BENCHMARK & IACC
Exceptional Meetings. Powerful Connections.
Partners In Groundbreaking Innovation
Benchmark’s pioneering approach in redefining the meeting experience can be traced back to the birth of the company. Burt Cabañas identified and envisioned the extraordinary potential of the meetings industry, and the need for an organization where brightest minds from the best meeting venues in the world could collaborate and collectively benefit from their knowledge and expertise. In 1981, just one year after Burt founded Benchmark, he and a other industry visionaries formed IACC. Since that time, IACC has evolved to represent the epitome of a meeting and conference destination, with only the top 1% of meeting venues earning IACC certification.
In addition to being one of the founders, Burt went on to be a president and active supporter of IACC. In 2012, the organization presented him with the IACC Global Distinguished Service Award in honor of his contributions. Alex Cabañas carries on the family legacy, becoming Global President of IACC in 2015 after a number of years as an IACC member and vice president of the IACC-Americas chapter.
ABOUT IACC AND BENEFITS OF PARTNERING
Passionate People and Organisations Delivering Innovative and Exceptional Meeting Experiences.
IACC (International Association of Conference Centers) is a global community of passionate people and organisations delivering innovative and exceptional meeting experiences. This not-for-profit global trade association’s mission is to bring together the brightest industry minds to promote the best meeting venues, which deliver exceptional meeting experiences. IACC members deliver the IACC Meeting Experience by complying with IACC’s stringent Quality Standards and agreeing to IACC’s Code of Ethics.
The key benefits of IACC membership include marketing and business growth opportunities; educational events and courses, networking at member’s conferences and meetings, benchmarking, the immensely popular global Copper Skillet Culinary Competition that celebrates the artistry of IACC-member chefs from around the world, and the IACC Code of Sustainability, which supporting green meeting environments, initiatives and best practices. IACC has over 300 members in 23 countries across the Americas, Europe, Africa and Australasia. There are IACC members in the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, China, Kenya, Nigeria, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Spain, the United Kingdom, Ukraine, The Netherlands, Germany, Hungary, Mongolia and the Philippines.
Understanding the key trends in the delivery of meetings and the environments needed for an optimum experience is important for planners and venue operators. With the help of our partners, including Benchmark, we invest in research to give us valuable information and understanding and allow us to make informed decisions linked to investment in meetings.
- Mark Cooper, IACC’s CEO
BENCHMARK IACC CERTIFIED CONFERENCE CENTERS
IACC is a global community of people and meeting venues committed to delivering exceptional meeting experiences. We lead the small meetings industry and create trust with meeting planners and our clients through the delivery of the most productive meeting environments available.
- Alex Cabañas
BENCHMARK AND IACC MEETING ROOM OF THE FUTURE
IACC Meeting Room of the Future™ Shows Shift in
Meeting Planner Objectives
Ground-Breaking Project of BENCHMARK®, a global hospitality company, and IACC Track Trends in Technology, Design, ROI, Impactful Experience
The Woodlands (Houston), Texas, December 2017 … Like the quest for the Holy Grail, the search to find the Meeting Room of the Future may never end. The latest report from the ground-breaking IACC Meeting Room of the Future™, shows that yesterday’s breakthroughs are today’s technology and that meeting planners and conferees now have specific, rapidly evolving goals and great expectations. Technology has greatly expanded and redefined the definition of what a meeting room is and can be, leading the initiative’s founders at BENCHMARK®, a global hospitality company partnering with IACC, the association that represents the finest meeting venues and services globally, to continue the project for the foreseeable future.
Technology is the major force driving these changes in an industry where members of every age are increasingly tech savvy. Today’s successful planners see the value of these innovations to the success of the meeting and the bottom line. And though technical advances are evolving with head-spinning speed, they are welcomed, not feared, by the majority of the industry that sees technology as a means to meeting a range of objectives. Those objectives - return on investment, budget control, education and networking – won’t change but the means of achieving them will.
Additionally, some new and crucial objectives are taking shape, according to Ellen Sinclair, Benchmark’s senior vice president operations, and chair of the Meeting Room of the Future initiative. The survey showed that an increased focus on conferee engagement and personal development is taking shape. “These elements need an inspiring and dynamic setting in which to thrive,” Sinclair says. “A boardroom, ballroom or auditorium, however many technical bells and whistles they have, can’t create that personalized and unique experience that planners and attendees now demand.”
Benchmark partnered with IACC on the Meeting Room of the Future, beginning in 2015 under Sinclair’s leadership and she continues to lead the project. The project is designed to transform the meeting experience through a global collaboration of leaders in conference space design, audiovisual technology, hospitality, academia and conference management. One-hundred-fifty thought leaders were surveyed for the 2017 report, and participants spanned executives in government, corporations and associations.
Projected to run for three years, the project is now ongoing. Says Sinclair, ”Our goal was to build a meeting room of the future, but we soon realized that meeting spaces are no longer confined to a room. Thanks to mobile technology, a meeting room can be in a park, on a beach, in an art studio or other inspiring site. There will always be a need for a sophisticated, technically advanced meeting space, but the idea of what constitutes a meeting room has vastly changed in a very short space of time.”
Consequently, the IACC Meeting Room of the Future™ project will continue in its research efforts for the foreseeable future. As part of a new partnership between IACC and Meeting Professionals International, announced at the IACC Americas conference this past April, MPI’s meetings professionals will take a wider role in the research process that has drawn on the skills of thought leaders on a global level.
The Data to Date
Meeting planners are the end users and the industry’s key decision makers. The most current research, presented at IACC 2017 Europe Knowledge Fest in London by Ellen Sinclair and IACC President Mark Cooper, identified several key trends.
-Planners recognize the impact of venues on productivity and creativity.
-Experience and purpose remain constant, regardless of age.
Seventy-five percent of the respondents say that meaningful experiences will become even more important.
– ROI, value, networking, education won’t change.
The methods of meeting those goals will.
-Flexible space is a top priority of 75% of those surveyed. However, as interactive technology advances, this may change. Right now, the most crucial elements, listed here in order of importance are:
• Quality Broadband
• Collaborative Spaces