Friday, December 28, 2012

Assessing Conference Center Technology Infrastructure

Technology is an ever-changing environment, and it is often difficult for facilities to determine how and where to spend effectively to keep up with those changes. The IACC has developed the Design for Great Technology, which provides an assessment tool for facilities to use to understand where in the technology spectrum they currently fall, and provides benchmarks for basic, medium and high levels of technology in specific areas. This course will introduce participants to the Design for Great Technology, discuss the concepts addressed and provide a practical example of how the assessment tool may be used to determine opportunity areas and items of concern to be addressed during the planning of refurbishments and upgrades to the property.

Make sure you register for this session with 
Eric Bracht, Sr. Consultant, Operations, Electro-Media Design Ltd. Participants will gain... 
  • Knowledge of the Design for Great Technology
  • Understanding of how to use the assessment tool
  • Explanation of the concepts and terms used
Tweet about this session or other sessions you're interested in attending with the hashtag #IACC13. Register for IACC 2013 in Chicago today to experience inspiring conference education this March. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

How to Play in the Sandbox Before Building Your Castle

Leverage the Learning Studio Model to Inform Future Meeting Space Design
When we were kids, the sandbox was a place for experimentation and where new ideas came to life. Spaces in meeting facilities should be no different. For more than five years, Herman Miller has partnered with learning institutions through its Learning Spaces Research Program (LSRP) to explore new approaches to learning space design. This will be an interactive session where you will gain new insights from our research while having the opportunity to play in our specially designed Learning Studio sandbox as well.

Here's what you'll learn from Derrell Jackson, Strategic Education Consultant for Herman Miller Education:
  • Connections between academic and corporate learning/meeting spaces.
  • How space can support different learning and instructing styles.
  • Experiment with new space designs

If you strive to provide planners with the best meeting experience with proven results, you won't want to miss this session with Herman Miller Education. Register today for the IACC Annual Conference in March. Discounted rates will end 12/31/12. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Future of Meetings: The Case for Face-to-Face

Cornell University School of Hotel Administration and Maritz Institute

Mary Beth McEuen, vice president and executive director of the Maritz Institute, explains her research on the continuing importance of face-to-face meetings as an important companion to digital communications. She presented her research findings during the recent Cornell Hospitality Research Summit 2012, and also explained why face-to-face remains important in the digital age in a Cornell Hospitality Industry Perspectives paper written with Christine Duffy.

An excerpt:

With the advent of virtual-meeting technology, the issue of how to format group meetings and events has become remarkably complex. Meetings can be completely virtual, completely face-to-face, or a hybrid of the two. Leading companies are using all three formats. The challenge for meeting planners is to decide which format is most effective for important business outcomes. Rather than rely on personal preferences or currently popular approaches, the decision regarding meeting type is a strategic one that should rest on specific, scientific criteria. This paper examines those science-based decision criteria to help executives determine when face-to-face is the most effective approach to large-group meetings or events. This decision is important because face-to-face meetings require the greatest investment of all meeting types, and thus carry the greatest expectations for a strong return on investment. Face-to-face is most likely to be the best approach in the following three business situations:
  1. To capture attention, particularly when you want to initiate something new or different;
  2. To inspire a positive emotional climate, as a way to catalyze collaboration, innovation, and performance; and
  3. To build human networks and relationships, realizing that information can increasingly be shared virtually whereas the greater value is in people networks and relationships.
The research presented in this paper provides a discerning approach to determining when an investment in large-group face-to-face meetings and events will have the greatest impact.

To download more, please go to "The Future of Meetings: The Case for Face-to-Face,"


From Products to Property: How Third-Party Certification Can Advance Sustainability

Government and corporate travelers continue their efforts to “green” their official travel, but individual consumers are also expressing more interest in staying in accommodations that reflect their personal environmental values. While certification to a comprehensive sustainability standard represents a significant property-wide achievement, not every property is ready to go “all in.” One of the more straightforward initiatives to put into place, and one that is a keystone of a property-wide sustainability program, is to start with purchasing. Purchasers currently use third-party certification for everything from electrical safety to water quality and the use of credible certifications can likewise simplify green procurement. Using effective products with reduced human and environmental hazards can reduce risk to guests and employees while improving efficiency and helping the property to operate in an environmentally responsible manner. Many also represent cost-savings and may have other intangible benefits, such as improved employee satisfaction and reduced turnover.
This session "From Products to Property:  How Third-Party Certification Can Advance Sustainability" at IACC's annual conference in March will explore the range of third-party certification options and sustainability considerations for commodity products such as sanitary paper, housekeeping cleaners, ware washing products, laundry care products, paints and food.

