IACC Study: Planners Get Caught in a Box

By Matt Swenson, September 28, 2017

A recent study from IACC polling 180 meeting planners suggests event organizers often box themselves in by sticking with what they know. Namely, planners still gravitate toward big-box hotels even as attendees yearn for unusual set-ups.

The dichotomy concerns IACC CEO Mark Cooper, who leads the association comprised of venues geared toward small meetings. The study finds 64 percent of planners surveyed say they generally select big brand hotels for meetings because they are familiar settings. But when planners are asked if they associate these hotels with creativity, they say no.

“It’s a challenge,” says Cooper, who leads the association comprised of venues geared toward small meetings.

Cooper’s view is that it’s up to IACC members to be proactive and educate planners before it’s too late. “If you wait for the customer to tell you what they want, you will be waiting forever,” he says.

The study, “Predicting the Meeting Rooms and Spaces of the Future & Improving Meeting Dynamics,” is IACC’s second look in as many years at identifying new industry trends.

One myth the studies have dispelled, Cooper says, is that millennials deserve all the credit (or blame) for change. “Other generations want change as much as anyone else,” Cooper says.

The study also says attendees are looking for more personalized experiences—be it through F&B, technology, etc.—and there’s pent-up demand for creating creative spaces. The challenge remains how to take that knowledge and find real-world applications, notes Cooper.

“The industry has to figure out how to provide [creative] setups more effectively,” he says.

An unengaged audience is the worst nightmare for a panel. Planners can assist panelists by suggesting these techniques to connect to the audience.

See how a $20 million renovation imparted a design overhaul and changed MICE prospects for the 90-year-old Talbott Hotel in Chicago’s Gold Coast.

Strong relationships between DMOs/CVBs and convention centers are the backbone of cities that successfully earn meetings business.

To be a more effective negotiator, meeting planners will learn how hotels evaluate their businesses and manage their inventory of space, rates and dates.

The Latest