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International Association of Conference Centers Conducts Customer Roundtables
to Gather Feedback, Quantifiable Data, and Usable Market Intelligence
to Share with Member Properties


(St. Louis, MO)  --  March 2011 – For the second consecutive year, the International Association of Conference Centers has conducted a series of customer roundtables designed to gather direct feedback from customers and potential customers of IACC conference centers.  According to Peter Stockmann, President, IACC Americas (and CEO, 3P Business Solutions), “with this second series of roundtables, we sought to compare the results with what we heard from customers last year and keep our priorities in check.”  The primary purpose of the project was to strengthen and expand the conference center concept which continues to differentiate IACC members from traditional hotels and meeting venues.  Stockmann continued, “The focus was on what was important to IACC customers for an exceptional meeting environment.”

The market research program took place over two months at 14 IACC-member properties across the United States.  The information gathered at the roundtables continues to provide IACC with important data that will allow the association to make sure the Universal Criteria continue to evolve and clearly define the ideal conference center environment.

According to Leslie Vanderzwet (General Manager of Conferences at The Banff Centre) and Eric Whitson (Director of Sales & Marketing, The National Conference Center), Chairs of the IACC Marketing Committee, the key objectives of the roundtables were to:
  • Strengthen and expand awareness of the conference center concept
  • Get direct feedback from customers to ensure that the IACC Universal Criteria are current, relevant and on target.
  • Generate usable market intelligence to share with member properties
  • Generate quantifiable data that point to market trends.
A total of 135 customers participated in the roundtables.  Customer participants were provided a deck of 57 cards, each of which had one component of an “ideal meeting,” in eight general areas: Business Services; F&B; Financial; Guest Room; Meeting Room; Meeting Amenities; Technology; and Other.  Groups evaluated and ranked all 57 components in terms of their importance to the ideal meeting.  The facilitator then displayed a spreadsheet with the collective ranking of all components which fueled a discussion of priorities and what are the essential elements of the ideal meeting environment.

In the 2011 roundtables as well as last year’s, the highest ranking item was the ability to customize a menu to accommodate any special dietary requirements.

Results of the roundtables revealed what customers thought were the most important items in the Complete Meeting Package.

Highest ranked items in 2011:
9.9
Food & Beverage Customize menu to accommodate dietary requirements
9.8
Technology At least one (1) LCD projector
9.7
Meeting Room
Acoustically rated walls that guarantee no sound distractions
9.7
Guest Room Wireless high-speed Internet access in guest rooms
9.7
Financial
Set-up fees included in the package
9.6
Financial
Meeting room rental expenses
9.6
Technology Flipcharts with easels, pads and markers
9.6
Meeting Room Unobstructed view in meeting rooms – no pillars
9.6
Financia An easy-to-read, one-page invoice
9.6
Technology Skilled on-site AV/IT technicians to handle every need
 
Highest ranked items in 2010:
9.8
Food & Beverage Customize menu to accommodate dietary requirements
9.7
Meeting Room Unobstructed views in meeting rooms – no pillars
9.7
Technology At least one complimentary high-speed Internet connection
9.6
Technology
Skilled on-site AV/IT technicians
9.6
Guestroom Wireless high-speed Internet access
9.6
Meeting Room
Acoustically rated walls to eliminate sound distraction
9.5
Technology
At least one LCD projector
9.5
Business Services A single point of contact/one-stop-shop Conference Manager
9.5
Financial 
East-to-read, one-page invoice
9.3
Meeting Room Individually controlled meeting room climate control

According to Eric Whitson, Director of Sales & Marketing at The National Conference Center, “this is important information that we will continue to study and we will build upon it as a baseline for subsequent customer roundtables.  This allows IACC to keep a pulse on trends and shifting priorities among our customers and help ensure that IACC members stay ahead of the curve as it relates to anticipating and exceeding the needs of the conference market.”

Participating IACC properties:
Desert Willow (Phoenix, AZ)
NIU Hoffman Estates (Hoffman Estates, IL)
Skamania Lodge (Stevenson, WA)
EMC Hilton Rockville (Rockville, MD)
Hilton DFW Lakes (Grapevine, TX)
Lansdowne (Lansdowne, VA)
Millennium Centre (Johnson City, TN)
Phoenix Executive Conference Center (Phoenix, AZ)
Q Center (St. Charles, IL)
Rizzo Conference Center (Chapel Hill, NC)
Wylie Center (Beverly, MA)
Sheraton Framingham (Framingham, MA)
Waltham Woods (Waltham, MA)
EMC Hilton Stamford (Stamford, CT)

Founded in 1981, the International Association of Conference Centres is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting understanding and awareness of the conference center industry and to giving member properties the tools necessary to provide an exceptional meeting experience. Active members meet a set of stringent Universal Criteria and agree to a Code of Ethics. Currently, the association includes approximately 400 members from the United States, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, France, England, The Netherlands, Germany and Japan. For more information, visit the website at www.iacconline.org.  IACC = exceptional meeting experiences.
.
Contact: 

James M. Mahon
Global Director of Marketing
  & Public Relations
914 548 5835
JMMahon@aol.com


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Also See: International Association of Conference Centers Establishes European Chapter and Creates Representative Board of Directors; the Chapter Adds Four New Member Properties / March 2011

International Association of Conference Centers Names David Haas as New GenX/Y Board Associate / Dec 2010

IACC of the Americas Elects New Officers of the Board of Directors;Pete Stockmann Unanimously Elected President / October 2010

The International Association of Conference Centers of North America Elects New Officers; Tom Cappucci Serves as President / October 2008

Mark DePiero, Sean Anderson, Tom Cole and Melissa Fromento Elected to the IACC Board of Directors / December 2007
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