Register today to receive the discounted rate for individuals or a group of 3 or more. IACC's annual conference has discounted rates until 12/31/12 so register before the new year!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

360 Degree Approach to Enhancing the IACC Meeting Experience

The Complete Meeting Experience Package (CMEP)
In these times of economic uncertainty, one thing does remain certain – those organizations providing the greatest value for their clients will succeed and those which are choosing to stay the course and conduct business as usual will struggle. 
Join the facilitator John Potterton as he leads us in an impactful, memorable learning experience designed to generate new ideas and creative solutions to your current business issues. Come prepared to do some walking, observing, writing, discussing and innovative thinking with your industry colleagues. 
What attendees will gain through this session: 
  • Identify the top three business challenges you are facing today
  • Develop new strategies to move your organization forward
  • Create a vision for what you expect your customers will say about your organization in the future
Witness and experience the positive impact of learning in a non-traditional, innovative manner. Register for this session at the IACC 2013 Conference today! Don't miss the discounted rate. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Implementing Menu Change: How to Make Healthy Menus a Reality

Healthy, brain-friendly menus contribute to outstanding meeting experiences, but making all the changes can be complex: facility capabilities, budgets, food sourcing, attendee preferences and other challenges can make a simple change very difficult to accomplish. Ms. Sullivan and Executive Chef Craig Mason combine their expertise to give you a rare view from inside the brain to inside the kitchen. This participative session will explore many tips and strategies to give you what you need so you can offer your clients menus that delight and energize their attendees.
What you'll learn:
  • Identify foods that aid in energizing attendees for great engagement.
  • Recognize the common barriers to menu change and gain a comprehensive view of the many factors involved.
  • Gain tools and strategies to move beyond these barriers to implement the changes required to offer delicious, healthy foods at your venue.
Don't miss this session. Register for the IACC conference in Chicago, IL today! Discounted registration ends December 31, 2012.

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Competitive Advantage

Written by Sasha Sook, Sales and Marketing Manager at Summit Executive Centre and a member of the Emerging Trends Committee with IACC.

I’ve always believed no matter what you do you should be the best at it.  As a Sales Manager at Summit Executive Centre I work with meeting planners to ensure they have the proper learning environment.  Everyday I see people from various industries coming from all over the world to grow and prosper in their field.  This inspires me to continue to learn.  With the advancement of technology and ideas being shared at a rapid rate innovation comes into fruition on a daily basis.  To stay current and relevant in your position you must continue to learn.  The way I learn best is to combine different methods of studying.
Read online and print magazines, newspapers and blogs but not just ones that pertain to your industry.  One way to receive articles you’re interested in learning about is to use Google Alerts.  They’ll send you articles written regarding a subject or word.  There are many social opportunities to network and gain valuable education through your local associations.  IACC, MPI, ASTD, Women in Hospitality, PCMA, Greater North Michigan Avenue Association, and Concierge Preferred are a few that I am actively involved in.
Becoming certified in your profession can gain you recognition, give you a competitive advantage, peer acceptance, personal achievement and possibly a salary increase.  There are professional certifications in every industry.  I’ve been accepted to become a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) and I will be taking my test in January.  Many people have asked me about getting certified, as well as tips on studying.  I think repetition is the best way to retain information.  For the CMP there are four recommended books, I read them all and completed the chapter questions.  It’s a proven fact that if you write something down you’re more likely to retain it.  PCMA and MPI periodically offer study groups that have great success, but since they are not offering those this test period I emailed a few people who have recently taken the test to get their insight.  PCMA also offers an online study course. 

There are many ways people are learning, for example, Webinars, Videoconferences, Reading and the traditional face to face meetings.  A lot of Conference Centers are adopting more unique methods with soft-set room setups or offering graphic facilitation for their groups.
Find a way of learning that best suits you whether it is social or personal and dive in.  You’ll be surprised what you can learn and how much you’ll enjoy it.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

IACC Takes Centre Stage at Europe's EIBTM Trade Show

IACC travelled to Barcelona and took centre stage at this years EIBTM Trade Show, promoting the IACC Meetings Experience to global meeting planners and industry professionals alike.  EIBTM is one of the only global industry trade shows to welcome exhibitors and planners from every corner of the globe including a number of North American Meeting Planners as well as professionals and media representatives from every continent.

