Back to IACC Quality Standards
To sharpen the points of differentiation between IACC conference centres and other types of hospitality operations, the Board of Directors encourages IACC members to meet an even higher level of standards than that required by IACC Quality Standards.
Therefore, the Board endorses a series of Recommended Guidelines in areas ranging across the spectrum of the Quality Standards. IACC does not require properties to achieve these guidelines in order to be considered for membership, but we strongly encourage members to integrate them into their long-term planning.
If you have any questions about the guidelines below or the Recommended Guidelines initiative, contact the IACC Office (by e-mail) or by telephone (314) 993-8575.
To supplement the basic requirements of the Quality Standards, IACC has published a document called Design for Great Technology. It defines three levels of achievement for the inclusion of AV and other technologies at conference centres.
- As technology changes, IACC recommends that all member conference centres regularly update available equipment and the technology items offered in the Complete Meeting Package to include routinely requested AV devices and other common technologies.
Beyond Dedicated Conference Space
According to the Quality Standards (#1), the meeting space in every IACC-member conference centre must include at least 60% dedicated, single-purpose conference space. Beyond that stipulation, however, IACC members know that overall satisfaction with the conference centre experience depends on the ratio between customer expectations and costs.
IACC has developed a Sales Toolkit to assist conference centre salespeople and designated conference planners with educating customers about the IACC Meeting Concept and manage their expectations. IACC recommends that all conference centre sales and conference planning personnel familiarize themselves with the Sales Toolkit and employ its resources in their everyday work.
Maintenance of Meeting Rooms and Their Features
According to the Quality Standards (#2), at least 60% of all business at an IACC-member conference centre must come from conferences. In that light, the quality and condition of a facility’s meeting rooms must take priority and should receive ongoing attention.
IACC recommends that conference centres develop and implement a detailed plan for regular inspection of meeting room conditions. This plan should define all items to be inspected, establish intervals and responsibility for inspections and their recurrence, make provision for logging inspections, and include protocols for remedying conditions that need attention.
Extent of Packaging
According to the Quality Standards (#3), every IACC-member conference centre must offer and promote a package plan that includes conference rooms, guest rooms, three meals, continuous refreshment service, conference services and conference technology. Non-residential package includes conference rooms, lunch, continuous refreshment service, conference services and conference technology.
IACC recommends that members package all conference business.
Service Expectations for Meeting Room Setups
According to the Quality Standards (#5), every IACC-member conference centre must have at least one dedicated main meeting room that can accommodate flexible seating arrangements.
As part of a group’s Events Specifications Guide [sometimes known as “Banquet Event Order” (BEO), “Group Summary” or “Conference Resumé”], IACC recommends that conference centres provide to-scale diagrams of any conference setups required by the group in at least its main meeting room.
According to the Quality Standards (#6), conferees that have multi-day meetings must be able to safely store materials and equipment overnight in dedicated conference rooms.
IACC recommends that all meeting rooms have electronically auditable door locks which can be specifically programmed to a conference group’s access requirements and which will record and track times and key numbers for every use of a key in the door.
According to the Quality Standards (#7), every IACC-member conference centre must have sufficient inventory so that at least 60% of all meeting space within the conference centre can be set up using ergonomically designed chairs that swivel and tilt and that meet certain other standards as outlined in the criterion.
IACC recommends that members include all of the following when purchasing new conference chairs:
- The reclining action of the chair does not lift users’ feet off the floor.
- Chair provides adjustable lumbar support that covers the range between 6-10 inches above the seat pan.
- Backrest height is ideally 17 inches (but no less than 12 ½ inches).
- Backrest width is at least 14 inches.
- The height of armrests is between 8 and 10 inches, or adjustable within this range.
- Distance between armrests is at least 18 inches.
- Seat pan angle is within the range of 0 degrees horizontal to 4 degrees rearward.
Use of Modesty Panels
According to the Quality Standards (#8), every IACC-member conference centre must have sufficient inventory of tables that meet specifications listed in the standards.
IACC recommends that members provide modesty panels where appropriate in every conference room set up.
