by Sarah J.F. Braley | February 09, 2016
The International Association of Conference Centres has announced a new research project, the Meeting Room of the Future. Three surveys will be conducted this year, created with the help of industry observers such as tech expert Corbin Ball and Diane Devitt of the DND Group, who is an assistant professor at New York University's Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management. Other partners in the project are Meeting Professionals International, Microsoft, Sli-do, Benchmark Hospitality International, MGSM Executive Hotel & Conference Centre and PSAV.
"We're hoping to bring together a group of people to 'imagineer' the meeting room of the future," said Mark Cooper, CEO of IACC. "We will gather information from creative IACC members who are making changes, but also from meeting planners on what they need and the demand they're seeing from their attendees; and from our supplier base, the furniture and technology providers, finding out what they're investing their money in that will come out in a year or two's time. We want to bring the brightest minds together to create the meeting spaces of the future."

The project will take place in three stages, involving three surveys. The first stage, in collaboration with MPI, will be a survey of meeting planners, asking them what their challenges are and what they want to see. The results will be announced at the IACC-Americas Connect conference in New York City, April 19-20. A second survey will be sent to the suppliers, and a third to venue operators. Stage-two results will be announced at the end of May. When the third is completed, all results will be compiled and analyzed, and then announced at the IACC-Europe Annual Conference in Eindhoven, Netherlands, in September. 

"We want to be able to predict and shape how people will design their meeting rooms in the future, when they have renovations and new-conference builds, giving them ideas so they don't go back into the tried-and-true," said Cooper. "We want to be there to help people not fall into the trap of creating something that is already five or 10 years old."

IACC's vision is to conduct the surveys every year, making it a continual initiative. "If we're going to be the definitive voice on what a meeting room should be, we have to be constantly looking at what is coming next," said Cooper.