by Lisa A. Grimaldi | October 17, 2019

In January 2020, the International Congress and Convention Association will launch the ICCA Association Community, offering education, connections, tools and resources to help international associations organize more effective meetings. At the same time, ICCA will begin accepting -- for the first time -- association buyers as affiliate members. The organization is targeting association executives with decision-making or a decision-influencing roles for events that meet the criteria for inclusion in ICCA's association meetings database: nongovernmental organizations not managed by third parties that hold at least one internationally rotating meeting of at least 50 attendees on a regular basis. The group's current membership is made up of more than 1,100 international suppliers.

In his Oct. 16 message to members, ICCA president James Rees said: "For over 55 years, ICCA has been the catalyst to bring together the major destinations, venues and service providers of the international association meetings industry under a common mission to shape the future and value of international association meetings. As the world of meetings has evolved, so has the relationship between ICCA and the associations, moving from the supplier-buyer relationship to that of real partnership and collaboration."   

Rees added that the organization looks forward to receiving direct input from an important voice in ICCA's world, voices that he said currently are missing from the ICCA community. The move will create "greater awareness of the challenges and opportunities that associations and their meetings are facing today," he said, "and it allows for a privileged peer-to-peer exchange with the ability for members to engage with these executives on a regular basis at regional or international events. There will be more face-to-face informal networking opportunities between members and associations through larger attendances at ICCA events, and it will lead to more accurate data in the database, all contributing to our vision to shape the future and value of international association meetings."