According to the Quality Standards (#9-12), all meeting rooms that have windows must have curtains that substantially eliminate light from outside the room. Also, all conference rooms must have controllable lighting, and all dedicated conference rooms larger than 93 square metres (1,000 square feet) must have zoned lighting and controls that permit dimming across the spectrum from full-power to off. In addition all meeting rooms larger than 160 square metres (1,750 square feet) must have targetable fixtures that can be controlled separately from other zones and/or task lighting.
- IACC recommends that all meeting rooms where there are windows include curtains to eliminate 100% of the light from outside the room.
- IACC recommends that every conference room have a hands-on apparatus within the room that gives conferees some control over the level of lighting in that room (as opposed to, or in addition to, the ability of the staff to control the lighting from a remote location).
- IACC recommends that, in every meeting room larger than 55 square metres (600 square feet), member conference centres provide zone-controlled lighting that isolates and darkens the area where any image-display screen is installed.
According to the Quality Standards (#15), the acoustical rating for sound transmission between dedicated conference rooms and all adjacent areas meets or exceeds 50-60 NIC (Noise Isolation Class) for all fixed walls and 45-50 NIC for all operable walls.
IACC recommends that all walls—fixed or operable—achieve a minimum NIC rating of 51, regardless of the particular room’s primary functionality as dedicated or multi-use.
According to the Quality Standards (#17), all meeting rooms larger than 93 square metres (1,000 square feet) must have built-in voice reinforcement sound systems, including microphone input(s) and system control unit(s).
- Because ceiling speaker sound systems provide much greater aural intelligibility of human voices than wall-mounted speakers, IACC recommends that speakers for voice reinforcement be arrayed across the ceiling.
- IACC recommends that member conference centres install such sound systems in smaller rooms, especially high-tech, high-finish board and video-teleconferencing rooms, as well as all dedicated conference rooms larger than 45 square metres (500 square feet).
- In any meeting room where the conference centre has built-in image-display screens, IACC recommends the installation of point-source speakers alongside the screen or in another appropriate location near the screen.
According to the Quality Standards (#19), all meeting rooms must have High-Speed Internet Access (HSIA) services available. In addition, the Quality Standards (#28) require dedicated meeting rooms larger than 93 square metres (1,000 square feet) to include a built-in remote-input computer/video-image display system.
- To support these requirements, IACC recommends that cabling for communications/data lines consist of category-6 (CAT6) copper wiring and may also include multi-mode optical fiber.
- For AV cabling, IACC recommends at least two runs each of low-skew category-5E (CAT5E) twisted copper, multi-mode fiber-optic, plus other high-grade analog audio and digital-grade video circuits.
Access to Power and Communication Lines
According to the Quality Standards (#18), all dedicated conference rooms must have at least one in-room telephone outlet, simultaneous Internet connectivity and multiple power outlets located throughout the room. Also, all meeting rooms larger than 55 square metres (600 square feet) must have a minimum of two communications access plates for the connection of both telephone and high-speed Internet devices.
- IACC recommends that all meeting rooms larger than 45 square metres (500 square feet) have power outlets on or near all four walls.
- In meeting rooms larger than 93 square metres (1,000 square feet), IACC recommends multiple power outlets on any single wall longer than 10 metres (30 feet) and additional communications access plates whenever the distance between them—as measured along the periphery of walls in the room—exceeds 15 metres (45 feet).
- IACC recommends that facilities accomplish convenient placement of outlets and communications access plates by locating them in floor boxes—at least one for every 45 square metres (500 square feet) of area in the room.
- IACC recommends that facilities install at least one set of power outlets and communications connections in the floor of each section of any room with operable walls, whether or not it exceeds 45 square metres (500 square feet).
- Naturally, in any state, municipality or other governance where ordinance dictates greater numbers of power outlets and/or communications access plates per room or shorter distances between them within a room, the IACC-member conference centre would be required by law to observe the more restrictive local ordinance.
