IACC recently launched its refreshed “Committed to Brilliance” venue excellence certification. The certification highlights IACC’s stringent criteria against which its members are measured.
When selecting a meeting location, it’s key that planners can rest assured knowing that their chosen venue provides the levels of performance and support necessary to deliver an innovative and exceptional meeting experience – key to event success.
With IACC certified meeting spaces, planners can rest easy knowing that their venue provides them with industry insight, expert advice and support throughout all stages of event management.
Let’s now explore IACC’s 8 key selection criteria:
1. Design purpose
Meeting venues must create great first impressions with both event planners and guests. To avoid the common issues often found in larger conventional style meeting venues (including increased noise levels and navigational problems), IACC primarily focuses on smaller-scale conferences (for up to 150 attendees). IACC’s clients are supported by expert teams dedicated to ensuring attention to detail, guest satisfaction and ultimately, meeting success.
The key “must haves” deemed most critical to guest satisfaction include:
- Flexible meeting room layouts
- Inspiring breakout areas
- Access to areas with exposure to natural light
- Varied and controllable lighting options
- Good acoustic levels
- High-quality (and superfast) broadband.
2. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
“Today’s work and social models have shifted, literally changing the way we live – making our time together more precious and more valuable. Attendees need to be fully immersed in order to stay focused, so guest expectations are at an all-time high. As a result, venues and planners need to orchestrate every gathering to contribute to a company’s CSR ethos.”
Sean Anderson, IACC Global President & VP, Sodexo Conferencing.
Meeting planners are increasingly ensuring that their chosen venue reflects their company’s CSR policy. Meeting agendas now often feature CSR related activities – examples include:
- Acts of charitable giving – such as donating leftover food to local food banks and giving surplus materials to schools or social enterprises.
- Local community outreach schemes – volunteering within the local community is becoming a popular option for offsite team building activities.
Planners now often consider how best to reduce their event’s carbon footprint – promoting carpooling, cycling and public transportation options wherever possible.
Sigtunahöjden’s “Restaurant Skog” only uses locally sourced ingredients to help reduce its carbon footprint.
In January 2020, IACC launched the meeting industry’s first-ever Social Responsibility standard designed to cover three key areas:
IACC is committed to sharing industry insight, expertise and embedding social responsibility into the overall meeting experience.
IACC venues strive to improve and enhance the communities where people live, work and meet.
With an abundance of natural resources at people’s fingertips, companies must act as responsible stewards of these precious resources and work to improve the environment.
“There’s a world of opportunity here, a chance to create a positive impact everywhere we meet.”
Sean Anderson, IACC Global President.
3. Committed to being sustainable
In 2020, IACC predicts that meeting planners will place increased importance on ensuring that venues integrate ethical and sustainable practices during all stages of event management.
Planners are increasingly focusing on a venue’s sustainable practices as part of their selection criteria, so it’s key that venues can demonstrate their green initiatives and commitments to helping to support the local economy.
To achieve IACC’s Green Star certification, venues must clearly demonstrate their commitment to sustainable practices.
IACC certified venues are committed to operating sustainably and have implemented environmentally friendly initiatives including:
- Plans to reduce and eliminate food waste
- Offering eco-friendly transportation options
- Providing smart temperature controls in all meeting spaces
- Offering easily accessible and plentiful recycling points.
“Many of our venues have vegetable and herb gardens, which our Chefs visit daily to source the day’s menu. We always use seasonal produce and source local produce wherever possible.”
4. Comfort and Wellbeing
With the average employee spending over 20 hours per month in meetings, ensuring guests’ comfort and wellbeing is an essential consideration for event planners.
Venues are increasingly finding that investing time and money to support guests’ wellbeing proves to be a sound strategic investment – with the power to transform people’s actions and, in turn, the overall meeting experience.
As standard, IACC ensures that all member venues offer:
- Well-designed, spacious (and uncluttered) meeting rooms
- Superior technology and superfast WiFi
- Ergonomic seating
- Optimum lighting levels
- In-room climate controls.
In residential accommodation, all venues provide:
- Controllable lighting and heating options
- Bespoke work areas with ergonomic seating
- Superfast broadband.
The inspiring Zen Deck at UCLA’s Lake Arrowhead Conference Center.
