Conference Centers: A Renewed Perspective
By Mark Cooper Chief Executive Officer, International Association of Conference Centers | September 14, 2014
Gathering places for people to meet and hold events have been around since mankind began and there have been many fascinating meeting venues which have been built over the centuries where historically significant decisions have been made to shape the world we live in today!
Back in 1981, a group of hoteliers recognized the need to provide a serious concentration on the productive meeting environment and founded the International Association of Conference Centres. In the years since the term "conference centre" was coined, and for IACC, it represents a total commitment to the concept.
The last few years were very tough on the global meetings industry. But today, there is a renewed interest in an exceptional meeting experience provided by dedicated conference centre professionals.
In the past two years, IACC has grown its global membership to almost 400 member properties in 20 countries around the world and established new chapters in Europe and in Australia-Asia Pacific; all because of its unwavering commitment to the exceptional meeting experience. New members are literally all over the map: Kenya; England; US, Canada, Sweden, Australia, Japan and Denmark to name just a few where conference centers are thriving!
In early 2013, as the effects of the global economic recession seemed to be in recovery mode, IACC partnered with DCI (Development Counsellors International) to survey meeting planners of various generations - from Baby Boomers to Gen Xers to Millennials.
The survey reveals that the meetings industry was "in a state of flux" with matures (those aged 66 and older) retiring and Millennials entering the workplace. It is projected that employment in the North American meetings market will grow by a massive 44 percent through 2020. This rapid growth will usher in a new era of new expectations and demands for conference centers seeking to win a meetings planner's business.