Meeting Room of the Future™ latest report from IACC
The meeting industry continues to expand and evolve, and so we are constantly looking to understand better the requirements of meeting planners and decision makers. We take a closer look at the report released by the IACC to better understand why increasingly venue operators are experience creators and not just service providers, how venues need to act as strategic consultants to meeting planners and how collaborative technologies are high on the investment plan for many Venues of Excellence members.
The IACC has released their annual Meeting Room of The Future™ report. “The initiative brings together research, trends and innovations with the single goal of predicting, creating and shaping the future of meeting environments.”
As a representative of over 40 diverse and unique UK meeting and event spaces Venues of Excellence takes a look at what this means for our industry.
Service provider or experience creator?
93% of venue operators indicate that “yes or sometimes” their role involves experience creation. A trend that the report states is being seen increasingly in our industry and that venue operators need to act as a strategic consultant to meeting planners in their efforts to make meetings and events more effective. Creating memorable events, whilst budgets remain relatively flat, puts more emphasis on creativity and flexibility of spaces.
According to the IACCs report, venues are offering a wide range of services to assist in ‘experience creation’ with creative meeting spaces, themed food & beverage and outdoor spaces commonly being offered. Over and above this, those venues able to offer culinary team building and community/charitable giving are touching on popular current trends.
David Vaughton from EEF Venues and Chair of Venues of Excellence said “We work closely with event planners to provide unique and creative options for icebreakers, team building and educational learning experiences through technology. We are constantly watching the trends and broadening the options available to clients”
Flexibility and space
Venues reporting flexible furniture and equipment in 100 percent of their meeting rooms has increased dramatically this year from 28% to 37%, demonstrating the changing requirements of clients, not only for creative use of space but changes to layouts during meetings to maintain engagement.
With many venues investing in sofas, armchairs and folding or portable furniture, the barriers to venues in offering flexibility are in the cost and storage of the furniture.
However, Ellen Sinclair from Benchmark, A Global Hospitality Company, says that “Designing spaces that incorporate colour and natural light, as well as encourage movement in both sessions and throughout the day are proven to increase participant engagement and creativity and provide higher ROI to meeting owners.” The IACC report goes on to say that “60% of operators feel that the flexibility of meeting spaces will become more important over time” indicating that venues will likely need to find ways to overcome these barriers.
Investment in technology
The report states that venues buying technology outright has increased from 61% to 78% as hiring technology becomes less popular.
Collaborative technologies are high on the wish list for many meeting owners and are predicted by 53% of venue operators to become more important in the next 3-5 years. The report shows that virtual reality increased sharply as an offering from venues from 6% last year to 24% this year.
Mandy Jennings, Executive Director of Venues of Excellence observed that “We represent the most diverse range of venues located right across the UK, with over 40 venues now in our membership.
“Being a Venues of Excellence member requires the venues to deliver exceptional service and facilities; whilst constantly striving to understand and meet the evolving needs of clients
Reports like this one from IACC help our venues to understand trends and innovations better as they continue to invest and develop their own offerings.”