What Meeting Planners Expect of Venues of the Future. Earlier this year, IACC (formerly the International Association of Conference Centres, now officially referred to by its acronym alone) surveyed meeting planners and interviewed other meeting professionals to create a report on the “IACC Meeting Room of the Future.” What emerged is a picture of flexible spaces intertwined with meeting goals and design, rather than an image of fixed rooms into which meeting sessions are poured.

Some results are not news: “Broadband and technology in general have moved from being nice-to-have features to being foundational resources that are more important and expected than food and drink,” the report states.

Digging deeper, it’s interesting to note what planners say high-speed Internet access is most important for: Number one is allowing delegates to continue with their outside lives while on site. Here’s the whole list:

1. Delegate e-mail and Internet access (83 percent)

2. Smartphone audience participation (77 percent)

3. Conference app use (70 percent)

4. Video streaming for presenter (67 percent)

5. Live event streaming (56 percent)

6. Virtual attendees (50 percent)

7. Online learning (42 percent)

8. Video streaming for delegates (41 percent)

9. Beacon/GPS tracking of delegates (20 percent)

Immersive and Engaging

Planners responded that their focus today is on “creating experiences” (75 percent), that they are looking for “collaborative” meeting spaces (80 percent), that they need to be able to change layouts in meeting rooms (82 percent), and that access to interactive technology will grow in importance over the next two to five years (77 percent). They also strongly agree with the statement “I am looking for different meeting space elements today than I was two to five years ago.”

These results point to meetings that mix it up—that are more interactive and immersive than in the past. Some technologies haven’t taken hold yet, but may be on the brink, such as virtual reality. Though few respondents (six percent) have used virtual reality in a meeting setting, a majority (six out of 10) believe that it “will play a more significant role at their events in the next two to five years.”

Virtual reality is “only just emerging as an affordable addition to meetings,” says Corbin Ball of Corbin Ball Associates, one of the meeting experts who offered his insights for the report. “However, it is worth looking again 12 months down the line, to see if this starts to become more commonplace.”

Below is IACC’s new infographic, which reveals a few stats that were not included in the full report.
IACC is an association of small to medium-sized venues focused on meetings, training courses, and conferences, all of which conform to a comprehensive global set of criteria and standards. IACC currently has 400 members in 21 countries in the Americas, Europe, and Australia, searchable at the IACC website.

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