According to the Quality Standards (#19), member conference centres must provide High-Speed Internet Access (HSIA) services within all meeting rooms and (#31) in guest rooms, when available on site.
- Because many governmental and corporate entities prohibit the use of wireless technologies for their employees, IACC recommends that member conference centres provide both wired and wireless HSIA connectivity in all meeting rooms.
- In addition, IACC recommends that members provide wireless HSIA as part of the CMP or DMP in guest rooms, the Business Centre and other public areas such as lobbies, hallways, dining spaces and pre-function areas.
According to the Quality Standards (#23), every IACC-member conference centre must offer staffed business services from a central location within the conference centre and provide products and services as specified in the standards.
- For staffing, IACC recommends an on-duty attendant during operating hours, but other solutions may suffice based on conferee needs.
- Based on conferee needs, IACC recommends that business services operate from one-half hour prior to the first meeting of the day until one-half hour after the final meeting adjourns.
- During times when the Business Centre is closed, IACC recommends that guests be directed to other conference centre staff for their business services needs.
IACC also encourages member conference centres to provide the following optional products and services through the Business Centre:
- Binding supplies and services
- Color transparencies
- Flip chart enlargement/reduction
- Laser pointer
- Foam core board and lamination services
- Signage production and other graphic arts services
Service Expectations for Designated Conference Planners
According to the Quality Standards (#22), IACC-member conference centres must assign at least one conference planner as the designated on-site contact for each conference group.
- IACC recommends that the assignment and initial contact between planner and customer occur early in the interactions between conference sales, conference planning and the customer, preferably within ten days of signing contact.
- IACC recommends that the assigned planner or her/his designee approach each conference group at the beginning of their meeting to identify room and facility features that conferees will use while on-site.
- IACC recommends that the assigned planner or her/his designee identify the group’s on-site facilitator and interact face-to-face with that person regularly (at least once per day during breaks or at the end of each day) about the program’s progress and satisfaction levels concerning room(s) and facility features.
- IACC recommends that the conference centre provide some means of relatively immediate contact between the assigned planner (or her/his designee) and the on-site facilitator of each conference group.
- IACC recommends that the assigned planner or her/his designee follow-up with the customer and/or the on-site facilitator within ten days after the meeting in order to confirm the group’s assessment of the meeting’s outcomes and level of satisfaction with conference facilities.
Certification of Planner Proficiencies
According to the Quality Standards (#21), conference centre staff must include skilled conference planners who are thoroughly proficient in providing effective meeting room setups, menu and special event planning, conference technology (A/V) equipment and services and other special needs of the client.
IACC recommends that conference centres employ conference planners who have achieved meetings-focused credentials such as the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) or its equivalent.
Certification of Technical Proficiencies
According to the Quality Standards (#30), the conference centre must employ or otherwise make available skilled on-site technicians who are proficient is providing creative program consultation; equipment setup; operation and instruction; and immediate response to service needs.
- IACC recommends that conference technicians have achieved at least the general credential of Certified Technology Specialist (CTS) or its equivalent.
- In addition, IACC recommends that conference technicians pursue individual educational development within the AV industry and continuously strive to stay abreast of rapidly evolving developments in equipment and best practices.
- Further, IACC recommends that conference centres provide educational funds and time for technicians to pursue the development of such improved skills and knowledge.
Service Expectations for Conference Technology Staff
According to the Quality Standards (#30), IACC-member conference centres must provide skilled and proficient technicians to implement interface between users and technical equipment on-site.
- IACC recommends that conference technician training and on-site infrastructure support all current popular digital interfaces to projection equipment and in-house AV systems.
- Whenever technological limitations are unavoidable, IACC recommends that tech staff work with conference planning to inform customers of restrictions in each group’s Events Specifications Guide [sometimes known as “Banquet Event Order” (BEO), “Group Summary” or “Conference Resumé”] and to suggest conveniently available options to overcome such restrictions.
