CHICAGO — The International Association of Conference Centers (IACC) released its “Meeting Room of the Future” report, an analysis of survey responses from event organizers about trends in housing, F&B, tech and more, which showed that using space creatively at events and curating intentional attendee experiences is critical for in-person events’ success.
The report says 80% of event organizers said their role involves creating more experiences for attendees when compared to pre-pandemic trends. One reason for this, according to the report, is that events have to have higher value when attending in person, opposed to virtual, following the pandemic.
“Business events open up travel opportunities, which can benefit individual delegates as much as a pleasure trip, where they can gain an insight into an area’s culture, traditions, food, retail, initiatives and values,” Mark Cooper, Chair of IACC, said. “These can range from day trips to local attractions or points of interest, team building and incentive experiences, adrenaline-fueled activities, or even sampling goods and services from the area’s hotels, shops, and restaurants. Supporting a destination’s services and trade then stimulates local economic growth as well as enriching the lives of delegates.”
When asked how event spaces organizers are looking for now are different than before the pandemic, the report found the top five differences were more space, outdoors, flexible, hybrid and with evolved technology.
“The goal for most intersections is knowledge sharing and best practice among attendees, which requires creating an environment that assists with digesting and retaining information. As memory is heightened when more than one of our five senses are triggered, the venue can help by creating a sensory experience which will be more memorable, as well as enjoyable, to guests,” Cooper said. “We are currently seeing creative meeting space combinations such as outdoor spaces used for sessions, woodland walking breakout areas and even meetings in the trees. There is still an appetite for dedicated meeting spaces with strong acoustics, good lighting, and HVAC systems, but in these spaces the flexibility to reconfigure is important too.”
Also included in the report is that organizers are looking for venues with strong technological services when deciding on a location for an event. The reports found that 37% of organizers said affordable or free high-speed wireless internet is the most critical technology needed for events in the next three years. The next most critical were data security (23%), interactive technology (16%) and streaming support (11%). Virtual streaming capabilities and event-dedicated apps were the top two most implemented technologies since 2020.
Reach Mark Cooper at firstname.lastname@example.org