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IACC Surveys 105 Meeting Planner to Determine the 10 Most
Important Items in a Complete Meeting Package

(St. Louis, MO --  August 2010 ) – The International Association of Conference Centers conducted a series of customer roundtables designed to gather direct feedback from customers and potential customers of IACC conference centers.  According to Tom Cappucci, President, IACC Americas, “The primary purpose of the project was to expand and strengthen the conference center concept which continues to differentiate IACC members from traditional hotels and meeting venues.  The focus was on what was important to IACC customers in providing an exceptional meeting environment.”
The market research program took place earlier in the year throughout the US and Canada.  The customer roundtables took place at nine IACC-member properties in the US and Canada.   The valuable information gathered at the roundtables provided IACC with important data that will allow us to continue to make sure our Universal Criteria continue to evolve and serve our members in their effort to provide an exceptional meeting experience.
According to Leslie Vanderzwet (General Manager of Conferences at The Banff Centre) and Eric Whiston (Director of Sales & Marketing, The National Conference Center), Chairs of the IACC Marketing Committee, the key objectives of the roundtables were to:
  • Expand / strengthen 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 
A total of 105 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 the 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 the ideal meeting environment. 
Results of the roundtables revealed what customers thought were the most important items in the Complete Meeting Package.
Highest ranked items:
9.8       Food & Beverage     Customize menus for special 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                   Easy-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, “we are absorbing this important information and will be using it as a baseline as we host subsequent customer roundtables in 2010 and beyond.  This will allow IACC to keep a pulse on trends and shifting priorities among our customers and help ensure  IACC and its 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)
Summit Executive Centre (Chicago)
Sheraton Denver West
Hilton DFW Lakes (Dallas)
National Conference Center (Leesburg, VA)
Kingbridge Conference Centre (Toronto)
Westin Southfield (Detroit)
Washington Duke (Raleigh/Durham)
Babson Executive Conference Center (Wellesley, MA) 

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  IACC = exceptional meeting experiences.


James M. Mahon
Global Director of Marketing
  & Public Relations
914 548 5835

Also See: How Venue Selection Impacts the Success of Your Meeting or Training Session; Quantifying the Role a Venue Has on the Success Rate of Training or Meeting Sessions / March 2006
Trends in the Conference Center Industry; New Supply of Conference Centers Greatly Restricted / Dave Arnold / December 2008

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