Earlier this year, IACC instituted—for the first time—recommended guidelines for its members on service in several key areas of a meeting, such as AV or food and beverage. Now, as it prepares for new leadership and plans new focus areas, the association is making a concerted effort to move away from concentrating on characteristics of its members’ buildings and more toward looking at the qualitative aspects of a meeting, which it’s calling ‘the meeting experience’.
“There’s a movement in the air around us that eventually we may make our membership standards based on how members provide a meeting experience rather than on furnishings and fixtures,” says Steve Smith, director of quality services at IACC.
In fact, the association recently changed the name of its membership qualifications from “Univeral Criteria” to “Quality Standards,” he notes. Additionally, IACC’s Global President recently sent a letter to members of the organization’s three worldwide chapters which stated numerous steps IACC soon will take in the name of enhancing the meeting experience.
The letter, provided by IACC executives to www.meetingsfocus.com, read in part:
“The conference center concept has evolved and is no longer just about physical attributes. Rather than simply provide first-class meeting venues, IACC members must deliver more broadly conceived ‘meeting experiences.’”
The President’s letter continues, “In addition to a third-party audit, IACC will conduct a peer review of all new members—which includes a physical inspection, scrutiny of the marketing message used and a review of staffing, training and resources available to planners. IACC is developing a Code of Conduct which members will sign to acknowledge their commitment to what we now call the IACC Meeting Concept and their intention to maintain it throughout their membership.”
This focus shift may mean more changes to the Quality Standards, Smith notes.
“Now that we’re thinking of the meeting experience as a whole, that may bring us to think of other things that could happen between the meeting planner—or an attendee—and the property.”