product storage issues (47.4 per cent), no barriers (18.2 per cent), other (18.2 per cent) and product innovation 13 per cent). According to operators, the top three technology-related items cited for more investment this year based on feedback from clients were collaborative technology, AV equipment and bandwidth. Also, some 78 per cent of oper- ators in 2018 (up from 61 per cent last year) purchase their technology outright compared to 14 per cent that acquire via a lease or rental agreement. And the top collaborative tech- nologies provided by operators and suppliers include smartphone audi- ence participation and screen-shar- ing software. The report editors said “it should be noted that this survey does not look at the different types of meetings or different objectives for similar meetings. As meetings become more effective, more outcome-focused, more tuned in to RoI, it will be necessary to make this distinction.” The full report findings can be downloaded at no charge from the IACC web site in PDF format.