Access to nature and outside space is proven to help increase people’s emotional and physical wellbeing. Many IACC venues have access to plentiful green space and uplifting breakout areas abounding in natural light and colour.
5. Cutting Edge Technology
AT&T Hotel and Conference Center at the University of Texas provides the very latest technological solutions.
Meeting planners now demand (and expect) high-speed internet connectivity and superior technology as standard. Many planners now ask conference venues for their event’s internet history report and use the results to inform future bookings.
All IACC conference venues offer the latest technological solutions. Many provide superior integrated AV equipment and even offer innovative touch screen devices.
Industry experts predict that 2020 will see increased take-up of technology such as virtual and augmented reality systems, innovative wearable technology and even sophisticated “chatbots”.
“Wi-Fi has become the lifeblood of onsite event communications – an indispensable element for attendees, planners and speakers. The demand for increased capacity and reliability will likely continue to increase for the foreseeable future.”
Corbin Ball, Technology Expert, Corbin Ball & Co
6. Nourish for Success
Chateauform caters for all special dietary requirements.
Food can directly impact on cognition and is also directly linked to productivity and performance, so it’s understandably a key factor in the venue selection process.
- 80% of delegates cited appropriate dining as being their number one priority when selecting a venue.
- However, 79% of delegates also claim to have been unhappy with a host venue’s culinary offer in the last 12 months.*
IACC certified conference venues are committed to delivering the highest standards of event catering and to ensuring that all guests’ dietary needs are met.
To ensure that its member venues continue to deliver high quality catering, IACC supports its members with expert guidance regarding dietary requirements and industry insight on the very latest F&B trends.
Gone are the days when vegetarians or vegans often went hungry or special dietary requirements were overlooked. Murray Hall, Executive Chef at Dolce Hotels and Resorts places considerable focus on vegans and vegetarians, as he explains that ensuring that these diners have sufficient protein in their diets is essential:
“It’s the first area of healthy cooking I consider when creating a menu. While expected classic vegetarian proteins, such as spinach, broccoli and tofu are found on my menus, I enhance the offering by adding amaranth, quinoa, lentils and hemp hearts, plus seeds and nuts. This creates dishes which provide fun healthy twists and gets all diners excited to try something new.
I want the dish to tick all the boxes for special food groups and yet to still give non-vegetarians an exceptional dining experience.”
A Cauliflower “steak” (dish by Murray Hall). An example of the trend which sees vegetarian dishes mimicking meat on menus.
7. Expert teams
For 62% of meeting planners “knowledgeable or helpful staff” is the leading factor for satisfaction”, according to the 2019 Meeting Room of the Future Report. IACC venues offer their employees continued professional development to ensure they help to deliver exceptional meeting experiences for all clients.
Timing is key when addressing any meeting issues. IACC venues provide both:
- Dedicated (and qualified) meeting planners – meaning experts are always on hand to support clients.
- Qualified technology experts – contactable at all times to “speak the language” of complex technology via dedicated channels (including by telephone and radio).
8. Customer service
What makes for exemplary customer service? Alysia de Saxe, Managing Director of Saxons Training Facilities finds that creating emotional connections is key:
“When someone is really emotionally connected to their job; their colleagues and the company they work for, they create genuine connections with everyone and by default, really look after, and truly care for clients.”
Alysia de Saxe, MD, Saxons Training Facilities.
Event management is exciting, fast-paced and incredibly rewarding. However, with tight budgets and timeframes it can also prove stressful at times.
All IACC venues help make planners’ make lives easier by offering:
- Flexible pricing plans (with transparent and concise all-inclusive options).
- Support from in-house conference planners (skilled in all areas of event management from menu planning to meeting room layout).
- A dedicated support team offering everything from printing and copying services to equipment hire.
Become an IACC member.
Searching for your next ideal meeting space? Use IACC’s Venue Finder.
With many thanks to:
- Sean Anderson, IACC Global President and Vice President, Sodexo Conferencing.
- Delphine Boisard, Sales & Marketing Director at Châteauform’.
- Corbin Ball, Corbin Ball & Co.
- Alysia de Saxe, Managing Director, Saxons Training Facilities.
- Murray Hall, Executive Chef, Dolce Hotels and Resorts.
*2019 Meeting Room of the Future Report