The IACC stand was staffed by member volunteers from Spain, UK and Netherlands and the stand formed an important hub for a number of other IACC members attending and taking space on other destination stands and corporate stands (but still sporting their IACC logo proudly on their own stands - see below).

Over the three days of EIBTM 2012, it was great to spend time with current members, interested prospective members from as far afield as Columbia and Russia and to talk with industry press about IACC's goal to promote Conference Centres and the Meetings Experience.

With over 5,000 hosted buyers attending this year, EIBTM remains the key European show in the meetings industry calendar and IACC hopes the relationships built will help further strategic alliances with other industry associations and assist in developing membership in new regions!

Rob Davison, speaker at IACC's recent European Conference delivered the Annual Global Meeting Trends Watch Report for 2012, which makes very interesting reading for IACC members interested in what is happening in the meetings industry globally as well as nationally. View the EIBTM Trends Watch 2012.

After the show, the IACC team were able to forward meetings leads for members in Germany, UK, Spain and Florida this year.

The only unwelcome visitor this year was the rain, 'which fell mainly on the plain', as well as everywhere else in Barcelona for three days!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Hospitality Students can now apply for 2013 IACC-Americas Award and Scholarship

Attention hospitality students, are you passionate about the hospitality industry and looking for a way to get involved in a professional association? IACC is now accepting applications for their 2013 IACC-Americas Conference Center Industry Award. The Award includes $5000 Scholarship, attendance at the 2013 Americas Annual Conference in ChicagoIllinois as well as the pre-conference study tour fromTorontoOntario to Chicago!!  Apply Now!! 

For complete details and requirements, read more about the 2013 IACC Conference Center Industry Award.

Monday, November 26, 2012

IACC-Americas is Accepting Applications for the 2013-2014 Board Associate

You can have a Gen Y team member from your conference center become IACC-America's next Board Associate and represent your conference center at board meetings and the annual conference. The IACC-Americas Board Associate role has evolved to become a coveted position in the conference center segment among a younger up-and-coming generation eager for a voice in the evolution of the meetings experience. The non-voting, 15-month advisory role will allow the Board Associate the opportunity to advise the Board on developing trends as well as attending and participating in Board meetings. The Board Associate also sits on active committees and oversees the Emerging Trends Committee, a group of conference center professionals under the age of 30.

Nominate a colleague! IACC is now accepting applications for the 2013-2014 Board Associate. View the online application for IACC's 2013 Board Associate - Deadline is December 14, 2012 so apply now!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Record numbers at IACC's 2012 European Conference in London

Ahead of this year’s IACC European Conference, the promises were big! The message to those coming was clear, that we need to seek inspiration and then innovate if we are to continue to create unique meetings experiences!

Nothing makes for a better backdrop to achieving these promises, than bringing together IACC’s members from around the world and with this years delegates representing 15 countries from three continents, we were assured of global thinking!

Delegates representing 15 countries from three continents gathered at Lensbury Conference Centre in Teddington, Middlesex outside of London to focus on “Turning Imagination into Innovation” the theme of the conference. IACC Europe's Chairman, Jeu Bressers (General Manager, Conference Centre Kapellerput) and newly appointed CEO, Mark Cooper welcomed the delegates and encouraged them to maintain IACC’s consistent mission statement and vision to offer the industry’s finest facilities and directed additional emphasis on generating exceptional meeting experiences.

For the first time, IACC partnered with Greenwich University and invited 6 of their students studying Event Management to take part in the Study Tour and Conference.  The 6 students who came from 6 different countries themselves including India and Columbia, helped support the conference organisers and also took part in the lively conference sessions, adding invaluable Gen-Y thinking to the mix.

The conference started with a reality check when Rob Davison of Greenwich University spoke of the ways to engage with and get the most from Generation Y meeting planners and delegates. Gen-Y want stimulating with striking images and messages when choosing a venue for their meetings they want to stage and attend ‘Iconic’ meetings! Shorter sessions and more opportunities for them to exercise their philanthropic beliefs when they travel the World and attend meetings was Rob’s clear message. 

The scene was set and the conference’s next speakers, Matt and James from BDRC Continental, explained how by capturing and measuring global post event feedback from Meeting Planners, there were obvious areas of customer delivery that should we get it right, it will lead to customer loyalty and if we get it wrong, the client fails to return. None of the top three attributes of the venue were about facilities, they were all customer service and attitude based. Understanding Client Objectives, Flexibility & Responsiveness and Friendliness & Helpfulness. Get these right and the client will recommend you and return for more!
During lunch, our 6 students joined 6 of IACC’s Global Leaders for the IACC Future Leaders Lunch. It was the perfect chance for the students to find out  more about the meetings industry and for IACC’s six leaders to question what Gen Y future employees look for when deciding who to start their career with. 