- IACC recommends that tech staff work with conference planning and services to develop straightforward setup and operating instructions for all technical equipment on site. These instructions should cover Internet connectivity, sound systems and projection equipment, at a minimum. If lighting, climate control, room-darkening, ergonomic chair adjustment or other technical features are not thoroughly self-explanatory, the property should create instructions for these “technologies” as well. Further, IACC recommends that conference centres provide these instructions with trouble-shooting contact information to all group facilitators and presenters at the beginning of any meeting.
According to the Quality Standards (#27), the Package Plan (CMP or DMP) must include flip charts, microphones, and computer/video-image display equipment. The Quality Standards (#28-29) further require that certain types of rooms as well as all dedicated conference rooms larger than 93 square metres (1,000 square feet) must have at least one built-in remote-input computer/video-image display system with retractable display/projection screen installed either in the ceiling or mounted on the wall.
- IACC recommends that smaller rooms between 45 and 95 square metres (500-1,000 square feet) have at least one built-in front projector with a minimum output of 2,000 lumens and/or flat-panel LCD display system.
- If the room is a high-tech, high-finish board or video-teleconferencing room, IACC recommends that the member conference centre install rear projection and/or high-definition equipment in place of or in addition to the front projection image-display system.
- For dedicated conference rooms (without moveable walls) between 93 and 135 square metres (1,000-1,500 square feet), IACC recommends at least one ceiling-mounted, built-in front projector with a minimum output of 3,000 lumens, high-definition equipment, and/or flat-panel LCD display system.
- For auditoriums or dedicated meeting rooms larger than 135 square metres (1,500 square feet), IACC recommends at least one built-in front projector with a minimum output of 4,000 lumens and retractable mounting platform, and/or rear-projection or high-definition equipment.
- IACC recommends that all member conference centres have sufficient computer and video image-display equipment with a variety of luminosity ratings available (by lease or other contract, if appropriate) to readily supply devices and systems where needed by guests or other users of the meeting facility.
- IACC recommends that the conference centre always include computer and video image-display equipment suitable for at least the main meeting room as part of the group’s CMP or DMP.
Service Expectations for Refreshment of Meeting Rooms
According to the Quality Standards (#26), IACC-member conference centres must provide continuous refreshment service outside of meeting rooms.
This stipulation does not, however, eliminate the need for periodic refreshment of the conditions inside meeting rooms. To that end,
- IACC recommends that conference facilities refresh meeting rooms at a minimum of once a day (during the group’s lunch break) unless instructed otherwise by the client. Naturally, rooms in use by the same group for more than one day must also be refreshed and to some extent reset overnight for the following day.
- IACC recommends that the designated conference planner or her/his designee attend to any pre-planned needs for more frequent refreshment of meeting rooms by delegating the task to the appropriate person(s) on conference services staff.
- IACC recommends that the conference concierge, someone on break service staff, or another conference centre floor staff person be assigned to back-up conference services whenever meeting rooms must be refreshed immediately or because of an emergency.
Guest Rooms at Ancillary Facilities
According to the Quality Standards (#31), guest rooms must have work areas that include a desk or table with hard writing surface and a comfortable chair; desk or table lighting that is controllable separately from overhead lighting and gives adequate illumination for reading and writing; a phone line and simultaneous high-speed Internet connectivity; and adequate, easily accessible power outlets. In addition, the Quality Standards (#32) stipulate that guest rooms must be separate from conference and leisure areas to allow maximum privacy and comfort.
IACC recommends that all guest rooms on site at any complex which includes an ancillary conference centre be fully compliant with the Quality Standards.
IACC recommends that every member conference centre have a written Emergency Procedures Plan.
IACC’s Environmental Policy Statement “encourages members to adopt environmentally responsible practices in their business operations.” In 2009, IACC approved a Code of Sustainability that lists relevant practices for conference centres.
IACC recommends that all members achieve at least 75% of applicable tenets in the Code (the Silver Tier).
Compliance with New Standards
IACC’s role is to constantly monitor the quality of all member conference centres. Through this process, IACC continually reviews and strengthens the Quality Standards to ensure an optimal conference experience at all member properties.
IACC recommends that members carefully review all changes to the Quality Standards and work aggressively toward compliance.