IACC Meeting Room of the Future
Photo credit: IACC

For five years now IACC has put effort into collecting insights in a report entitled Meeting Room of the Future™. It is an initiative led by IACC, intending to share the association’s vision on how meeting spaces will look and function in the future. The comprehensive report is compiled yearly, combining insights from meeting and conference venues, hotels and urban conference venues, as well as suppliers such as global meeting space designers, architects, technology companies, furniture manufacturers and nutrition experts. The 2020 IACC Meeting Room of the Future™ report focuses on the top issues facing the global meetings and conference industry today.

As the industry evolves and expands, all key players must adapt: meeting planners are continually evaluating all elements of the meeting experience and operators and suppliers must also ensure they are meeting and anticipating the changing needs of planners. The IACC Meeting Room of the Future™ report is conducted every year to gain insights from global venue operators, industry experts and suppliers and understand how they are responding to the changing expectations and needs of meeting planners, as identified in last year’s survey of venue operators. The surveys cover several meeting elements, such as Role in Experience Creation, Meeting Space/Room Design, Technology, Internet & Bandwidth, Food & Beverage, Social Responsibility, and Environmental.

Mark Cooper, CEO at IACC

As the industry evolves and expands, just as meeting planners must continually evaluate all elements of the meeting experience, operators and suppliers must also ensure they are meeting and anticipating the changing needs of planners. The survey was designed to highlight these growing needs; we looked specifically at experience creation, meeting room space and design, social responsibility, generational leadership balances and technology & internet capabilities as well as culinary trends.

Meetings are often places where the most challenging and innovative work of the year takes place. Venues investing time and money into the design of their physical spaces to support the wellbeing and thought process of meeting attendees ensures a meeting is viewed as a strategic investment, which then transforms behaviours, cultures and delivers success for companies.

IACC Meeting Room of the Future
Photo credit: IACC

“Venue partners play key roles in the design of experiences that matter.” - Jessie States, director of the MPI Academy


Since meeting planners exposed socially responsible and ethical operations as extremely important last year, they became a top priority for venue operators this year. Venue operators also highlighted the importance of creating a human-nature connection in their spaces.

Due to the turn of events, 76 % of venues either offer a virtual site inspection now or are planning to offer one in the next 12 months. Following the virtual theme, Cyber Security will become a bigger priority in the future as technology elements increase in meetings. Furthermore, outdoor meeting spaces are highly likely to become more desirable during the next 12 months, as attendees must sustain limited contact. In addition, team-based activities which do not require close personal contact may evolve as part of larger portfolios of group team development activities.

As younger generations place more emphasis on the overall “experience” of a meeting, we have seen a gradual increase in the share of key players in the industry who indicate that experience creation will become more important over the next five years. This year no operators indicated that their role does NOT involve experience creation, which means they are paying attention and staying ahead.


For an in-depth read, you can find the full report here.

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