The afternoon kicked-off with a session from Hans Meyer. Hans describes himself as an Imagineer and his story of how he created the radical CitizenM hotel brand, opened the minds of the audience and was a great precursor to the workshop sessions, where delegates were asked to forget all barriers and come up with ideas to change their own meeting environments.  

The gloves were off and the minds were open and no-one was afraid to throw out the long-trusted rulebook and explore what delegates need today. Take out 3-metre long desks in bedrooms, surely not!    Connectivity and technology was at the heart of  a number of ideas and designing bedroom, recreational and meeting space around the new way people relax and work was an obvious theme of this inspiring session.

Onto the final session and in true conference style, the minds had been worked so hard from a frenzy of networking and education all day, it was going to take something special to keep this audience engaged until 5.30pm! The session headline worried a few as it was surely not possible to make a Mobile Industry Review interesting wasn’t it? How wrong those doubters were! Ewan MacLeod of Reed Exhibitions delivered a humorous wake-up call as to how much impact the mobile revolution will have in the coming years on our industry.  Venue App’s are already allowing guests to check into their rooms remotely and order room service before they set foot in the door.  The inconvenience of queuing at reception or waiting for your credit card to swiped after your meal is quite frankly an inconvenience to far for todays customer!

2012’s European Annual Conference in London finished with an evening of music, provided by the Urban Soul Orchestra and delegates turned to their IACC Conference App to leave feedback on this year’s event!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Jersey Strong

The team at Hamilton Park Hotel and Conference Center
Written by Kasey Sanders who is an active member on IACC's Emerging Trends Committee, Kasey wanted to share a short story about how her conference center team has come together in a time of need. Kasey is a National Sales Manager for Hamilton Park Hotel and Conference Center in Florham Park, New Jersey and also on IACC's Marketing Committee. 

The devastation caused by the October Super Storm known as Sandy is extensive. Nearby cities and our beloved Jersey coastline have been shaken to the core, and the reach of the storm was expansive. Within Destination Hotels & Resorts we experienced power outages and property damage at our Hamilton Park Hotel in Florham Park, New Jersey and our Tarrytown House Estate in Westchester County, New York.

While the emotional toll is significant, we know that adversity breeds opportunity. We have been so impressed by our dedicated employees who have risen to the occasion. They have worked extra hours, found alternate transportation, and offered each other great support during this difficult time. We even found a way to bring a bit of Halloween to the children staying at Hamilton Park Hotel with a “Trick or Treat” Scavenger Hunt throughout the hotel. It was refreshing to see so many laughing and smiling faces amidst such distress.

It is not always easy to work in the hospitality business. We appreciate those who can wear a smile and offer assistance to others even when they are struggling themselves. THANK YOU to our team for all of your hard work. You are an inspiration.

How did your conference center staff come together during or after the storm? How has the storm changed team dynamics?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

IACC Accreditation Adds Up to Value and Customer Satisfaction

Article published by Hotel Business Review and
by Dianne Pepe, Director of Group Sales, Millennium Broadway Hotel

Do we make too much of accreditation? Based on TV advertising and grocery store labels, it seems like everything is “certified” something. What does a “certified pre-owned” automobile mean anyway? That it’s guaranteed to be used? Seems like that would be pretty obvious from checking the mileage.

But if almost everything we buy or use comes with some kind of accreditation or claim to be special, how do you separate the valuable from the frivolous? (Did you know there’s a website for useless and meaningless
certifications; you can become a certified small talk conversationalist or ham sandwich maker.)

The serious answer to what makes an accreditation valuable, at least in our business, is customer satisfaction; to be more specific, an ability to surprise and reward customers by exceeding their expectations. At the Millennium Broadway Hotel New York, an accreditation we value highly is the International Association of Conference Centers, or IACC.

Since 1981, IACC has encouraged hotels and conference centers to meet a strict and demanding set of quality standards for facilities and service in order to earn the association’s accreditation. What we find at the Millennium Broadway Hotel New York – and I’m sure it’s true for the other approximately 300 IACC members around the world – is that this certification, symbolizing the standards that we are required to meet, helps drive business, including new and diversified business, and promotes customer trust and loyalty. It does so because the product that IACC membership demands is understood by meeting planners and the end user, meeting attendees, as delivering outstanding value. More on that in a minute.

Link to complete article HERE.